SOMEONE ALERT JACOB LEVY: The medical virtues of coffee are many, as the regular coffee drinker well knows. It also serves important social functions:

That's the implication of a new study by researchers who wanted to see if there was any connection between physical and emotional heat... they found that people who held a cup of hot coffee for 10 to 25 seconds warmed to a perfect stranger. Holding a cup of iced coffee had the opposite effect.

If you want to make a good impression, advised study author Lawrence E. Williams, a University of Colorado at Boulder assistant professor of marketing, a fresh cup of coffee "may bias the situation in your favor."

The study, to be published today in the journal Science, is the latest to show how physical properties such as distance or temperature can unconsciously influence emotional reactions. In a previous experiment, for example, people who were asked to plot remote points on a graph expressed distant feelings about relatives afterward.

Of course, when one looks at the actual numbers coming out of the study, they're less impressive (iced coffee is an abomination, of course, and as much like regular coffee as decaf is*). However, I'm not a scientist, so I won't allow that to get in the way of claiming yet one more benefit to coffee consumption. Is there anything it can't do?

*that is, both are "coffee" for people who don't like the essential properties of coffee

(h/t First Things

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