Psychology of Social Connection

The Relationship Advice You Didn’t Ask For, But Need

April 1st, 2022 · 25 Comments

Kayla:

I’m sure many of us are familiar with (or secretly binge-watch) reality dating shows. Clearly, people enjoy watching others fall in love–The Bachelor, the original show of this kind, attracts millions of viewers each season. So why is it so hard to find love like that in real life? Many people idealize dating shows and compare them to their own love lives, however, it’s important to remember just how unrealistic they are. 

Fundamentally, the show is designed to harbor many false feelings of attraction and love. The couples travel the world and go on outrageous dates: we’ve seen hot air balloon rides, sky diving, bungee jumping, and more. However, when participants have these wild experiences on just the first or second date, it’s more than possible that their adrenaline rushes and states of high arousal may be confused for romantic and/or sexual attraction.

The Schachter-Singer two-factor theory of emotion–the idea that emotions are the sum of your physical reaction and a cognitive label–is the reasoning behind this concept. So if we attached the wrong label to our current state, we can mix up what we are actually feeling. In 1962, Schachter & Singer injected study college students with either adrenaline or a placebo fluid. Some of those who received the adrenaline were informed of truthful possible side effects, while others were told random side effects or nothing at all. After completing several mundane tasks, those who knew the adrenaline would heighten their arousal reported feeling less anger and frustration. Schachter & Singer believed this to be because those unaware of how the adrenaline would make them feel inaccurately attributed their heightened arousal to emotions, not the drug (Schachter & Singer, 1962). 

The two-factor theory of emotion was put in the context of romantic relationships with the 1974 “shaky bridge” study discussed in our lecturette. Here, male participants were more attracted to and were more likely to afterward reach out to a female interviewer if their conversation occurred on the middle of a long, shaking suspension bridge rather than a stable one (Dutton & Aron, 1974). 

So, of course Clayton and Susie fell in love after just 3 dates–they traveled the world together, rode in helicopters, and swam in hot springs. It seems unlikely that they would have had an equally epic love story if they had just been walking the dog and going to the grocery store like every other couple in America. Therefore, it is certainly not out of the question that Bachelor producers purposely create such high-adrenaline scenarios for couples in order to foster relationships that otherwise may not be very strong–in other words, keep their emotions high to produce that much more drama. You’ve got to make good TV one way or another! 

The final verdict: all of these shows should be taken with a grain of salt. And keep in mind, next time you go on a first date that involves falling through the sky, be careful to not misinterpret your fear for love—unless you plan on skydiving for the rest of your life!

Gayoung:

Can you guess what my exes and my current boyfriend all have in common? If you answered “their incredibly good taste in a woman,” I love you, and yes, that is true. But the real answer is that each of them has told me this:

 


Guilty as charged! But am I ashamed? No! And if you’ve ever been called needy or have called someone else needy or if someone has ever told you that they wish you were more needy, then this is for you. Yes, you. Because I’m going to share with you guys something that changed my entire perspective on dating, and I hope that each one of you can use it to understand yourself and/or your (future) partner better.

If you’ve taken an introductory psychology course, you might recall a theory about attachment, which is described as a lasting psychological connectedness between human beings (Bowlby, 1969). Psychologist Mary Ainsworth observed how infants reacted when they were briefly left alone and then reunited with their mothers. She and her team found that their reactions tended to fall within one of three groups: secure (actively seeking and maintaining proximity with the mother), avoidant (little to no tendency of seeking proximity with the mother), or ambivalent (anxious and unconfident about their mothers’ responsiveness). 

As it turns out, these attachment styles can translate into adult romantic relationships (Hazan & Shaver, 1987):

  • Securely attached adults can resolve conflict well, communicate effectively, and don’t hesitate to ask for their needs to be met and likewise are willing to meet others’ needs. 
  • Avoidant adults desire a high level of independence, tend to suppress their feelings, and deal with conflict by distancing themselves from partners. 
  • Anxiously attached/ambivalent adults seek high levels of intimacy, approval, and responsiveness from partners and become overly dependent on them.

