Students experiment with heat effects on judgment

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There are a lot of things that can alter a person’s perception and judgment of another person. According to the research seniors Eddie Carrillo and Sean Arbogast did, temperature is one of the leading factors that can alter your cognition.

“We chose this as our research project because our adviser has a big interest in cognition and we found it to be interesting too,” said Arbogast.

Judgment is an active social perception process to evaluate a social judgment, bodies moving in the environment shape thinking and reasoning.

Carrillo and Arbogast first looked at a handshake experiment that proved how a handshake could change social judgments and make them more positive. Eventually, they decided to base their research on the work of Hans IJzerman and Gün Sermin who looked at ambient temperature.

To test the effect of temperature on people’s social cognitive judgment, Eddie and Sean had people come into a room and either judges a stranger, or themselves. First they had to rate on a scale form 1-10 whether the room was uncomfortably cold, to uncomfortably hot to measure their baseline temperature.

For those who were in the first part of the project, they had to rate a stranger as a friend and describe the stranger. Each participant throughout the study wore a cold jacket, a hot jacket, or no jacket at all. This was all based on random assignment. For those in the second part of the study, they had to rate themselves as a friend and describe themselves. Then they were to do the same thing they did in the first part of the project.

The results showed that even when people were in a warm environment versus a cold environment, people still had the same judgment on themselves.

The second part of the project was based on their social cognitive judgment on a stranger. The students watched a silent film about a girl, and had to judge the type of person they think she was, and the type of friend she would be.

The research showed that even if the student rated the temperature as hot or cold, they still had the same basic judgment on the stranger.

Qualitatively, the words participants chose were more based on personality and more vivid than participants who did not receive a jacket. Quantitatively, the measurement wasn’t sensitive enough to pick up on it.

“From our results we think that all we really needed to change was to have a more sensitive measuring system to better measure our results.”


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