Misattribution of Arousal: Why Horror Movies Make the Best Dates

Misattribution of Arousal: Why Horror Movies Make the Best Dates

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Imagine this: you’ve been lost in a forest for a couple days. You’ve been looking for your way back to civilization, when you finally find the right path and you’re on your way home. There’s one problem though. Separating you from your way out of there is an extremely wobbly, cricking, and sky-level bridge that’s stationed in the middle of a forest canyon. Now tell me, how are you feeling right at this moment? Unless you’re Tarzan, you’re probably scared out of your mind right now. You’re eyes are nervously blinking and aiming to get a good enough image. You’re fidgeting with your hands. You feel your face swelling up with sweat. You’re unsure whether or not you’ll make it out alive. Don’t those symptoms sound a little familiar? Like when going on a promising first date. Or when you’re in the movie theater because your friends dragged you to see the latest horror movie. Or a job interview to land that dream position. In other words, we’re aroused. Scientists define arousal as alertness, engagement, and a heightened level of physical activity, such as an elevated heart rate. Psychologists, Donald Dutton and Arthur Aron, conducted a classic experiment, testing attraction. They put men on to two different bridges. One was an extremely shaky, tall one, like the one we discussed earlier, while the other was a more stable, shorter one. Dutton and Aron speculated that walking across the bridge stirred up a sense of arousal, and that these participants would mistakenly think they were attracted to the female experimenter that greeted them. However, the two psychologists state that the arousal wouldn’t derive from the experimenter’s attractiveness, but rather it’s a result of the intensiveness of crossing the shaky bridge. Their findings were interesting. The males who crossed the wobbly bridge were more likely to call the experimenter, and their story of the picture contained more sexual content.. Scientists say the men on the less sturdy bridge mistakenly took this arousal yielded from crossing the bridge and assumed it was because they were attracted to the female experimenter, then pursuing her and calling her later. Dr. Benjamin Le states that this misplacing of attraction can be directly tied to effective dating advice. If you want your date to potentially feel more aroused around you, pick out a scary activity. Watching a horror movie. Going to a scary tourist attraction for a theme park. Web searching haunted locations–that are legal and safe–or picking out an activity that they fear, but want to overcome. So what are your thoughts? Comment below and be sure to like and subscribe to see more content like this from Psych2go. Thank you for watching!


  1. Maybe that's the reason my girlfriend and me can't get away from horror-movies despite there being better "real" movies we planned to watch🤔

  2. Lol i suppose its the same as saying that people can mix up emotions, e.g. crying when you're happy or feeling angry and upset.

  3. As a first date watching a horror movie or any movie in general isn’t the brightest idea because it’s better to get to know the person first and then it would be nice watching a movie.

  4. No wonder she wanted me to watch a horror movie with her..

    Jokes on her, I never get scared!
    (When someone else is watching with me. Otherwise I'm a pussy)

  5. Took my Ex to see Annabelle 2.Scared the shit out of her,and we started dating two days later.This is not a joke.I am being serious,people.

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  7. Literally recently did an assignment in English on why some people enjoy fear. This was one of the things mentioned

  8. At the end, skydiving would work for me. I would be scared out of my wits XD Now just to actually find a partner…

  9. When u have depression and u tell ur best friend it and she leaves u bcz ur she thinks ur a burden and ur hurting her when u have suicidal thoughts, what stops u when she was the only thing u have ?

  10. i actually read up on something about this a while ago, but i am curious as to would the same effect and outcome also transpire if let's say a couple on a date did something fun instead?

    for example, theme parks have both fun & scary… but what if someone took their first date to a place like dave & busters?

    sure, no scary rides nor movie but couldn't the same be done to achieve the heightened adrenaline and so forth?

  11. if the experiment was only mande with men…. this is better advise for women than men, because we don't know if women will be more attracted to men when scared right?

  12. This is true. There was this guy who I had no absolute chance with, but we were watching a horror movie and I held his hand, a month later we started dating. We only dated for a month and 8 days though, because he wasn't a good boyfriend.

  13. That is an interesting observation… and one I hadn't considered before. Not that I would personally employ it.. but it makes sense in the context of interactions I've observed.

  14. My understanding is that it is just proof; that some people get more excited for love about the hype, then the person really. While others really get excited for love about the person and not so concerned about anything else.

  15. Tbh I hate horror movies. I usually get nightmares afterwards. My "dates" have been studio ghiblie movies.

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