Socially thermoregulated thinking: How past experiences matter in thinking about our loved ones

Hans Ijzerman*, Lison Neyroud, Rémi Courset, Michel Schrama, Jorick Post, Tila M. Pronk

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
157 Downloads (Pure)


Body temperature regulation is of crucial importance for nonhuman and human animals. Because other animals are crucial in helping to regulate body temperature, temperature differences likely determine how humans think about their social environment. Since 2008, the psychological literature on social thermoregulation has flourished with approximately 80 reports, ranging from economic decision-making to self-regulation. However, questions have arisen over its robustness and about underlying mechanisms, particularly in relation to differences in past relationship experiences. In this report, the authors used an inductive approach, exploring individual differences to identify items that alter the temperature-social thought relationship in a pilot (Study 1), and confirming the effects in Study 2 (total N for 1 and 2 = 366), both of which were not pre-registered. After a first review with the present journal, we preregistered our replication and successfully replicated our effects in a French sample (N = 350). Coldness (vs. warmth) makes people think about closer others when past relationship experiences were positive, while the reverse is true for negative past relationship experiences. These robust results provide future directions for the field of social thermoregulation.
Keywords: social thermoregulation, close relationships, interpersonal relationships, temperature
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)349-355
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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