Misattribution of arousal is a term in psychology that is used to describe where people mistake what causes them to become aroused. For example, when people are experiencing physiological responses to fear, people may mislabel those are romantic arousal. The reason for the misattribution may be due to the stimuli associated with fear causing similar feelings as arousal does. This may include an increase in blood pressure or shortness of breath.
One of the first studies of this by Schachter and Singer was based on the idea that arousal and the experience around it could be ambiguous and therefore misattributed to the to an incorrect stimulus. This can be found to happen in multiple situations, including romantic situations and physiological responses from exercise.
Misattribution can have a variety of different effects, one of which is perceiving a potential partner as more attractive because of a heightened state of stress. A study conducted by White et al noticed that those in an unrelated aroused state will rate someone higher than without arousal.