You’re Not Making Your Own Decisions Even if You Think You Are

How Your Everyday Tasks Are Priming Your Mindset

Shivani Gandhi
Thought Thinkers

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Imagine you’re walking down a path when suddenly someone approaches you and hands you a warm drink to hold and asks you to assess their personality traits (weird, I know, but stick with me). Chances are you would use “warmer” personality descriptors than someone who had held an iced drink.

While this may seem skeptical, it’s a real research study conducted at Yale which ultimately suggests individuals tend to perceive others as more generous and caring when they have recently cradled a comforting, hot cup of coffee, compared to those who have held an icy cold beverage. Moreover, their subsequent study demonstrated that individuals are more inclined to exhibit altruistic behavior when they have recently experienced the warmth of an object, while being more prone to prioritize their own interests when exposed to something cold.

This study expands upon previous research conducted by the authors, highlighting the impact of physical distance between individuals also influences their social judgments about another person. The findings imply that when we describe someone as “warm” or express a sense of emotional distance from a friend or family member, it extends beyond mere metaphors. These descriptions are rooted in tangible emotions, such as trust, which originate from the intimate connection established early in life.

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