Imprecise emotions allow to trick your sweetheart

A recent study [1] discussed on this blog page found a relationship between awe inspiring experiences and decision making. That is not absolute new, however. A similar study in the seventies similarly found an association between sexual desire and feelings of anxiety [2]. On a bridge, probably not as much anxiety arousing as this one in the picture, but height enough to feel uncomfortable, men were interviewed by an attractive women following a typical psychological questionnaire. At the end of the interview the women gave her telephone number to the male test person. Significantly more callbacks were counted from those who were asked at the height bridge compared to an ordinary bridge. Obviously the anxiety emotion, the raised heart beat for instance, caused by the bridge was interpreted as sexual attractiveness and some of the men felt it worthwhile to re-experience that emotion.

 That is good news for all those who want someone to fall in love. Simply choose a bridge or something else awe inspiring enough to arouse your sweetheart’s emotions, put on a lovely smile, and your sweetheart is likely to believe he or she is in love with you. I recall that Niagara Falls are a preferred honeymoon destination. Probably for the same reason.

 The question is what all this has to do with fauceir theory. The answer: it is a typical example of imprecision. Emotions are psychological fauceirs that are slaves to our rationality fauceirs. As such, they are likely to do things that are from the outset adapted to the most common situations of our animal or primeval ancestors, that we would not always sanction rationally.

 Most exciting to me however was the following quote from the blog mentioned above.

 … it seems to me that atheists have a great appetite for awe-inspiring stories – in particular, stories about great scientific and engineering feats. Could this in part be a facet of life that in other circumstances could be filled by religion?

 That is sheer fauceirology. Of course, atheism is some kind of religion. Of course, it has to fill the same emotional gaps as any other religion; if not all atheists would become distressed. In some people atheism ensues more rational thinking. In those I would agree that atheism is more evolutionary advanced (in its fauceirological sense). Some atheists however seek refuge in demonism which cannot be considered as a higher level of evolution.


Rudd, M., Vohs, K. D. & Aaker, J. Awe Expands People’s Perception of Time, Alters Decision Making, and Enhances Well-Being. Psychol Sci (2012).doi:10.1177/0956797612438731


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

Creative Commons License

This work by Paul Netman is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

Fauceir theory is developed and © by Mato Nagel and available at


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