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<p>How do people form feelings and cognitions about their homes? We went on to research this question. We have conducted some pilot studies in the past, and we will report the background of that idea here. That is, we apply social relationship theories to people's relationships with their houses. More specifically, we will investigate the role that a basic building block of relationships, physically warm sensations, plays in people's ideas about their homes. </p> <p>But how do people relate to one another? According to Fiske’s Relational Models Theory (1991), people interact with each other in four elementary ways. The oldest and most basic one is Communal Sharing (CS), in which people are typically close to each other, literally and figuratively, like a caregiver and child. These relationships are typically characterized by feelings of both psychological (affection) and physical warmth between the two. In the literature, cognitive models relating physical and psychological warmth have been speculated to be innate, or at least very early learned. </p> <p>Previous research has found interesting implications based on this idea. When participants experienced subtle manipulations of warmth (vs. coldness), Williams and Bargh (2008) revealed that people perceived another person as being more sociable (i.e., psychologically warm) and were more inclined to choose a gift for a friend instead of for themselves. Moreover, IJzerman and Semin (2009) learned that subtle manipulations of warmth (compared to coldness) made people feel socially closer to an experimenter, use more verbs, and have more relational perceptions (see also Schilder, IJzerman, & Denissen, 2014).</p> <p>But are effects of psychological warmth restricted to human relations only? Indeed, our language is replete with metaphors concerning the warmth and safety people's homes can provide. In fact, in distinguishing between houses and homes, Dovey (1985) for instance, suggests that a home "is an emotionally based relationship between dwellers and their dwelling places" (p. 34). By connecting human attachment with Place-Theory ideas (Proshansky et al., 1983), Giuliani (1991) proposes that mental representations of a place can induce attachment, or an “internal working model” to that place, much akin to social relations between human beings. In sum, findings in architectural research and environmental psychology suggest that also a house, or better, a home can satisfy basic needs such as security, meaning, predictability, identity and sociality (Dovey, 1985; Hayward, 1975).Based on the work by Williams and Bargh (2008) and IJzerman and Semin (2009) one would expect that experiences of physical warmth would then lead to having more communal feelings towards an unknown house. However, unpublished research (see uploaded data file "IJzerman 2013 warmth - housing") by IJzerman (2013) revealed the counterintuitive finding that coldness, instead of warmth, resulted in a more communal evaluation of a house that was displayed in an advertisement.</p> <p>Why could this be the case? To date, the literature provides some speculative answers. Interestingly, Kolb, Gockel and Werth (2012) revealed that physical coldness leads sales-people to affiliate with customers, while Bargh and Shalev (2012) found that physical coldness triggers a Need for Affiliation (NFA). We think that people in a physically cold environment turn to a house to find affiliation, since from early childhood on a house becomes associated with care, safety and other building blocks of psychological warmth. </p> <p>We will try to assess this idea through a number of different ways:</p> <ol> <li>Drawing upon this, we include NFA as a proposed mediator in the relationship between physical coldness and communal feelings towards a house. </li> <li>Since we propose that people who are cold have a Need For Affiliation and a motivation towards warmth, we also wonder (Study 1) whether taking away the motivation to get warm, when being in a cold situation, influences evaluations of a house on the market. When we take away the motivation to get warm, by telling people we will go someplace warm, it might occur that people rate that house as less communal as compared to people staying in a cold environment without having immediate plans to go inside. </li> </ol>
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