Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)



First Advisor

David J. LaPorte, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Donald U. Robertson, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Derek R. Hatfield, Ph.D.


This study compares trusting behaviors and attitudes after participants are briefly exposed to physical contact, thermal warmth, or both. The interpersonal action was designed to be similar to a therapeutic setting. A 2 x 2 MANOVA was used to determine differences between experimental groups. Results from the study indicated non-significant differences between participants who received contact or warmth compared to participants in a no-contact or thermal cold group. Compared to previous studies, this study explored behaviors and attitudes during an interpersonal interaction over an extended period of time. The findings suggest that when considering building trusting relationships, brief contact with a warm object or brief physical contact do not contribute significantly in a prolonged interaction.