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Chilly with isolation

Isolation is often referred to as cold and lonely, new research at the University of Toronto recently found truth to feeling “left out in the cold�.

According to the journal Psychological Science, just thinking about rejection can make a room feel chillier.

Recent studies performed at the University of Toronto discovered that isolated people prefer warm drinks over cold ones. Perhaps, in order to make them selves feel better.

The results show psychological associations between cold temperatures and the feelings of loneliness, sadness or despair.

The first conducted experiment consisted of 65 subjects whom were divided into two groups. Half of the participants were instructed to think about a time they felt socially isolated. While the other half was instructed to recall an experience where they felt socially accepted.

Afterwards, participants were each asked to estimate the room temperature. Subjects instructed to think about rejection averaged 71 degrees, 5 degrees cooler than the temperature given by accepted group.

In addition, an experiment was performed involving a virtual ball tossing game so that certain participants would receive the ball only twice. After the game, the participants were all asked to rate their desire for hot coffee, hot soup or an icy Coke. Subjects who had been somewhat “isolated� by the virtual game showed greater preference for hot liquids than the “included� participants.

Janice Kiecolt-Glaser, a psychologist at Ohio State University, said the feeling of cold may be a physiological reaction to stress caused by social isolation. When people feel tense or stressed, their peripheral blood vessels contract, cooling the skin.

Lawrence E. Williams Jr., a professor at the University of Colorado who studies temperature and emotion, said the association is believed to have roots in infancy, when the physical sensation of warmth that comes from being held is connected to being loved.


Los Angeles Times “Isolated people really do feel left out in the cold� By Denise Gellene