The Human Penguin Project: Social integration Protects against Colder Climates

We have just submitted a new manuscript and this is my first post @ PsyArxiv! In the manuscript, we find that people further from the equator have lower core temperatures, that people further from the equator score higher on complex social integration, and, importantly, that complex social integration protects core temperatures from the cold. The manuscript lends further support to social thermoregulation theory (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4404741/ andhttps://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2844963). It was a large scale collaboration with many researchers, making use of the ManyLab (set up by Charlie Ebersole, Rick Klein, and Olivia Atherton). Abstract is posted below, and manuscript can be accessed here.

 

Abstract:

Social ties in general, but having wider varieties of social ties (i.e., complex social integration) specifically, have been shown to create important physical and mental benefits and thus belong to highly important determinants of life chances. A novel, but hotly debated, approach to identifying drivers of complex social integration comes from social thermoregulation theory, which pertains to the idea that modern relationships are pleisiomorphically organized around temperature regulation. In a study covering twelve different countries we find that colder climates relate to higher levels of complex social integration and that such complex social integration relates to higher core body temperatures. Despite modern conveniences like clothing and heating, people thus still rely on social warmth to buffer their bodies against the cold. Our study not only contributes to a deeper understanding of social network formation but also provides important directions for how social interactions can contribute to health and well-being.