Just about every song I can think about that deals with isolation and rejection has lyrics that describe how cold that feeling is. Cue 1970’s megaband Foreigner….”You’re as cold as ice. You’re willing to sacrifice our love….”
Yeah I hate that song as well. But the metaphor of rejection and temperature crops up again and again in culture. Cold shoulder, icy stare, frosty reception etc.. etc..
Now Cheng-Bo Zeng and colleagues have demonstrated experimentally in a forthcoming publication in Psychological Science that individuals who are asked to recall previous episodes when they were socially rejected, judge the room temperature to be on average 6 degrees colder than individuals asked to remember some socially inclusive event.
Then they induced social exclusion in a virtual interactive game on a computer and found that participants reported a greater desirability for warm food and drinks.
This area of research is know as embodied cognition where thought processes have tangible and predictable consequences on bodily responses and perception. In this case, being rejected is a cold experience.