Gotcha. Are you thinking about searching for a lost love, going full throttle for your high school or college sweetheart? Or posting on your old friend’s Facebook account? If you are single and unattached, go for it. But if you are married; be forewarned. Your mind is playing tricks on you.
Scientists studied the reactions of participants who were exposed to a situation involving intense physiological arousal while in the presence of a colleague of the opposite sex. What they found may startle you. The feelings that the participants could interpret as fear or anxiety without the presence of the opposite sex, were reported as feelings of lust and sexual attraction while in the presence of the opposite sex. (Lieberman, 2003). When might this happen in an uncontrolled, non-experimental setting?
Real Life Examples
- Working on a tough project, in a hectic pace to meet an impending deadline,
- Navigating a deep bend, jaw dropping steep slope, dangerous curve,
- Resolving a dangerous, hazardous, or potentially life threatening situation (subway disruption, power outage, emergency evacuation), and
- Experiencing the euphoria of winning the league football, basketball tournament.
Research shows that ‘our interpretation of our arousal depends on what we believe caused it.’ According to Harvard psychologist, Daniel Gilbert (2007), it is possible to mistake fear for lust, apprehension for guilt and shame for anxiety. That is not all. There are other tricks that your mind plays. We will continue this article in the coming days.
Lieberman, M.D. (2003) Two Captains, one ship: A social cognitive neuroscience approach to disrupting automatic affective processes. Unpublished manuscript, UCLA.
Gilbert, D. (2007). Stumbling on happiness. New York, Vintage Books, 299 pp.
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