When you're dreading the arrival of a difficult client, just make a cup of coffee. According to a study recently published in the journal Science, holding that hot cuppa joe will make you more likely to perceive that client as emotionally warm—and you'll be more likely to behave in a friendly, generous way yourself.
In the carefully controlled study completed by Yale University researchers, a lab worker who happened to be holding some textbooks and a coffee cup greeted each of the 41 college students who participated in the study. She escorted the participants to the elevator of Yale's psychology building. During the ride to the fourth floor, the worker casually asked the students to hold her cup of coffee—either iced or hot—while she recorded their names on a clipboard.
When the students reached their destination, they were asked to read a short description of Person A and then fill out a questionnaire about this hypothetical figure's personality. Participants who held the hot coffee cup rated Person A as more generous, more social, happier, and better natured than did those who held the iced coffee.
If you're skeptical about the ability of an act as simple as holding something warm to really affect the attitudes of veterinary team members, check out the follow up: One of the study's designers completed a related experiment in which participants evaluated hot pads or cold pads as injury treatments. After completing the evaluation, the people who took part in the study got to choose a reward either for themselves or a friend. Those who had held and evaluated the hot pad were more likely to pick a gift for a friend. Coffee anyone?