Can you guess which one I might be? (If you guessed anxious, you’re a genius!) But the real question is: do you know your own attachment style? Your partner’s? The point is, attachment styles tell us all about our needs and tendencies. And as we’ve learned in the lecturette this week, understanding, communicating, and responding to each other’s needs is important in forming a strong communal relationship. Additionally, perceived understanding can serve as a critical buffer against potentially detrimental effects of relationship conflict (Gordon & Chen, 2016) and understanding your partner’s perspective is key to forming and maintaining strong romantic relationships. 

The best thing I’ve done for myself is to realize my needs as someone who is anxiously attached and communicate them to my partner. The next best thing I’ve done is to find someone who is understanding of me and my needs and strives to meet them. So go out there and learn more deeply about yourself and your partner and respond to each other’s needs! ‘Cause I think we all deserve a love like that. <3

Twyla:

Everyone knows the heart racing, pit in your stomach, nervous energy type feeling you get right before asking someone out. Or, rather, many people know that feeling. I for one don’t, given that I’ve never asked anyone out before. I’ve always been far too risk-averse, especially when it comes to dating. Coming of age I couldn’t imagine anything more terrifying than admitting to someone that I liked them with the potential to be shot down.

It turns out, I’m not the only one. So many other people struggled with risk-taking, and, like me, assume that rejection is the worst possible outcome. People overlook, however, the discomfort that comes with being the person doing the rejecting. According to a 2019 study, people underestimate the “difficulty and discomfort” people experience when saying no to suitors (Bohns and DeVincent). When people imagined themselves in the suitor role, they thought that the targets would be better off than they were post-rejection.

I hope that these findings humanize the people that we have feelings for. This study should serve as a reminder that the ideas we have in our heads of our crushes are just that: ideas. They are real people who feel awkward and uncomfortable, and besides, you are very possibly not the most uncomfortable person in that situation (not sure if that helps or hurts!) Either way, Bohns and DeVincent show how inaccurate our understandings of suitor-target dating dynamics can be, so you might as well put yourself out there without overthinking it too much.

References:

Bohns, V. K., & DeVincent, L. A. (2019). Rejecting unwanted romantic advances is more difficult than suitors realize. Social psychological and personality science, 10(8), 1102-1110.

Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss. (OKS Print.) New York: Basic Books.

Dutton, D. G., & Aron, A. P. (1974). Some evidence for heightened sexual attraction under conditions of high anxiety. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 30(4), 510–517. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0037031

Gordon, A. M., & Chen, S. (2016). Do you get where I’m coming from?: Perceived understanding buffers against the negative impact of conflict on relationship satisfaction. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 110(2), 239-260.

Hazan, C., & Shaver, P. (1987). Romantic love conceptualized as an attachment process. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 52(3), 511–524. Schachter, S., & Singer, J. (1962). Cognitive, social, and physiological determinants of emotional state. Psychological Review, 69(5), 379–399. https://doi.org/10.1037/h0046234

 

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25 responses so far ↓

  • Do Kim // Apr 2nd 2022 at 12:44 am

    Thank you all for this post! Kayla, your descriptions of the adrenaline arousing activities that couples in reality shows often do together, like bungee jumping, were interesting and something that I have thought about as well. Although Dutton and Aron (1974) use a shaky bridge in their experiment, there are so many big, romantic gestures (e.g., fancy dinner dates, vacations, helicopter rides) that lie at the core of reality shows, books, rom coms, etc. that also bring about adrenaline or “states of high arousal.” This is why I found your point that in the absence of all of the traveling and adventures, the love stories we are exposed to through media probably would not have been so “epic,” to be particularly interesting. For me, this point highlighted the role that money, or the availability of time and expendable income, can have in making romantic relationships feel “epic” and exciting. While the “wild experiences” you speak of may not all necessarily require money and/or lots of time, a lot of the ones that are overrepresented in media do, and it feels like they could contribute to setting expectations/norms about what an “ideal” romance looks like. What are your thoughts on the ways that these media representations may impact couples who aren’t able to always access the “traditionally represented” methods of adrenaline-inducing activities for dates as well as the effects that it may have on the ways they perceive the “epic-ness” of their romance?

