Another social psychology study. Dutton and Aron's (1974) paper on attractiveness in anxious situations, is one of those pieces of research which gives you practical insight into human psychology, which can also be applied to your life.
What Dutton and Aron did, was run an experiment on two bridges. One was a very small, wobbly, bridge (with a 230ft drop) and the other was a very sturdy and rigid bridge (only 10ft off the ground). As men were walking across the bridges, they would be approached by a stooge of Dutton and Aron (who was either an attractive girl or another man) and asked to participate in a psychology study. After filling out a questionnaire and doing a short task, the stooge would give the man a phone number and suggested that the person telephone at a later occasion.
What did they find? That the participants who had met the young lady on the scary bridge were more likely to telephone her later, than the men on the sturdy bridge (and those interviewed by the male on either bridge). Something about the rickety, unstable bridge environment had caused the men on the bridge, to telephone the young lady afterwards.
Dutton and Aron's explanation was that the anxiety that the men had felt as they walked across the scary bridge, was misinterpreted by them as feelings of attraction for the girl. Since the men on the sturdy bridge were not as anxious when crossing, they did not make the same erroneous attribution (and were less likely to telephone back).
Being in stressful or dangerous situations increases physiological arousal, which can cause people to form strong bonds or attachments together. There are plenty of good reasons why this might be so (safety in numbers etc). So ladies, next time you want success on your next date, I suggest you take him to a rickety bridge, or a scary movie. And then you're sure to increase the rate at which they phone you back.Go Top