Caring for sharing: How attachment styles modulate communal cues of physical warmth

H. Ijzerman, J.C. Karremans, L. Thomsen, T.W. Schubert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


Does physical warmth lead to caring and sharing? Research suggests that it does; physically warm versus cold conditions induce prosocial behaviors and cognitions. Importantly, previous research has not traced the developmental origins of the association between physical warmth and affection. The association between physical warmth and sharing may be captured in specific cognitive models of close social relations, often referred to as attachment styles. In line with this notion, and using a dictator game set-up, the current study demonstrates that children who relate to their friends with a secure attachment style are more generous toward their peers in warm than in cold conditions. This effect was absent for children who relate to friends with an insecure attachment style. Notably, however, these children not just always shared less: They allocated more stickers to a friend than to a stranger. These findings provide an important first step to understand how fundamental embodied relations develop early in life. We discuss broader implications for grounded cognition and person perception.
Keywords: attachment, grounded cognition, relational models, physical warmth, interpersonal relations
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-166
JournalSocial Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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