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Is Feeling Cold “Contagious”?

Scientists at the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom have determined that you can feel a chill come over you just by watching other people put their hands in ice-cold water. Much like yawning can be contagious, the researchers say that humans are susceptible to “temperature contagion,” meaning that a person can experience an actual drop in body temperature as a reaction to watching a video in which other people experience cold sensations.

Shivering in solidarity:

  • Neuropsychiatrist Neil Harrison, who led the research, suggests that watching others experience extreme conditions triggers feelings of empathy, as well as unconscious physiological changes.

  • After watching the videos, the test subjects’ body temperatures dropped by a small but statistically significant amount: 0.4 °F (0.2 °C) in their left hands, and 0.1 °F (0.05 °C) in their right.

  • This study builds on previous research that detected similar unconscious human responses to “emotional contagions” such as loneliness, laughter, and stress.

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More Info: The Telegraph

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