On the Association between Loneliness and Physical Warmth-Seeking through Bathing: Reply to Donellan et al. (2014) and Three Further Replications of Bargh & Shalev (2012) Study 1.
John A. Bargh
Ben Gurion University of the Negev
May 9, 2014
As Tversky and Kahneman (1971) noted, effect sizes in smaller samples are inherently unstable. Donellan et al. (2014) in a large sample show that the relation between trait loneliness and warmth extraction through bathing activities is much smaller than in our initial smaller samples. We report further replications of our original findings in samples from India, Israel, and North America, again showing significant correlations between loneliness and physical warmth extraction from bathing and showering; the overall effect being reliable across all three samples, although, consistent with Donellan et al.'s conclusions, smaller than in our original studies. We also respond to criticisms of the original data analyses, noting that removal of the problematic 'bathing frequency' item from the warmth index did not substantially change the results and thus our conclusions from them. We also note that in their 2 studies in which Donellan et al. attempted to most closely follow our original procedure, they did replicate our original results, but not in the other 7 studies in which considerable procedural changes were made. As our new replications reveal variability in bathing and showering preferences and habits around the world, we recommend the inclusion of a wider sample of cultures beyond North American in future research. This research should also focus not only on the narrower question of how loneliness relates to bathing activities but on the broader relation between feelings of social coldness (e.g., after rejection or exclusion) and the seeking of physical warmth (e.g., warm food and drink, thermostat settings).
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: loneliness; embodiment; physical warmth; cultural differences
Date posted: May 12, 2014 ; Last revised: May 19, 2014