Giving someone a nice, warm cup of coffee is a small act of kindness that, combined with other small acts of kindness, could increase your overall karmic quotient leading to some grand cosmic benefit at some unknown point in this or future lives. It may also have a more direct benefit for those looking to reap their just desserts in this lifetime. According to a study, holding a warm drink makes people more generous.
As reported by WPTV, the study suggests that “people are more likely to give something to others if they hold something warm” and that holding a cold beverage has the opposite effect. Performed by Yale University professor of psychology John A. Barg and PdD student Lawrence E. Williams, the study had participants hold either a hot or a cold coffee before asking them to assess the personality traits of an individual whom they knew nothing about beyond the “packet of information” given to them during the experiment. Questions were broken down into two categories: those related to warm/cold distinctions (generous/ungenerous, happy/unhappy, good-natured/irritable, sociable/anti-social, and caring/selfish) and those unrelated (attractive/unattractive, carefree/serious, talkative/quiet, strong/weak, and honest/dishonest).
The researchers found that participants who held hot drinks rated the subject as “significantly ‘warmer’” than those that held cold drinks for all questions related to the warm/cold distinction. They also found no difference in the responses from either group to the questions unrelated to warm/cold.
And it is more than just how others are perceived that is affected, but also how participants interacted with them. In a second study, participants could were told they could “receive a gift certificate for a friend or a gift for themselves.” Those holding the warmer item were more likely to give the gift to a friend, whereas those holding the cold item were more inclined to keep it for themselves.
“It appears that the effect of physical temperature is not just on how we see others, it affects our own behavior as well,” Bargh said. “Physical warmth can make us see others as warmer people, but also cause us to be warmer – more generous and trusting – as well.”
Now, I'm not saying that people who drink hot coffee are more generous, caring individuals or that iced coffee/cold brew drinkers are selfish curmudgeons only looking out for themselves. Science is. Science is saying that. If that gets your cold brew straw all in a twist, take it up with them. Though, I'm not sure giving them a piece of your mind is quite as generous as it sounds.
Top image © Emil Durov/Adobe Stock