Close relationships and interpersonal attraction
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Close Relationships and Interpersonal Attraction. History in Social Psychology. relatively new -- last 30 years or so interested in studying individuals many thought it was non-scholarly work “Golden Fleece of the Year Award” theories shown to be useful in therapy.

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History in social psychology l.jpg
History in Social Psychology

  • relatively new -- last 30 years or so

  • interested in studying individuals

  • many thought it was non-scholarly work

    • “Golden Fleece of the Year Award”

  • theories shown to be useful in therapy


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What Defines a Close Relationship?

  • different types

    • friends

    • romantic partners

    • parents

    • children

    • siblings


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What Defines a Close Relationship?

  • behavioral interdependence

    • the actions of two people have mutual impact on each other


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What Defines a Close Relationship?

  • need fulfillment

    • the relationship must meet some basic needs

      • emotional intimacy

      • social integration (need for affiliation)

      • assistance

      • to be nurturing

      • reassurance of our self-worth


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What Defines a Close Relationship?

  • emotional attachment

    • must be mutual feelings of love, affection, and/or admiration


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What Defines a Close Relationship?

  • dimensions of variance

    • intensity

    • commitment

    • emotion

    • sexuality

    • gender


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • reward theory

    • we like those whose behavior is rewarding or who are associated with rewarding situations


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • exposure

    • the more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more positively we evaluate it

      • infants smiled more at repeatedly exposed faces (Brooks-Gunn & Lewis, 1981)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • exposure

    • 4 different female research assistants

    • 3 came to class (5, 10, or 15 times)

    • students shown photos and asked to rate RAs

      • intelligence, attractiveness, spend time, work together

    • the more she came to class, the more she was liked

(Moreland & Beach, 1992)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • exposure

    • mere exposure effect

      • repeated exposure to a stimulus produces familiarity, and familiarity breeds liking and attraction

      • pleasant or unpleasant circumstances?

      • too much exposure?


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • proximity

    • simple physical proximity can lead to liking


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • proximity

    • friendships of couples in student housing at MIT

    • 65% of friends lived in the same building

      • 44% next door, 22% two doors apart, 10% on opposite ends of the hall

(Festinger, Schachter, & Back, 1950)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • proximity

    • friendships of couples in student housing at MIT

    • 65% of friends lived in the same building

    • near stairwells on 1st floor reported more 2nd floor friends that other 1st floor residents

    • proximity was best predictor of friendship

(Festinger, Schachter, & Back, 1950)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • proximity

    • asked school children who their friends were

    • more likely friends with others whose last name is close to theirs in the alphabet

    • Why?

(Byrne & Buehler, 1955)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • proximity

    • asked school children who their friends were

    • more likely friends with others whose last name is close to theirs in the alphabet

    • often children who sat nearby (alphabetically)

(Byrne & Buehler, 1955)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • proximity

    • if interactions are negative, then proximity will breed disliking

    • condominium residents

      • 62% of friends lived in same building cluster

      • 70% of disliked others lived in the same cluster


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • attitude similarity

    • more attracted to people who hold similar attitudes to our own than dissimilar others

      • e.g., 400 families -- husbands and wives agree on many issues (Schuster & Elderton, 1906)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • attitude similarity

    • study of students in the dorms

    • IV: paired students based on attitude similarity

    • DV: Who were friends at the end of the year?

    • more likely to be friends with attitudinally similar others

(Newcomb, 1961)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • attitude similarity

    • balance theory: we’re motivated to keep balance in our constellation of relationships (Heider, 1957)

      • negative outcome = out of balance

      • positive outcome = relationship in balance


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • attitude similarity

    • interact with grad student experimenter

    • IV: experimenter polite or rude

    • then saw experimenter interact with supervisor

    • IV: supervisor was nice or critical

    • DV: how many helped supervisor on unrelated task

(Aronson & Cope, 1968)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • attitude similarity

    • participants most likely to help:

      • treated well and saw supervisor treat grad student well

      • treated rudely and saw supervisor criticize grad student

    • We like friends of our friends and our enemy’s enemy.

(Aronson & Cope, 1968)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • physical attractiveness

    • randomly matched 752 incoming students for blind dates to a dance at the U of M

    • students’ rated partner’s physical attractiveness and desire to see their date again

    • only physical attractiveness predicted the desire to date again (intelligence, sincerity, sensitivity)

(Hatfield et al., 1966)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • physical attractiveness

    • CW: only important for men

    • men are more willing to admit it is important


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • physical attractiveness

    • simple aesthetic appeal

    • what-is-beautiful-good-stereotype

      • rewarding

      • could be self-fulfilling prophecy (Hatfield & Sprecher, 1986)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • Is beauty in the “eye of the beholder”?

    • matching hypothesis

      • people tend to chose partners who are similar to them in physical attractiveness (i.e., a “good match”)

      • same-sex friendships, dating couples, cohabitants, married couples


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • Is beauty in the “eye of the beholder”?


