Capilano Suspension Bridge & A Study on Attraction
“The Capilano Suspension Bridge is a simple suspension bridge crossing the Capilano River in the District of North Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. The current bridge is 136 metres (446 ft) long and 70 metres (230 ft) above the river. It is part of a private facility, with a charge for admission, and draws over 800,000 visitors a yea” -Wikipedia
Meston, Frohlich ( 2003) and Zillman (1978) had male participants cross the bridge. Half of them were made to cross a scary bridge (wobbly, very high) and the other half to cross a more sturdy bridge. The researchers then had a female confederate handed the participants a survey to fill out after reaching the end of the bridge. The results showed that the males who crossed the scary bridge reported more attraction to the female confederate than the males who crossed the sturdy bridge.
So how did the researchers explain this? They used the ‘misattribution of arousal’ theory which is the process whereby people make mistaken inferences about what is causing them to feel the way they do. What happened in this experiment was that the males participants who crossed the scary bridge became physiologically aroused because they were frighten they were going to fall off the bridge. And upon meeting the female confederate, they attributed these intense and unexplained feelings (fear) to feelings of attractions for the females.