Show Details

Chilly Relationships Roundup

April 27, 2012

Social anxiety can affect how you sense temperature.



Getting a cool reception. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

Researchers at the University of Groningen in the Netherlands report in the journal Psychological Science that an important part of social interaction is imitation: we subconsciously speak and move like the person we’re talking with. But in new research, they found that when another person mimics you either too little or too much, you feel a chill. They suggest that these chills are nature’s way of warning us that the person we’re with may be insincere.

In related news, researchers at Ohio University have found that people who tend to have a lot of anxiety about their relationships, are also more sensitive to temperature cues—for example, if they’re anxious or threatened, they’re more likely to feel chilly and seek out warmth. The research could hold clues into treatments for anxiety disorders and other conditions. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.