The Love Bridge

Capilano Canyon Susension Bridge

Here’s another cool psychology experiment I read about in “Sway” by Ori and Rom Brafman:

The Love Bridge:

Capilano Canyon (near Vancouver, Canada) can be crossed on a rope suspension bridge (built in 1889) which spans 450 feet at 230 feet above the surface of the ground. There is also a solid wood bridge 10 feet off the ground further down the canyon.

The suspension bridge sways underneath your feet when strong winds blow through, but unsuspecting hikers were also swayed by it’s power.

For the experiment, a female research assistant was told to approach men (one at a time) between the ages of 18-35 as they stepped off the end of each bridge. She was supposed to follow a scripted story with each man. She was to tell them that she was a psychology student conducting a study on the affects of exposure to scenic attractions on creative expression. She would then ask each man to fill out a short survey. When he finished, she would offer to tell him about the study later when they had a bit more time. She was then instructed to tear off a corner of the survey paper, write down her name/phone number and hand it to them. Most of the men happily accepted the number and hiked on down the trail.

The team also sent a male student with the same instructions. Not surprisingly, he was repeatedly turned down and many men wouldn’t even fill out the survey. Over the following few days, there were only 3 curious hikers who called him up. The female student received many calls.

Now here’s the interesting part. Of the 16 men who crossed the small wooden secure bridge, only 2 called her. However, half of the 18 men who crossed the suspension bridge called.

Hmm. . . now what made the difference? Most likely, the feelings which developed during the rope bridge crossing affected their perceptions of her. Their heightened anxiety/adrenaline simulated the same sort of feelings that you get when you have a crush. Their emotional state impacted their decisions and their perceptions. She represented the safety and security they needed as she greeted them on solid ground. For the men on the other bridge, well. . .they didn’t have the same needs/emotions.

Emotions Matter. When you’ve got to make an important decision. Make it at a wise time. Don’t make big decisions right after periods of heightened anxiety or adrenaline.

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