Etymology of "cold" characterization of a person's disposition...

Well, in most countries I’ve been to, there is someone who tells me that the people in the South are more open and friendly than the people in the north.* In the northern hemisphere, that normally corresponds with people who live in cold climates being “cold” and people in the south being “warm.” I’ve also seen how my disposition changes completely when the weather is warm/cold.

I know this might seem like a stupid question, but I’m trying to find something out about language. Does the term “cold” as someone’s disposition come from this sense that cold weather makes someone unfriendly/distant/etc.?
*I always here this about Scandinavians, though all the Scandinavians I know are warm people.

Probably not. For example:

cold-blooded (1595) refers to old notion that blood temperature rose with excitement.

Cold-hearted (1606) is originally in Shakespeare.

Cold and warm lend themselves easily to metaphoric use without any “effects of the weather on personality” needed to explain their use.

A friend with a degree in linguistics told me that “cold” is used to mean “emotionally distant” in just about every language worldwide.

Sorry, I can’t provide a citation.

My WAG would be rather that the idea comes from

  • emotional agitation phyiologically manifesting itself in ways we associate with ‘warm’ (flushing, increased heartbeat, less sluggish movement)
  • affection often being displayed by touching, which makes you feel warmer (by heat transfer and by increasing your own heart rate)

BTW the metaphorical use of ‘cold’ is much the same in German. With ‘warm’ it’s a bit more complicated as that can also mean ‘homosexual’.