  • Andrea Liu // Apr 2nd 2022 at 5:45 pm

    This is a great blog post! I think it really takes us through the highs and lows of romantic relationships, from the “adrenaline rushes” to the anxious fear of rejection. In particular, Kayla I laughed reading your section because as someone who’s ~ kind of ~ been following this past season, at first I was shocked by Clayton’s choice: where did it come from? Will they even last? It made me think about other shows that have come out recently, like Love is Blind and Single’s Inferno, that make me wonder how *true* love can actually be if it’s not happening in our natural environments of our mundane, everyday lives. While television can be curated specifically to produce fodder for viewers like me and you, it is possible that producers are really just exploiting psychological principles—in that case, who’s to blame us for falling for it? Also, Gayoung, I’m glad you were able to recognize yourself and acknowledge that you are needy in relationships, but that is part of the love you deserve!

  • Sierra Agarwal // Apr 2nd 2022 at 8:01 pm

    Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla, this is a great blog post!

    Kayla, I really liked your thoughts about the two-factor theory of emotion. Your reference to the Bachelor immediately made me think about how I never understood how people could have such strong feelings for one another within the short time frame of a tv season. But, after reading and understanding the two-factor theory of emotion, the scenarios people on these shows are put under help explain the feelings and strong sense of emotions they show on tv. Often times, I think about how emotions are overlooked to only reflect cognitive thinking. For instance, I think that I am feeling a certain way because of my mindset or outlook on something, thus ignoring any physical aspect that may be contributing. But, the two-factor theory of emotion begs to differ as it argues that emotions are a makeup of both physical reactions and cognitive labeling. Knowing this, it makes a lot more sense as to why people on dating shows feel the way they do about others within that set time frame, as they have both physical and cognitive interactions.

    Awesome job!

  • Helena Jiang // Apr 3rd 2022 at 12:12 am

    Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla, thank you all so much for writing such a great post with so many different ideas and thought processes. Kayla, I found it super interesting how you tied in the study of the shaking bridge to situations homogenous in reality dating shows; I’ve never thought of that connection, and it truly is interesting to see how feelings in reality TV shows can actually not only be skewed by the fact that it’s being recorded and will be on TV, but also the idea that this love is conditional upon the situation, of which TV often makes more exciting than not. Gayoung, I definitely feel you with the need for validation and being called needy. Thank you so much for sharing this insight on dating – it really is interesting to learn about attachment styles in the context of babies and how they interact with their mothers/strangers, and tying that into romantic relationships; adults are just older babies, after all, and we all have that inner child within us. Twyla, it is really important in life to really humanize people and understand that, while these are really big and scary decisions, that ultimately, everyone is human; not only are you human, but the person on the other side that you are potentially asking out is also just simply another human being!

  • Summer Cai // Apr 3rd 2022 at 12:40 am

    Hi Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla, thanks for a great post!
    Twyla, the Bohns and DeVincent paper reminds me that beyond suitor underestimating how hard it is for the target to reject romantic advances, it is also shows that it is actually very hard for target to reject romantic advances in the first place. Sometimes I’m so worried about hurting someone’s feelings that I end up being more upset than person I turned down. I wonder why saying “no” is particularly difficult in this case? (Maybe it is related to empathy and emotional contagion) Are there personal differences? What is this difference driven by?
    Also, this reminds me of the “ghosting” phenomenon. I feel this difficulty is a major factor in people choosing to “ghost” someone instead of directly rejecting them. The “ghosts” also tend to underestimate how difficult it is for people to process the experience of being “ghosted” and often falsely believe that “ghosting” minimizes harm compared to a direct rejection. This seems like an another form of self-centered bias we talked about in class.

  • Georgia Steigerwald // Apr 3rd 2022 at 6:25 pm

    Thank you all for a great post!

    Kayla–I really love the way you applied the emotion theory to the Bachelor. I’ve wondered about this a lot myself. Even in non-romance shows where people spend a large amount of time together they seem to bond. Is it a result of time together? Shared experiences? Or the craziness of the experiences themselves? On a show like Survivor contestants report being very close friends after, which makes sense after they’ve had to rely on each other to survive for over a month (though helicopter rides, insane challenges, and near death experiences surely help). I’d be curious to look at the bonding between the women/men on the Bachelor/Bachelorette to see if they get even closer to each other than they do with the person they are falling in love with given the additional time/proximity to each other. What do you think?

