Here's why you get the shivers by looking at someone who is cold

  • ANI
  • Updated: Jan 14, 2015 16:10 IST

It turns out that cold is contagious and just a look at someone who's feeling cold is enough to you shiver, claims a new research.

According to the researchers at the University of Sussex, UK, unconscious physiological changes may help us empathise with one another and live in communities and shows that humans are susceptible to 'temperature contagion'.

Neuropsychiatrist Dr Neil Harrison, who led the research, said that mimicking another person is believed to help us create an internal model of their physiological state which we can use to better understand their motivations and how they were feeling.

For the research, 36 participants each watched eight videos of actors putting their hands in either visibly warm or cold water. At the same time, the temperature of their own hands was measured. Their hands were significantly colder when watching the 'cold' videos. However, the 'warm' videos did not cause a change.

Dr Harrison explained that this may be probably because the warm videos were less potent - the only cues that the water was warm was steam at the beginning of the videos and the pink colour of the actor's hand (whereas blocks of ice were clearly visible throughout the duration of the cold video).

The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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