At last, a study that explains why so many people develop crushes on their baristas. Time magazine reports that psychologists have shown that social relationships can be affected by drink temperature. In short: warm drinks stimulate warm feelings, while cold drinks can stimulate distrust.

If it’s true, this is one of those insights that shows just how simple human beings are. The study involved two experiments. In one, undergraduates were asked to hold a research assistant’s drink while the researcher filled out a form on a clipboard. Later, the undergrads were asked to rate the researcher’s personality traits. Undergrads who had held a warm drink thought the researcher was warmer in nature than those who had held a cold drink.

In the second experiment, participants were asked to hold heated or frozen packs used to treat muscle aches (they were told it was a product evaluation test). Later, they were offered gift certificates, and told they could pick one for themselves or one for a friend. Those who held a warm pack were more likely to choose for a friend.

The practical take-away from this study? If you find yourself having to make an economic or trust decision, go with a cold drink that stimulates caution. If you’re looking to get that cute girl to go out on a date, buy her a latte. And nobody likes a room-temperature beverage.

See more articles