  • Patrick S // Apr 3rd 2022 at 8:22 pm

    Thank you Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla for your post! Kayla, I thought that your post analyzing the emotions that contestants feel on the Bachelor was really illuminating! I wonder how relationships formed in other high-intensity or adrenaline-filled situations (in the military, for instance) compare, perhaps not in a romantic sense, but in a relationship strengthening sense. Gayoung, I loved your honesty in your blog post, and I took the attachment quiz that you linked and learned some interesting things about myself as well.

  • Michael Pankowski // Apr 3rd 2022 at 11:19 pm

    Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla, thanks for your post!

    Kayla,
    I thought the connection you made between the “shaky bridge” and The Bachelor’s high-adrenaline dates to be brilliant. This is something I’ve never considered before, and it makes perfect sense. Not only do these high-adrenaline dates lead people to mistake their adrenaline for attraction, but they also create amazing memories that people can mistake for falling in love with someone – it’s possible it’s not the person you love, but the activity you did together! I wonder how long it takes these contestants to realize they might not be feeling actual connection (if they ever truly thought they were). Maybe they’d know better if they had taken a psych course! Thanks for your post — interesting stuff!

    Gayoung,
    Thanks so much for your honest and heartfelt blog post. I’m sure lots of people in our class totally understand this feeling (I’m sure I do!). It’s so important to communicate your needs honestly to your significant other, even if it might feel hard to do, because this is the only way they can adequately meet your needs. It’s also super interesting how our attachment styles as babies can translate into adult romantic relationships, and it’s something that affects so many people and yet they don’t even realize why. I wish more people knew about this! Thanks a lot for this post — I learned a lot!

    Twyla,
    Do you think knowing the results of this study — that the askers “underestimate the difficulty and discomfort” those being asked out feel — make it easier or harder to be the one asking someone out? To be honest, I feel like it makes it harder — it’s already hard enough for the person asking someone out, and it’s even harder if they know there’s a chance they put the other person in a difficult emotional spot. This makes me feel like it’s only worth a person doing if they’re close to 100% sure they other person is going to say yes. I wonder what other people’s thoughts on this are.

  • Stephanie // Apr 4th 2022 at 11:35 am

    Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla awesome and interesting blog post!

    Kayla- I really liked your blog post because whenever I used to watch the Bachelor I was always so curious as to how they formed such deep connections and even said I love you to someone they barely knew that was also dating so many other people. But now after reading your blog post and talking about it in class, the two factor theory of emotion and the shaky bridge study are two great explanations that make so much sense!

    Gayoung- I really like how you got personal and I felt like I was able to relate to some of the stuff you were saying about your attachment style. I really like how you put in descriptions as well as a test that we could take on our own. From the descriptions I think I am in mixture secure and anxious which was interesting to me.

    Thanks again!

  • Orion // Apr 4th 2022 at 1:51 pm

    Hi all,

    Thank you for this thought provoking post! Kayla, my roommate has recently gotten me into reality dating shows like Are You the One and The Bachelor. I very much agree that the circumstances in these shows seem difficult to replicate, especially when it comes to the thrilling date activities which could be providing more physical arousal that is easy to interpret as intense attraction. I do wonder if this could be used to IRL partners and suitors advantages as well, though – if it is the case that thrilling situations can facilitate attraction, maybe it makes sense to plan a first date that has some thrilling components to it, like a highly competitive board game or rock climbing session.

    I completely relate to the attachment thing, Gayoung. I agree that it is helpful to be aware of the attachment styles of people closest to us and how they might be interacting. Unfortunately, as I’m sure you know, the awareness doesn’t always prevent those responses from kicking in, but for me it makes it a little bit easier to not act on every impulse that is coming from a place of fear.

  • Nia Fernandes // Apr 4th 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you for sharing your view on being the person rejecting, Twyla! I really relate to this because I think I’m almost risk-averse to a fault. Sometimes I want to say yes but I say no, and I feel like as young girls we are always taught about the importance of saying no that no one really teaches us how to say yes when we are comfortable. The discomfort in saying no as Bohns and DeVincent described is not something talked about enough. Saying no is always applauded in society because of the appeal of avoiding potential harm or confrontation. However, the person doing the rejecting themselves can feel just as awkward and uneasy as the person being rejected. Bohns and Devincent’s research reminds us that the conventional way of thinking of someone being asked out is accompanied by a lot of fear and discomfort that may be overplayed. The suitor-target dating dynamic is ofter misunderstood and does not humanize both the suitor and target enough to acknowledge both players’ potential feelings of uncomfort. I am curious as to what you all think about this and whether rejection really is as “heart-breaking” as we are taught to believe and feel from popular culture from a young age. Maybe, putting ourselves out there is a necessary step in the right direction even when rejection occurs instead of a step back as we often feel during being rejected or doing the rejecting.

