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WARM HANDS, WARM FEELINGS

New research suggests that the old saying "cold hands, warm heart" has it all wrong. It turns out that touching something warm can make you feel and act more warmly toward others.

Whether someone is deemed to have a "warm" or "cold" personality makes a powerful first impression. That led Yale University scientists to wonder if physical warmth could promote psychological warmth, by subconsciously priming people to think better of others.

The scientists had to get sneaky: They recruited 41 college students for "personality research." A lab worker escorted each participant and casually asked for help holding her cup of coffee - either hot or iced.

The students were given a description of a fictitious person described as industrious, cautious and determined, and then rated that person's presumed personality traits.

Students who had held the hot cup saw the person as more generous, sociable and good-natured than those who had held the cold cup - all traits considered part of a "warm" personality, the researchers report in today's edition of the journal Science. There were no differences between the groups on ratings of honesty, attractiveness or strength, traits not associated with personality.

Then, 53 other students were asked to briefly hold a heat or ice pads as part of "product-testing." The real test was which reward the students chose afterward: A coupon for a treat for themselves, or one for a friend. Students who held the hot pad were more likely to choose a reward for a friend, while those who held the ice pad were more likely to choose a reward for themselves.

Brits put sex ed on kindergarten curriculum

Britain may be a bit infamous for its prudishness, but as it finds itself battling the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, the government is expanding sex education programs to students as young as 5. "It's vital that this information doesn't come from playground rumor or the mixed messages from the media about sex," schools minister Jim Knight said. The government hasn't detailed what the new curriculum will look like, but schools will be asked to provide lessons on relationships and contraception, topics not previously required. For the very young, sex ed will mainly be about self-awareness. Lessons will become more sophisticated as kids get older.

India needs friend for its only gorilla

India's only gorilla is lonely. Even though Polo is 6 feet tall, dark-haired, bilingual and good-natured, the 36-year-old silverback gorilla is still single after a fruitless eight-year search. "We have written to all major zoos in the world. We have tried everything," said Vijay Ranjan Singh, director of the zoo in Mysore. Singh said that because gorillas are considered highly endangered, other zoos are reluctant to part with theirs. The Mysore zoo doesn't want to send Polo abroad to find a friend because then India would have no gorillas.

Another chess tie

Careful defense brought Russian challenger Vladimir Kramnik a draw against world chess champion Viswanathan Anand of India on Thursday in the seventh game of their championship match in Bonn, Germany. Anand leads the 12-game match, 5-2. Kramnik, who had lost three of the past four games, will have the white pieces in today's eighth game.

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