The pleasant heat? Evidence for thermal-emotional implicit associations occurring with semantic and physical thermal stimulation
Journal article, 2015
The association between thermal and emotional experiences in interpersonal relations is intuitively apparent and has been confirmed by previous studies. However, research has not yet elucidated whether such an association is grounded in mental processes occurring at an intrapersonal (internal) level. In two experiments we examined whether the thermal-emotional associations can be observed at an intrapersonal level. We looked at the speed and accuracy of stimuli categorization. Experiment 1 examined the implicit semantic association between temperature (warm versus cold) and emotional valence (positive versus negative). Experiment 2 examined the association between experience of physical temperature and emotional valence. In both experiments warm-positive/cold-negative associations were demonstrated. These results suggest a conceptual and perceptual mapping in the mental representation of emotion and temperature, which occurs at an intrapersonal level, and which might serve as the ground to the interpersonal thermal-emotional interactions.