Warm hands, warm heart says research

Being warm makes people more cooperative, according to research carried out by the University of South Wales.

The findings of the study, which was conducted by Simon Storey and Professor Lance Workman, are to be presented at the British Psychological Society's annual conference today (8 May).

Some 60 students were asked to take part in the research that made use of the Iterated Prisoner's Dilemma (IPD) task to measure cooperation.

Volunteers were initially given either a hot or cold object to hold and were then told to carry out the IPD test. 

Those who held the hot objects were found to be comparatively much more cooperative than their fellow participants.

Giving a possible theory behind the outcome, Professor Workman explained that "there is evidence that, during our evolution, the part of the brain responsible for processing interpersonal warmth came to 'piggyback' on top of the part of the brain responsible for physical warmth".

He explained that the IPD task had been used to measure cooperation because it is "a well-established tool" for doing so. However, he hinted the team believes people who were given a sensation of warmth would likely cooperate in many other situations. 

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