Social context modulates the effect of physical warmth on perceived interpersonal kindness : a study of embodied metaphors

Citron, Francesca M. M. and Goldberg, Adele E. (2014) Social context modulates the effect of physical warmth on perceived interpersonal kindness : a study of embodied metaphors. Language and Cognition, 6 (1). pp. 1-11. ISSN 1866-9808

[thumbnail of REVISED_L_C_metaphor_final]
PDF (REVISED_L_C_metaphor_final)
REVISED_L_C_metaphor_final.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (238kB)


Physical contact with hot vs. iced coffee has been shown to affect evaluation of the personal warmth or kindness of a hypothetical person (Williams & Bargh, 2008). In 3 studies, we investigated whether the manipulation of social context can modulate the activation of the metaphorical mapping, KINDNESS as WARMTH. After priming participants with warm vs. cold temperature, we asked them to evaluate a hypothetical ad-hoc ally or adversary on the kindness dimension, as well as on other qualities used as a control. We expected more extreme evaluations of kindness in the adversary than in the ally condition, and no effects on other ratings. We thus replicated the classical effect of physical warmth on kindness ratings and generalized it to a German-speaking population. In addition, when the two German studies were combined, we found evidence suggesting a contextual modulation of the temperature effect: only out-group members, namely adversaries, were judged as more kind when participants had experienced physical warmth; the effect was not evident in the ally (i.e., in-group) condition. These studies suggest that context can modulate metaphorical activation; they therefore represent an initial attempt to add nuance to our understanding of when embodied metaphors affect our decisions.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Language and Cognition
Additional Information: The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Language and Cognition, 6 (1), pp 1-11 2014, © 2014 Cambridge University Press.
?? embodied metaphorskindnesspersonal warmthtemperaturephysical warmthgroup membership ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
27 Feb 2015 13:18
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 15:04