Hornstein, Fanselow, and Eisenberger studied links between feeling something warm and perceptions of safety. They learned that “a physically warm stimulus was less readily associated with threat (compared to soft or neutral stimuli; Study 1) and was able to inhibit the fear response elicited by other threatening cues (compared to neutral stimuli; Study 2). Results showed that physical warmth resisted association with threat (Study 1) and not only inhibited the fear response but also led to lasting inhibition even after the warm stimulus was removed (Study 2).” In the warmth condition, an activated warm pack was placed in the study participant’s right hand.
E. Hornstein, M. Fanselow, and N. Eisenberger. “Warm Hands, Warm Hearts: An Investigation of Physical Warmth as a Prepared Safety Stimulus.” Emotion, in press, https://doi.org/10.1037/emo0000925