  • Jessica Lee // Apr 4th 2022 at 5:25 pm

    Kayla, your blog post gave me a new perspective on reality dating shows. I’ve known of the “shaky bridge” study for a few years now from other psychology classes, but never applied it to a situation like this. I used to consume a lot of reality dating TV, like The Bachelor and Love Island, and would wonder why the participants would sometimes act rashly or dramatically when it comes to “love.” It makes a lot of sense that they might be misattributing other emotions to their relationships, whether that be from epic adventures or just the constant stress of being in the public eye.

    Gayoung, thank you for sharing about different attachment styles and where you lie. I can definitely relate to your experiences in relationships — I also lean towards anxious but am consciously working on moving towards a more secure attachment style. I’ve also found that communication is the most important and a willingness to respect both you and your partner’s needs.

    Twyla, I love what you said about humanizing the people we have feelings for. I, too, and afraid of being rejected, but have also been on the other side feeling uncomfortable doing the rejecting. It is important to remember that rejection can be scary for both parties in order to place less pressure on the act and not overthink it.

  • Maya Dubin // Apr 4th 2022 at 5:48 pm

    Thank you Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla for your perspective on this week’s readings and lecturette. It was awesome to get to read some other reflections outside of my own group’s blog post for this week.

    Kayla –
    I loved your connection with The Bachelor and the two-factor theory of emotion. This gave me a clear understanding of what the two-factor theory of emotion is and why it contributes to romantic connections. I will be sure to never do a crazy stimulus filled adventure on any first date!

    Gayoung –
    I loved all the self-reflection and honesty you brought to this post. I also found it fascinating that it is vital to understand your partner’s perspective when forming and maintaining romantic relationships. This encouraged me to take the attachment quiz myself and I also encouraged my boyfriend and roommates to take it as well. It was so interesting to hear about people’s experiences with the quiz and I think we all enjoyed the opportunity to reflect on our relationships and how it contributes to what we bring to our current romantic relationships.

    Twyla –
    I also wrote my blog post on this particular reading and I found it so interesting how people are not fully in tune with the fact that asking people out in specific ways can make others uncomfortable. I loved this reflection you had – “they are real people who feel awkward and uncomfortable, and besides, you are very possibly not the most uncomfortable person in that situation (not sure if that helps or hurts!)” I really liked how you humanized this experience as I think it is important to go into it with this lens.

  • Kara Xie // Apr 4th 2022 at 6:09 pm

    Super engaging blog post, Kayla, Twyla, Gayoung!

    I love the discussion of shaky bridge and misattribution of arousal and its relation to reality TV shows. We, as a society, love watching people fall in love. In every reality TV show centered around love, it is clear that there are other components that spike arousal. For example, Too Hot to Handle, it is the increased anxiety/arousal from money being deducted from a prize fund if the contestant is caught doing physically intimate things. In The Bachelor, it is an elimination rose ceremony every week or an elaborate date that spikes arousal similarly to the shaky bridge such as sky diving. The thing all these shows have in common is that the arousal is increased, the feelings of emotions are thereby increased (as supported by the literature).

  • Lane // Apr 4th 2022 at 6:13 pm

    Great post! Kayla — your discussion of emotional misattributions definitely rings true in my experience. Most of my relationships started with meeting through an activity or surprise encounter that l would have had positive emotions associated with regardless of who I was on the other end. This made me reflect on the importance of analyzing what attracts you and another person to each other in a relationship. Emotional misattribution can be great as a spark, but if more meaningful things don’t catch fire thereafter then there is little hope. I believe the truest relationship is one where someone is drawn to you based on things that can never be taken away from you — your mind and your essence/character. Looks, wealth, status, etc. will always be at risk of changing due to external factors, thus attraction that is too dependent on these connectors will always be at greater risk.

