Classical theories on interpersonal relations have long suggested that social interactions are influenced by sensation, like the experience of warmth. Past empirical work suggests that perceived differences in temperature impact how people form thoughts about relationships. The present work first integrates our knowledge database on brand research with that of the “grounded cognition” literature on social interactions. It then leverages a large sample (total N = 2,552) toward elucidating links between estimates of temperature and positive versus negative evaluations of communal brands. In five studies, the authors find that thinking about positively (vs. negatively) perceived communal brands leads to heightened temperature estimates. A meta-analysis of the five studies shows a small but consistent effect in this noisy environment, r = .11, 95% CI, .05, .18. Exploratory analyses in Studies 1a and b further suggest that temperature perceptions mediate the (significant) relationship between perceived communality and likelihood to purchase from the brand. The authors discuss implications for theory and practice, and consider the effects from a Social Baseline Perspective.
IJzerman, H., Janssen, J. A., & Coan, J. A. (2015). Maintaining Warm, Trusting Relationships with Brands: Increased Temperature Perceptions after Thinking of Communal Brands. PLoS ONE, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0125194