Attractive by Misattribution of Arousal

Monday, 20 January 2014 0 comments

Attractive by Misattribution of Arousal?

Misattribution of Arousal

Erroneously attribute

Experiencing something exciting or terrifying creates a sense of excitement. In some situations, however, we attribute this feeling to the wrong cause. In psychology, this "misattribution of arousal called. Dutton and Aron (1974) investigated the effect of misattribution of arousal on attraction. The experiment was held on two bridges over the Capilano River in North Vancouver. The first was called Capilano Suspension Bridge, a narrow, wobbly suspension bridge over a seventy meter deep gorge. The second was a sturdy wooden bridge which only three feet above the ground was. Subjects were men who volunteered one of two bridges crossing. Middle of the bridge, they were approached by a female interviewer. Each man was asked to come up with a picture of a woman a story. After the experiment, the interviewer gave her phone number, so that subjects could call for more information.

The results...

The results of the study show that men who have a certain level of excitement experienced (those over the suspension bridge were) more sexual imagination used in the story about the woman than men who no excitement experienced (those on the solid bridge ran). Men who had walked across the suspension bridge called the interviewer additionally often at the end of the experiment, suggesting that they are more attracted felt the interviewer. 

Since the experiment by Dutton and Aron (1974) there has been much research done that same effect of misattribution of arousal shows. White, Fishbein, and Rutstein (1981) found that men who were aroused by physical exertion an attractive woman even better than men who did no physical exertion had made. A second experiment was done with physical exercise by Cantor, Zillmann and Bryant (1975). Subjects had a minute cycle and then got an erotic movie to see. Subjects who even slightly excited were the bikes became more sexually aroused by the film than those who do not exercise had done. Also, a film by itself can provide the misattribution of arousal effect. Cohen, Waugh and Place (1989) studied the behavior of romantic couples in the cinema. Couples wanting a thriller had seen showed off at the end of the film more affinity to each other than couples who have a documentary had seen.

Make yourself more attractive!

It seems, therefore, that misattribution of arousal a large effect has how attractive we find someone. And although it is mostly in our subconscious playing, we can definitely use it to our advantage. Do you take your next date to a comedy or a horror movie?


Cantor, JR, Zillmann, D., & Bryant, J. (1975). Enhancement of experienced sexual arousal in response to erotic stimuli through misattribution of unrelated residual excitation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 69-75.

Cohen, B., Waugh, G., & Place, K. (1989). At the movies: An unobtrusive study of arousal-attraction. The Journal of Social Psychology, 129, 691-693.

Dutton, DG, & Aron, AP (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30, 510-517.

White, GL, Fishbein, S., & Rutstein, J. (1981). Passionate love and the misattribution of arousal. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 41, 56-62.
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