Cold Thermal Temperature Threatens Belonging: The Moderating Role of Perceived Social Support

Zhansheng Chen, Kai Tak Poon, C. Nathan DeWall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Recent research suggests that thermal (cold vs. warm) experience influences people’s perception and construal of the social world. Extending this line of research, the present investigation examined whether cold thermal temperature would influence people’s psychological feelings of belonging. We found that drinking cold water threatened feelings of belonging (Study 1). An additional study replicated this effect and further showed that it was moderated by perceived family support, such that the effect of cold water on the belonging was only found among participants with low family support (Study 2). These findings not only strengthen the interconnection between social and physical experiences, but they also demonstrate the interactive effect of these two types of experiences on psychological feelings. Implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)439-446
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Psychological and Personality Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was supported by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council’s General Research Fund (to Chen and DeWall; HKU742411H) and HKU seed funding program.

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2014


  • embodiment
  • physical coldness
  • social support
  • the need to belong

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology


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