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What's the trick to a fantastic first date?

Stashed in: Influence!, Emotion, Fear, Brain, Begin!, Misattribution!, Coca Cola, Pickup Lines, Cognitive Bias

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One thing I wondered after reading about "misattribution of emotions": should you actively avoid dating situations that might result in NEGATIVE emotions? For instance, is it a mistake to watch a depressing movie or see your sports team lose? Or is any emotion as good as any other when it comes to misattribution -- for instance, the anxiety of crossing the rope bridge was a turn-on for the men.

I believe the key is the adrenaline rush:

"Physiologically speaking, the adrenaline rush you experience in such a situation is the same feeling of excitement you experience when you develop a crush on someone."

If there's adrenaline, there will be positive emotion misattribution.

We see this in a lesser form when someone drinks Coca Cola at a movie. The caffeine and temporary sugar rush allow the moviegoer to associate the heightened internal response with the movie. I learned that from Joel Spolsky :

"Misattribution occurs when someone's emotions are affected while they are experiencing a situation or making a decision. When you ask them about the situation, their answer is based on their elicited emotional response that you brought on, and not the reality of the situation. Spolsky used the example of having to pee really badly during the last half of a movie. When you get out of the movie, you're more likely to tell your friends that the movie wasn't very good, but that's not because the movie wasn't actually very good--it's because you were extremely uncomfortable because you had to go pee, and were attributing the notion that the movie was not very good to the quality of the movie."

Might wanna check this out:


This explanation is now controversial because subsequent studies have found that it's rare to be able to reinterpret a negative emotion like fear into a positive one like attraction. Indeed some studies have specifically shown it can't be done (Zanna et al., 1976). However, we can reinterpret one positive emotion into a different positive emotion, and the same for negative emotions. Certainly neutral bodily feelings can be interpreted either way. That's why you can have a strong cup of coffee and the arousing effect might contribute to either elation or irritation, depending on how your day is going.

That makes sense to me.

Misattribution only works for positive-to-positive or negative-to-negative substitution.

Well, theoretically, all dating situations may potentially result in negative emotions anyway. So I say choose some super fun activity. That way, if the date doesn't go well, you'll have had a good time.


Ice skating (especially if you haven't been in a while)

Shooting range

Archery class

Coffee (somewhere fancy)


But stay vigilant and know that the fun was had mainly because of these brilliant suggestions and not necessarily because of the date. :D

Those are excellent suggestions. You'll have fun no matter what.

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