Nov 17, 2008
Logic and emotion aren't the only forces that guide our decisions. This hour of Radiolab, we turn up the volume on the voices in our heads, and try to make sense of the babble. Forget free will, some important decisions could come down to a steaming cup of coffee.
UPDATE: The Williams & Bargh Yale coffee study "Experiencing Physical Warmth Promotes Interpersonal Warmth" was replicated in 2014 by researchers at three different universities, Kenyon College, Michigan State University, and University of Manchester. They did not observe the same results as in the original study. They conclude that the difference between the original and the replications may have been due to some issues with the methods of the original study ("The effect observed by Williams and Bargh may have been due, in part, to unconscious cues given by the researcher") or may simply have been due to chance. They are very careful in their language to not discredit the original study but they advise that future researchers be more cautious "when considering whether exposure to hot or cold temperatures impacts prosocial behavior." In sum: the original Yale study mostly still stands, but researchers now look the methods and results with slight skepticism (not outright disbelief though). You can check out the replications here: http://econtent.hogrefe.com/doi/full/10.1027/1864-9335/a000187