The Big Chill: Interpersonal Coldness and Emotion-Labeling Skills

Sara K. Moeller, Michael D. Robinson, Benjamin M. Wilkowski, Devin M. Hanson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Interpersonally cold (relative to warm) individuals may be less skilled in inferring the emotional states of others, a factor that should contribute to their poorer social relationships. Systematic support for this hypothesis was obtained in 4 studies (total N=434 undergraduates) involving diverse emotion- and affect-decoding tasks. Specifically, relatively cold individuals exhibited lower accuracy in decoding emotional facial expressions (Study 1), in labeling the emotions of others from audio and video clips (Study 2), in predicting the emotions of others from social scenario descriptions (Study 3), and in the normative accuracy of their word evaluations (Study 4). Altogether, the results demonstrate that cold individuals appear broadly deficient in linking emotion and affect to relevant environmental stimuli. Implications of the findings for understanding the nature and correlates of interpersonal coldness are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)703-724
Number of pages22
JournalJournal of personality
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2012
Externally publishedYes


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