After a few months, we have finally gotten around to submitting a new version of the Human Penguin Project. Content is largely the same (though very much fine-tuned). Abstract available below, manuscript can be downloaded – for free – from PsyArxiv.
Social thermoregulation theory posits that modern human relationships are pleisiomorphically organized around body temperature regulation. In two studies (N=1747) designed to test this theory, we used supervised machine learning to identify social and non-social factors that relate to core body temperature. This data-driven analysis found that complex social integration (CSI), defined as the variety of one’s social ties, is a critical predictor of core body temperature. We further used a cross-validation approach to show that colder climates relate to higher levels of CSI, which in turn relates to higher CBT (when climates get colder). These results suggest that despite modern affordances for regulating body temperature, people still rely on social warmth to buffer their bodies against the cold.