John Bargh of Yale and Idit Shalev now of Ben Gurion University found a bi-directional causal relationship between physical warmth and social warmth.
They used social affiliation as a proxy for social warmth; Loneliness and interpersonal rejection were examples of social coldness.
Results from their four studies concluded that feelings of social warmth or coldness can be induced by experiences of physical warmth or coldness, and vice versa.
In addition, Bargh and Shalev demonstrated that volunteers unconsciously self-regulated feelings of social warmth by applying physical warmth.
This type of self-regulation is a form of exerting control over the environment and managing feelings.
Self-management strategies reinforce people’s perception that they have some control over choices and environment.
Paul Zak and Kerstin Uvnas Moberg argue that touch can be another self-regulation strategy because it activates the vagus nerve and the release of oxytocin, resulting in increased feelings of interpersonal warmth, compassion, and collaboration.
Both of these self-management strategies – inducing warmth and engaging in touch – can increase task performance and reduce the likelihood that people will experience depression.
Canadian Journalist Carl Honore provided evidence in Martin Seligman’s important finding in studies of “learned helplessness,” that when people have a sense of control – whether real or a “positive illusion” – it can have a salutary effect on performance and mood.
-*How do you self-regulate performance and mood?
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