Want a raise? Drop a warm puppy into your boss’s lap

Kai Ryssdal May 14, 2014
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Want a raise? Drop a warm puppy into your boss’s lap

Kai Ryssdal May 14, 2014
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That warm and fuzzy feeling you get sitting in a comfy chair could make you more generous.

So says a new book by Dr. Thelma Lobel called Sensation: The New Science of Physical Intelligence. 

Lobel says she first realized sensations impacted her decisions when she and her husband were trying to sell their apartment in Tel Aviv, Israel.

“We pretty much decided what was the price we were going to ask,” she says, “and then they served a lot of hot coffee. And I remember holding a warm cup in my hands all the time. Without noticing it, I went down in the price. I didn’t know why I did that.”

Lobel’s studies later revealed that it wasn’t just warm and soft sensations–not necessarily from beverages, either–that made people perceive others as nicer. Cold and hard sensations, she found, have the opposite effect. To that end, the physical copy of her book feels soft on the front cover and rough on the back–an exercise in what she calls “embodied cognition.”

“All the things in the environment–the things that we see, the texture of the things we touch, the temperature of the things we touch, the colors we see, the things we smell–they all influence our behaviors, thoughts, emotions, decisions…without our awareness.”

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