  • Anthony Nelson // Apr 4th 2022 at 9:13 pm

    Thank you Kayla, Gayoung and Twyla for sharing your experiences in this post. I feel as if this is relevant in all dating shows like you mentioned Love Island, Bachelor, etc. Since I like watching these shows I found this very relevant and interesting. Gayoung, I feel as if your blog post is very insightful and helpful to those who lack relationship experience such as myself. Thank you for your honest and relevant contribution. Twyla, I think your piece in the post is extremely relevant and reassuring to many, and that makes sense that a suitor would overthink and assume that the one they are pursuing does not need them because they are the one looking for them.

  • Jonathan Yuan // Apr 4th 2022 at 9:49 pm

    Thanks Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla for the great blog post!

    Kayla, your points about adrenaline and novelty contributing to the misattribution of emotions to be really insightful. I constantly wonder about how the relationships on shows like the Bachelor maintain themselves after the excitement and glamour is over, so I’d be curious to know if the excitement or adrenaline sustains a long-term relationship in the same way that it does in the short-term.

    Gayoung, I think your point about knowing your needs and wants is really important and valuable. I’m really happy to hear that you’ve taken on your personality and needs in stride and focused on finding partners that can best meet those needs in a relationship! I wonder if these attachment styles also have an impact on other relationships we’ve studied, like friends or even weak ties. Also, I wonder if these needs are specific to a relationship or if they can be satiated, allowing for a variety of kinds of relationships that each contribute to these needs in their own way.

    Twyla, I relate a lot to the fear of rejection you mention. I found that study to be really interesting because it showed such a mismatch. I wonder how individuals who have been in both scenarios or sides of the situation would think about this issue and if that maybe puts this bias into perspective.

    Thanks again for the great post!

  • Lake // Apr 4th 2022 at 11:49 pm

    This was such a great blog post!! I really enjoyed reading y’alls post, thank you!

    Gayoung, I thought it awesome how you brought attachment styles to light in translating to adult romantic relationships. While you are the anxious style, I personally am the secure style and it’s totally true – don’t hesitate to ask for their needs to be met and likewise are willing to meet others’ needs. And totally is it true that understanding your partner’s perspective is absolutely key to maintaining these strong romantic relationships that we all desire.

    Twyla, I laughed at the meme you posted – great choice lol. It totally is hard to say no… at my high school, girls would ask the guys to homecoming. I could not tell you a single guy who said no to a girl, even if they didn’t want to go with her. I think we, as in everyone, need to be comfortable rejecting each other. Obviously it’s a lot easier said than done but I think that confirmation in feelings from getting rejected is essential for both parties.

  • Esther Xiang // Apr 5th 2022 at 12:21 pm

    Loved this post so much! Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla, y’all are amazing! Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

    Gayoung–
    WOW! I resonated with so much of what you wrote! Healing anxious attachment is a challenging journey back to the self. I think it’s so important to think more deeply about attachment styles and how to improve your relationships! I love that you mentioned communicating your needs! With people in your life, it’s good to let them know what practical steps they can take to reassure you and to create a support system of friends and family and professional support so that if your partner can’t meet an emotional need, you don’t feel stranded in distress without support. Anxious attachment makes love feel risky. It’s the feeling that people can and will leave. That people are unreliable and inconsistent. Combined with the feeling that you can’t function without people. This leads to powerful anxiety. It’s so important that we are able to embrace the unknowability of it all and expand into love instead of fear. Knowing that you will always have you and that you are enough!

  • Julia Prior // Apr 5th 2022 at 2:34 pm

    Thank you all for this blog post!

    Kayla – As an avid watcher of The Bachelor who recognizes how unrealistic the show can be but still tunes in for the drama and potential love story, I really appreciate the psychological lens that you used to examine the show. I often attributed the format of the show, the fast-paced nature and being in a closed environment where all one has to focus on is “finding love”, as the rationale behind why contestants form strong feelings. I had not considered how the crazy first or second dates with bungee jumping or zero gravity chambers could make it so that contestants attribute their physical state of heightened adrenaline to greater emotions and feelings.

