Interpersonal attraction
1 / 55

Interpersonal Attraction - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

  • Updated On :
  • Presentation posted in: General

Interpersonal Attraction. Soundtrack “Love Shack” B-52’s. Why do people form relationships with others?. People are social animals who have a basic “need to belong” Newborns are responsive to human faces Infants engage in social smiling

I am the owner, or an agent authorized to act on behalf of the owner, of the copyrighted work described.

Download Presentation

Interpersonal Attraction

An Image/Link below is provided (as is) to download presentation

Download Policy: Content on the Website is provided to you AS IS for your information and personal use and may not be sold / licensed / shared on other websites without getting consent from its author.While downloading, if for some reason you are not able to download a presentation, the publisher may have deleted the file from their server.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - E N D - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Presentation Transcript

Interpersonal Attraction

  • Soundtrack

    “Love Shack” B-52’s

Why do people form relationships with others?

  • People are social animals who have a basic “need to belong”

  • Newborns are responsive to human faces

  • Infants engage in social smiling

  • Having close social ties is associated with being happier & more satisfied, and not having them with loneliness, depression, worse physical health, and earlier death.

Why are people initially attracted to each other?

  • Exercise:


  • PROXIMITY/propinquity (or geographical closeness) is one of the most powerful predictors of whether two people will become friends.


  • Segal (1974)

  • Police trainees: Proximity was a better predictor of friendship formation than was similarity (e.g., in religion, hobbies, age, marital status, or organizational memberships).

  • Trainees sitting next to each other in class more likely to become friends


  • Festinger, Schachter, & Back, 1950

  • Proximity and friendship in married student housing. Person most often named as a friend lived next door.

Why would physical proximity increase the chances that we will like someone?

  • More interaction: Paths cross, learn about similarities, feel liked by other person, etc.

  • Familiarity: General principle (humans, other animals)

Mere exposure effect (Zajonc)

  • Mere exposure: The tendency for novel stimuli to be liked more or rated more positively after one has been repeatedly exposed to them.

  • Novel stimuli (e.g., Turkish words, Chinese characters, men’s faces)

  • Iv=number of exposures

  • DV=liking

  • Results: Preferred stimuli had seen____________.

Mere exposure studies (Zajonc & colleagues)

  • Women wore headphones and, in one ear, heard a prose passage and repeated the words outloud, checking for errors. In the second ear, they “heard” novel melodies played so softly they were not aware that they had heard them.

  • IV: Melodies “heard” below awareness (i.e., subliminally) versus melodies never heard.

  • DVs:

    • Recognition of melodies (Have you ever heard this melody before? Yes or No?)

    • Liking for melodies (Do you like this melody? Yes or No?)

  • Results: Recognition ___________chance. But, _________ liking for the melodies that they had previously “heard.”

Mere exposure and awareness

  • Mere exposure effect occurs even when people are NOT aware that they have been exposed to the stimulus.

Mere exposure and attraction

  • How might “mere exposure” work in a context relevant to attraction?

Proximity leads to liking

  • Moreland & Beach, 1992

  • IV: Four female confederates attended large class 0, 5, 10, or 15 times

  • DV: How much liked slides of confederate at end of semester

  • Results: The _________times confederate attended the class, the _____ she was liked.

Proximity leads to liking

Familiarity leads to liking

  • Familiarity breeds liking.

    • But, most studies used neutral or positive stimuli.

    • (Does familiarity ever breed contempt?)

Physical attractiveness

  • We are biased to prefer physically attractive people.

Physical attractiveness

  • Bias to like children who are attractive

  • Dion (1972)

  • IV: mild vs. severe misbehavior

  • IV: attractive or unattractive photo of child

  • DV: Rate typicality of behavior

  • Results: Severe misbehavior rated more typical when performed by an ___________child than an __________child.

Physical attractiveness is associated with liking.

  • Hatfield et al. (1966)

  • Couples randomly paired at “computer dance”

  • Assessed personality, aptitude, physical attractiveness

  • Results: Only physical attractiveness predicted liking and wanting to see the person again. (True for men and women.)

What is attractive or beautiful?

  • Is it an objective measureable quality, or is it more in the “eye of the beholder”?

  • Brief video clip

Is attractiveness objective?

  • Arguments for Objective Standard

  • High consensus across countries, race/ethnicities

    • Agree on attractiveness of faces and body types (F: hourglass; M: v-shaped)

Objective standards?

