When you want someone to stay calm and collected, you tell them to keep a cool head. When someone has a fierce mean streak we call them hot tempered. As a society, we naturally make associations between being emotional and heat, and being rational with cold. Now, as it happens, there is some scientific backing to that generalization. A study published in Acta Psychologica (that I read about on Women’s Health The Scoop) found that when people experienced exposure to cool temperatures, they were more able to understand other’s point of view. Being cool physically allowed the study participants to place themselves in another person’s shoes, imagining how they would feel in the situation. Other research has shown that warm temperatures are linked with feeling friendly and similar to those who you share the space with (think sitting around a fire with friends). This may make you feel connected while simultaneously allowing you to project your feelings onto others, imagining they are feeling the same way you are. Physical coolness emphasizes the distance between you and another person, which can limit this reaction, and let you more fully observe their feelings without the interference of your own.
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