    Gayoung – I really appreciated you sharing your experience with an anxious attachment style. In my experience with being either anxious or avoidant, I have often found myself trying to deny the type of attachment style I have and not communicating effectively, which tends to backfire. I think it is definitely important to understand and share your attachment style openly so your partner can have a better chance of seeing from your perspective which will ultimately help in maintaining a relationship.

    Twyla – I resonated with your feelings of being far too risk-averse and letting the fear of rejection prevent you from putting yourself in the position of the suitor. The readings tell us that we have an inaccurate understand of the suitor-target dynamics, but from my perspective as someone who struggles saying no, I think I take that into consideration when asking people out. I have only ever been in a suitor position when I am 99.99% confident that the person will not be uncomfortable with the idea of being the target.

  • sofiefella // Apr 5th 2022 at 2:58 pm

    Kayla – I loved your post talking about the shaky bridge study and the two-factor theory of emotion. The whole idea of emotions being the sum of your physical reaction and the cognitive label always makes me think about studies on how exercising as a couple actually enhances relationships. Or how exercising together can actually help initiate relationships too. The whole idea that male participants were more attracted to and were more likely to afterward reach out to a female interviewer if their conversation occurred on the middle of a shaking suspension bridge rather than a stable one because of this theory really reinforces that maybe guys/girls are more likely to be attracted to someone in their gym/sports practice!

  • Tom Aicardi // Apr 12th 2022 at 4:23 pm

    Thank you Kayla, Gayoung, and Twyla for your blog posts! It was very interesting to read all of your contributions. I thought the discussion of the unrealistic nature of dating shows in Kayla’s post was very interesting to hear because people do put a lot of stock into dating shows. I agree that it seems like most people think these shows are very realistic, but in reality they are likely staged. Additionally, these shows typically only display the beginning stages of the relationship, like how the bachelor only shows a few months and not how these relationships progress. While the first part of these relationships may seem glamorous, they are mostly unsuccessful after a few additional months to a year.

  • Mitchell Saron // Apr 20th 2022 at 8:21 pm

    Thanks for the blog post guys!
    I really loved your point regarding dating shows. While I do not watch a lot of dating shows, it is clear that their presence on tv and in the media creates unrealistic dating standards for most individuals. I think it can also damage a relationship if a viewer of the show puts these standards on their own boyfriend or girlfriend. For instance, I think it can convince someone that their own relationship is not ‘up to par’ as they compare their own moments with their significant other to those on dating shows where every moment is perfectly curated by the directors to seem magical. Moreover, I have seen that most of the relationships on shows like “The Bachelor” do not last once the season is over. Furthermore, many of these dates also create environments that emulate the “shaky bridge” experiment. Therefore, these shows are also creating false or forced emotions for many of these couples.

  • Patrick Walsh // May 2nd 2022 at 12:56 pm

    Thank you Kayla, Gayoung and Twyla for your blog posts. I enjoyed reading your posts and liked how you tied together the ideas of dating and meeting new potential partners. Kayla – Your post about the bachelor was definitely something I have not really thought of before. The idea that the producers could almost be fabricating love due to the lavish and expensive dates that they send the contestants on. This makes intuitive sense the more I think about it, however , because it is almost impossible to have a bad time on a very expensive date in a helicopter ride around the city, but a date at a small dinner can easily be boring if the people are not a great fit for each other. This makes me wonder what percentage of contestants on the bachelor actually end up staying together once the show is finished and if the show would be better off sending the contestants on average dates to help them to find true love.

  • Arlo Sims // May 4th 2022 at 5:24 pm

    Kayla, I totally agree about the unrealistic elements of dating reality shows. I’ve watched a fair amount of Love Island and have observed similar things. You mentioned the extravagant dates from The Bachelor, and how increased adrenaline could be confused for romance. I wonder if also just the fact that these people are being filmed and on a popular show increases their general adrenaline and arousal states, which could lead them to feel more romantic somehow, or even pressured to be interested in someone. I wonder if it’s better to go on a first date that doesn’t involve any sort of adrenaline at all? So that the interest in the person is definitely not coming from somewhere else? Although sometimes it is fun to go on a first date to a scary movie because you can really start to like someone fast. I am also curious in relation to this if even the nervousness of going on a date increases a sense of arousal that can add to a sense of romantic interest in someone.

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