Some factors leading to initial attraction
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Some factors leading to initial attraction. Proximity (more likely to form relationships with those who live near us, or that we interact with on a regular basis) Similarity (attitudinally, demographically) Emotional arousal Physical attractiveness (best predictor of desire to date)

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Some factors leading to initial attraction

  • Proximity (more likely to form relationships with those who live near us, or that we interact with on a regular basis)

  • Similarity (attitudinally, demographically)

  • Emotional arousal

  • Physical attractiveness (best predictor of desire to date)

    • Benefits of attractiveness include: better character traits, income, performance evaluations, treatment by the legal system, mental health

    • Matching issue (on average, people end up with others who are similar in physical attractiveness)


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“Bridge” Study

Misattribution of Emotional Arousal

Anxiety, when paired with an attractive person (cue), can lead to the labeling of one’s emotional state as sexual attraction.


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Attitude Similarity and Attraction

How does attitude similarity affect attraction?

Byrne and Nelson (1965) asked subjects to rate how much they liked a stranger

after learning he agreed with varying proportions of their attitudes expressed

on a questionnaire. (Higher numbers indicate greater liking.)

13.00

12.00

11.00

10.00

9.00

8.00

7.00

6.00

Attraction

Toward

Other person

.00 .20 .40 .60 .80 1.00

As the graph shows, the greater the proportion of attitudes subjects shared with

the stranger, the more subjects liked or were attracted to the stranger.


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Why Similarity is Attractive

  • Social validation – (similar others will support our beliefs)

  • Cognitive Consistency --- (e.g., we like ourselves, and we like someone who is similar to us)

  • Predict, anticipate the desires of others (e.g., their preferences regarding what do on a date)

  • They will probably like us back (cost/benefit assessment)


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Repulsion Hypothesis of Attraction

  • Premise ---

  • Similarity does not add significantly to attraction

  • Differences are disliked; people who are different are avoided

Similar Other

Neutral reaction

Our Own Attitude

Dissimilar Other

Negative reaction

Consistent with other theories (e.g., equity theory, balance theory, congruity theory, dissonance theory). When things are “off” we are motivated to restore equilibrium.


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Misattribution of Friendly Behavior

  • Males and females engaged in a 10 minutes conversation about school-related topics

  • Overall, males saw the interaction as sexual in nature

    • Male participants and male observers viewed the female as promiscuous

    • Male participants viewed themselves as flirtatious and seductive

    • Male observers viewed the male participant as flirtatious, seductive, and being attracted to the female


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Equity Theory

  • Inputs (Costs -- e.g., time, effort)

  • Outputs (Rewards – e.g., security, respect, sexual fulfillment)

  • Comparison Other (s) -- Compare inputs/outputs to:

  • Other people

  • Oneself in the past

  • An idealized image

  • Comparison Level for Alternatives


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The Life Cycle of a Relationship

Levinger (1980, 1983) describes five stages in the life cycle of relationships.

As the relationship moves through the stages, it is affected by different

variables and characterized by different degrees and kinds emotions.

Continuation/

consolidation

Relationship

continues

Buildup

Deterioration

and decline

Attraction

Ending

Triggering factors:

Proximity

Similarity

Erotic love

Etc.

Important

variables

influencing

attraction

Social-exchange and equity:

Communication

Self-disclosure

Communal concern

External supports

Social-exchange and

Equity/inequity:

Relative attractiveness

Of alternatives

Barriers to dissolution

High:

Heady feeling

of romantic love

Low:

Relationship in

stable state

High:

Upset of deterioration

And trauma of disruption

Emotion


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Recent Relationship Research --- Key Points

  • One’s thoughts about social interactions

    • Discovering similarities and differences (naturally)

    • Searching out others and detecting information

    • Evaluation of the process (good/bad)

    • Strategies, plans

    • Future projections

  • Timing and sequencing of events and information

  • Narratives (e.g., stories) about relationship interactions

    • Who is told?, When are stories told?, What is told?

  • Different accounts of actual events (rich source of information)


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