Type: Descriptive Essays
Sample donated: Dustin James
Last updated: September 24, 2019
Introduction: Attachment theorists have emphasised the importance of warm physical contact during the developing stages of childhood in order to foster healthy relationships in adulthood.
Research in humans show the insula, an area of the brain that is recorded to also be highly involved with empathy, to be involved in the processing of both physical temperature and interpersonal trust (Wil¬¬¬liams and Bargh 2008). As such, we hypothesised that experiences of physical warmth, or lack thereof, would increase feelings of interpersonal warmth, or lack thereof. Specifically to this experiment, we believe that the participants holding warmer drinks would judge a target person as having a “warmer” (more generous and caring) personality. The original study had 41 undergraduates, modally Caucasian and female, who were an average age of 18.5 years old.
In the original study, participants were primed with either a cup of hot or iced coffee, by having a confederate met participants with a cup of coffee and a clipboard. The confederate would ask participants to hold the coffee cup while she recorded their details. When participants arrived at the experiment room, they were given a personality impression questionnaire. Where they read about “Person A” who was intelligent, skillful, industrious, determined, practical, and cautious. Then, they rated the target person’s personality traits using bipolar scales anchored with a trait and its antonym – some related to the hot-cold dimension (Williams and Bargh 2008). As the original study predicted, those who held the hot coffee rated the target person significantly warmer (mean = 4.71; 1 = cold, 7 = warm) than those who held the cold cup mean = 4.25, F(1, 39) = 4.
08, P = 0.05 (Williams and Bargh 2008).Aim: To investigate the effect of the warmth of a given drink on how positive participants are in rating another person’s personality traits, in a population of Singaporean high school students.Design: The independent variable is the warmth of the drink (hot/cold). The dependant variable was their total score on rating scale of characteristics (between 5-35), a lower score meant a more positive rating.
The study was an independent group design, meaning it was vulnerable to individual differences, as comparing results of the independent variable will result in comparisons between individuals. However, this method of study leaves no opportunity for the occurrence of order effects, and reduces the likelihood of demand characteristics as participants have only experienced a portion of the procedure.Participants:There were 61 participants in total. Of the 50 people who chose a cold drink, 29 were female and 21 were male, they were an average age of 17.04 years old. Of the 11 people who chose a hot drink, 7 were female and 4 were male, they were an average age of 17.1 years old.
Sample:The participants were chosen by opportunity sampling. This was convenient because it made use of sample already gathered for an external reason, and easily gathers a large sample together.Procedure:1. Without explanation, invite all participants to accompany the researcher to the canteen. Say the first Standardised Instruction12. While participants are settling down in the canteen, give them the consent form and remind them of their right to withdraw. 3.
Collect the consent forms. Offer to buy all participants a drink – either hot or cold. Say the second Standardised Instruction24. Wait for some time while participants enjoy their drink.
5. Return to classroom, with the participants and any unfinished drinks, and provide them with the data collection form. Say the third Standardised Instruction3Collect Data sheets.6.
Thank participants, remind them of their right to withdraw and explain the time, date and purpose of the debrief.Tabular and Graphical Results: descriptive statistics cold hot mean 20.40 22.
36standard deviation 4.10 6.02The measure of central tendency, mean, for cold was 20.40; and for hot it was 22.
36. The measure of dispersion, standard deviation, is 4.10 for cold; and 6.02 for hot. This shows that there was not a significant difference between the cold and hot drinks.Measure of central tendency, the mean, is a way of determining a central point in a set of data. The mean was chosen because the data was ordinal and did not seem to contain outliers, and the mean includes all data, thus is the most accurate measure of central tendency for this set of data. The measure of dispersal, standard deviation, is a way of establishing how widely a set of data is spread around the mean.
The standard deviation was chosen because it is least affected by outliers and includes all the data. Discussion of Results: The results of this study did not match those of the original – which found that those who had warm drinks perceived the target person as being significantly warmer than those who had the cold drink (Williams and Bargh 2008). The small difference shown in the results could imply that the warmth that changes behaviour could be from sources other than the drink.
Alternatively, because in this study the participants were offered a drink bought for them from the canteen, this might have stimulated their insula, as a feeling of goodwill may have been invoked by having a drink bought for them. This may have negated or overshadowed the effect given by holding a warm or cold drink.Because acquiring the drinks was done in a manner that appeared as though it was part of the experiment, participants’ suspicions may have been aroused and thus increasing the likelihood for demand characteristics as participants attempt to discern what the link between the drink and the experiment was, and modify their behaviour accordingly. This could be eliminated in the future by giving participants a cup of hot or cold water instead, offering participants a cup of hot or cold water instead; since water is easily accessible, this would eliminate the novelty of receiving a drink bought for them and lessen their suspicions.Another limitation could be derived from how the experiment took place in Singapore.
In attempt not to affect the data by forcing participants to hold either a hot or cold drink, experimenters allowed them a choice, but of Singapore’s hot climate, a significantly larger number of people chose to have cold drinks to combat the heat (50 as compared to 11), this means that the proportion of data is highly unbalanced, and may have resulted in data that was misrepresentative of the sample. This risk can be lessened by modifying the experiment so that the drinks are distributed so that there is an equal number of participants with cold and hot drinks. This would remove the effects of local climate on the temperature of the drinks they wished to hold.Future research could extend current research by conducting the experiment in various cultures, so one could discern if the hypothesised effect of warm drinks holds true across certain cultures but not others. This research might have value in learning the cultural limits to the effectiveness of increasing one’s likeability through warm drinks. In conclusion, this study failed to replicated the results of the original study, instead finding that there was little difference in the scores of the participants who had hot drinks versus those who had cold drinks.
The experiment’s internal validity can be improved by modifying the method so as to ensure the data collected is balanced between the temperature of the drinks, and by providing drinks of little value to lessen the occurrence of demand characteristics.Appendix:1. 1st Standardised Instruction: “Thank you for joining us in the Psychology department today. Before we begin we have some time to review the plan for the day in the canteen. Please follow me.”2. 2nd Standardised Instruction: “Please choose a beverage of your choice and then have a seat at the tables.
“3. 3rd Standardised Instruction: “Please read through the personality profile you have been given and then rate the person described in terms of each of the additional characteristics. It is important that we understand your personal views so please do not discuss your ideas with any other participants. All of your data will be anonymous and kept confidential.
Remember that if you wish to withdraw from the procedure at any time you are welcome to do so. It is important that you make a note of your participant number in case you wish to withdraw your data at any later stage.”Reference List:Williams, L. and Bargh, J. (2008). Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Interpersonal Warmth. Science, 322(5901), pp.606-607.