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • Is beauty in the “eye of the beholder”?

    • matching hypothesis

      • people tend to chose partners who are similar to them in physical attractiveness (i.e., a “good match”)

      • same-sex friendships, dating couples, cohabitants, married couples

      • people who don’t match on physical attractiveness may be trading other assets


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • Is beauty in the “eye of the beholder”?


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • evolutionary perspective

    • we behave in ways that further the existence of our offspring

    • for women, reproduction is more physically and time demanding

    • for men, reproduction is much less constraining

      • leads to different types of mate preferences


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • evolutionary perspective

    • examined men’s and women’s feelings of jealousy when victims of sexual or emotional infidelity

    • men more upset by sexual infidelity and women by emotional infidelity

(Buss et al., 1992)


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How Do People Become Attracted?

  • evolutionary perspective

    • problems:

      • difficult to tease apart emotional and sexual infidelity

      • may be responding to normative beliefs -- issue of socialization


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Types of Love

  • What is love?

liking

love


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Types of Love

  • What is love?

liking

love


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Types of Love

  • companionate love

    • feelings of mutual respect and trust

    • less emotionally volatile

    • often found in good friendships


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Types of Love

  • passionate love

    • intense longing for the person

    • physiological arousal

    • much more emotionally volatile


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Types of Love

  • Sternberg’s Tripartite Theory of Love

    • passion: motivational component

    • intimacy: emotional component

    • commitment: cognitive component


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Types of Love

  • Sternberg’s Tripartite Theory of Love

I

P

nonlove

C


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Types of Love

  • Sternberg’s Tripartite Theory of Love

I

P

liking

C


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Types of Love

  • Sternberg’s Tripartite Theory of Love

I

P

infatuation

C


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Types of Love

  • Sternberg’s Tripartite Theory of Love

I

P

empty love

C


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Types of Love

  • Sternberg’s Tripartite Theory of Love

I

P

romantic love

C


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Types of Love

  • Sternberg’s Tripartite Theory of Love

I

P

fatuous love

C


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Types of Love

  • Sternberg’s Tripartite Theory of Love

I

P

companionate love

C


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Types of Love

  • Sternberg’s Tripartite Theory of Love

I

P

consummate love

C


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Types of Love

  • Henrick & Henrick’s “wheel of love”

Eros -- emotionally intense physical attraction


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Types of Love

  • Henrick & Henrick’s “wheel of love”

Eros -- emotionally intense physical attraction

Ludus -- selfish love; practiced as a game


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Types of Love

  • Henrick & Henrick’s “wheel of love”

Eros -- emotionally intense physical attraction

Ludus -- selfish love; practiced as a game

Storge -- friendship love


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Types of Love

  • Henrick & Henrick’s “wheel of love”

Eros -- emotionally intense physical attraction

Ludus -- selfish love; practiced as a game

Mania -- possessive love; love is painful

Storge -- friendship love


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Types of Love

  • Henrick & Henrick’s “wheel of love”

Eros -- emotionally intense physical attraction

Ludus -- selfish love; practiced as a game

Pragma -- practical love

Mania -- possessive love; love is painful

Storge -- friendship love


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Types of Love

  • Henrick & Henrick’s “wheel of love”

Eros -- emotionally intense physical attraction

Agape -- selfless, sacrificing love

Ludus -- selfish love; practiced as a game

Pragma -- practical love

Mania -- possessive love; love is painful

Storge -- friendship love


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Long Term Relationships

  • stage theory (SVR)

    • stimulus: physical attractiveness

    • value: similarity of values and beliefs

    • role: fulfillment of roles and commitment


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Long Term Relationships

  • social exchange theory

    • maximize benefits and minimize costs

      • comparison level (CL)

      • comparison level for alternatives (CLalt)

      • outcomes (O)


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Long Term Relationships

  • social exchange theory

O

CL, CLalt

happy relationship

rewards


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Long Term Relationships

  • social exchange theory

CLalt

O

CL

less stable but not unpleasant

rewards


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Long Term Relationships

  • social exchange theory

CL

O

CLalt

unpleasant, dependent relationship

rewards


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Long Term Relationships

  • social exchange theory

CL, Clalt

O

unstable, unpleasant relationship

rewards


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Long Term Relationships

  • investment model of relationships

    • investments -- things expended on the relationships that cannot be recouped

    • the more investment, the more stable


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Long Term Relationships

  • investment model of relationships

Rewards

Costs Satisfaction Stability

CL Investments Commitment to the Willingness to

relationship accommodate

CLalt Willingness to

sacrifice

(adapted from Rusbult, 1983)


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Long Term Relationships

  • investment model of relationships

    • investments were as important as satisfaction in predicting relationship commitment


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Conclusion

  • many types of close relationships that vary along many dimensions

  • interpersonal attraction is multi-faceted, but physical attractiveness plays an important role

  • love can vary in type and among different relationships

  • relationship satisfaction and investment are critical to relationships stability


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