Go to main content
BPS News

Now John Bargh’s famous hot-coffee study has failed to replicate

02 January 2019

If you Google “holding a warm cup of coffee can” you’ll get a handful of results all telling the same story based on social priming research (essentially the study of how subtle cues affect human thoughts and behavior).

“Whether a person is holding a warm cup of coffee can influence his or her views of other people, and a person who has experienced rejection may begin to feel cold,” notes a New York Times blog post, while a Psychology Today article explains that research shows that “holding a warm cup of coffee can make you feel socially closer to those around you.”

These kind of findings are most often associated with John Bargh, a Yale University professor and one of the godfathers of social priming.

In his 2017 book Before You Know It: The Unconscious Reasons We Do What We Do, Bargh goes further, even suggesting – based on social priming studies and a small study that found two hours of “hyperthermia” treatment with an infra lamp helped depressed in-patients – that soup might be able to treat depression.

Read more in a new post by Jesse Singal on our Research Digest blog.

Topics

Top of page