It’s true, I found this topic on Psych2Go’s ‘Article Topics Suggestions’ segment. I was excited to write something but was drawing a blank as to what exactly to write about. Thankfully I stumbled across a topic that peaked my interest. According to Psych2Go, “A date that involves adrenaline–rollercoasters, horror films–will help stimulate arousal in the brain, and make people think they’re enjoying your company.” I chose this topic because I remember learning about it in my Social Psychology class and remember thinking, “Wow, it is pretty darn easy to manipulate people.” Maybe ‘manipulate’ is the wrong word but I was still surprised with how easy it can be to create a scenario which fosters stronger feelings of attraction.
According to the research, increased levels of adrenaline also increase attraction between individuals. Kristin McKinney from McKendree University performed a study in which she found this to be true. McKinney administered a survey to 70 students which asked questions relating to the participant’s attraction to three photographs of members of the opposite sex. The survey was administered 15 minutes after participants took part in a physical activity and consisted of 25 items. Eight items related to the individual’s level of adrenaline due to the physical activity, two items related to attraction to members of the opposite sex, and a series of five items related to attraction levels to members of the opposite sex portrayed in the three photographs. Through her results, she concluded that as levels of adrenaline increase through exercise, attraction between two people also increases.
Meston and Frohlich’s (2003) study examined residual nervous system arousal on perceptions of sexual attraction. The study was performed using individuals at an amusement park who were waiting in line for a ride and those who had just exited the ride. Much like McKinney’s study, participants were shown a photograph of a person of the opposite gender and were asked to rate the person on attractiveness as well as dating desirability. According to Meston and Frohlich (2003), participants exiting the ride who were riding with a nonromantic partner rated the photographed individual higher in attractiveness and dating desirability than participants who were entering the ride. There was no significant difference in attractiveness or dating desirability between those entering and exiting the ride among persons riding with a romantic partner (Meston & Frohlich, 2003). Meston and Frohlich (2003) believed the presence of a romantic partner inhibited the “misattribution of arousal to the photographed individual” (p. 543). The researchers proved that residual arousal intensified participants’ later experience of attraction.
Now, I’m not advising you to partake in any illegal or dangerous activities on your next date. SexInfo Online, a sex education website created and maintained by University of California, Santa Barbara students, lists fun and adrenaline pumping date ideas such as hiking, amusement parks, bowling, or mini golf. Be creative and try to think of other safe date activities that get your heart racing. Have fun!
Meston, C. M., & Frohlich, P. F. (2003). Love at first fright: Partner salience moderates roller-coaster-induced excitation transfer. Archives of sexual behavior, 32(6), 537-544.
McKinney, K. The Effects of Adrenaline on Arousal and Attraction.