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Science Tip of the Week: Hiking & Dating is a Dangerously Good Combination

As far as first dates go, it may be tempting to go for the safe dinner and a movie option. Boring! If you really want to impress your partner and make them see you as more attractive, psychology suggests that you try a more ~unconventional~ approach. 

In research started by Dutton and Aron (1974) and followed up by many more social scientists such as Lewandowski (2004), participating in high, physically arousing activities with someone you just met can make them perceive you as more attractive.  The explanation set forth for this is a misattribution of arousal—based on Schachter’s theory of emotion.  The basis of this theory is that the body is physiologically aroused in a situation, and then the individual tries to subconsciously label this feeling.  In a situation where the source of the arousal is ambiguous, the individual may misattribute it something else.  

In english: if someone is physiologically aroused while rock-climbing on their first date, they may misattribute this rush of arousal as attraction for their partner. That being said—it may seem like planning physiologically arousing activities for your first date with someone would be the most attractive choice. Go to a theme park with thrilling roller coasters, mountain bike through some tough terrain, or go to the Colgate Boathouse and rent kayaks once the weather gets warmer!

And if all else fails…

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