As anyone who has ever been lonely (read: anybody) knows, there's a certain chill to the feeling. Rooms feel colder, and our innards can shiver. Artists have been using this metaphor for years, and it turns out they've got reason.
Being lonely can literally cause our bodies to grow colder.
Researchers from Purdue University and Tilburg University (Netherlands) conducted an experiment in which several people participated in a simulated ball-tossing game with computer-generated avatars.
The avatars were programmed to exclude certain people from the game (i.e. they didn't throw the balls to certain folks). During this, the researchers measured the skin temperatures of the participants 24 separate times.
Sure enough, those were excluded showed a .378-degree drop in skin temperature. This might not seem like much, but when you consider that those were included showed no drop in temperature, it's significant.
Researchers presume it's caused by simple vasoconstriction, the narrowing of blood vessels.
The reason why is still unknown, but it has been proven that touching something warm can reverse this response. So if you're ever feeling the chill of loneliness, grab a hot cup of tea. It'll actually also make you more social.