  • Particular features are associated with attractiveness

    • F: large eyes, prominent cheekbones, small nose, wide smile

    • M: broad jaw, large eyes, prominent cheekbones, wide smile

Objective standards?

  • Babies look longer at faces rated as attractive by adults. (less likely to be affected by cultural standards)

Is attractiveness subjective?

  • Arguments for Subjective Standard

  • Cross-cultural differences in ways to look beautiful

    • Face painting, plastic surgery, scarring, piercings, etc.

    • Variations in preference for female body size


  • Standards of beauty within a culture change over time

    • Marilyn Monroe versus Gwenyth Paltrow


  • When we like people, we see them as more attractive.

Attractiveness Standards

  • Probably both universal and variable components of attractiveness

  • Overall, physical attractiveness predicts more positive evaluations (true in childhood and later in life)

Why are physically attractive people liked more?

  • Aesthetic appeal. People and objects may be more rewarding when their appearance is pleasing.

Why are physically attractive people liked more?

  • What is Beautiful is Good stereotype: The belief that physically attractive individuals possess other desirable characteristics (e.g., more sociable, outgoing, happier, assertive)

    • Fairy tales (Cinderella=beautiful; step-sisters = ugly, fat; Snow White)

    • Media (counterexample: Shrek)

Physical attractiveness and self-fulfilling prophecy

  • Self-fulfilling prophecy: If we expect that a person has positive qualities, then we may act more favorably toward that person and, as a consequence, bring out positive qualities.

Self-fulfilling prophecy

  • (Snyder, Tanke & Berscheid, 1977)

  • Men received “background” information about a woman they were about to talk with on a phone, info included a photo. Women received same info, but no photo.

  • IV: Photo of woman either attractive or unattractive

  • DVs: 1) Men’s expectations about the woman 2) Observers’ ratings of the woman’s behavior

  • Results: When men expected that the woman was______________, she was judged as _______, more ________, and more _______ than when men believed they were talking with an _________ woman. (self-fulfilling prophecy)

It’s true for women too

  • Andersen and Bem (1981) replication

    • Women who saw photo of an attractive or unattractive man created a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Why are physically attractive people liked more?

  • Attractive people develop better social skills.

    • Gender

      • Physically attractive men > socially skilled (confident, assertive).

      • Physically attractive women < socially skilled.

    • Beauty may make it harder to avoid sex role stereotype.

Why are attractive people liked more?

  • Social profit: People may be attracted to those perceived as physically attractive because they believe that some of the glory may rub off on them.

    • True with some qualifications

Social profit

  • Assimilation effects occur when:

    • Both men & women are paired w/an attractive same-sex partner and appear at the same time.

    • Men are paired with an attractive female partner and appear at the same time.

No social profit

  • Contrast effects occur when the attractive person appears before the less attractive person.


  • If you go to a party with a very attractive friend, be sure to walk into the party at the same time!

Four reasons prefer attractive people (summary)

  • Aesthetic appeal

  • What is beautiful is good

  • Better social skills

  • Social profit

  • No single factor; Probably all contribute

When is attractiveness important?

  • Attractiveness is important in first impressions.

    • Attractiveness and grooming predict first impressions in job interviews (Cash & Janda, 1984;Mack & Rainey, 1990; Marvelle & Green, 1980).

  • May become less important as we become more acquainted with the other person.

Downsides to attractiveness

  • Unwanted sexual advances

  • Resentment, jealousy from others

  • Unsure why people like you (for looks or inner qualities)

Consequences for physically attractive people…may not always trust praise

  • Major et al. (1984): Ps wrote an essay that they believed would be judged by another subject of the opposite sex.

  • Quasi-IV: Men and women who perceived themselves as either very physically attractive or unattractive.

  • IV 2: Told evaluator would watch thru one-way mirror while s/he wrote essay or that evaluator could not see them.

  • All were given an identical highly positive evaluation of their work

  • Results: Unattractive Ps felt _______about the quality of their work when they thought the evaluator could _____ them; attractive subjects felt better when thought evaluator could _________them.

What does attractiveness predict?

  • Physical attractiveness of college students does not predict adjustment or well-being in middle age.

  • More attractive, more likely to marry, but not more satisfied w/marriage and not happier w/life in general.


  • Proximity increases the chances that we’ll meet someone.

  • Familiarity helps us feel at ease.

  • Beauty may increase the chances of a first encounter and provide aesthetic rewards.

  • What determines whether people actually develop a longer relationship?

Do birds of a feather flock together, or do opposites attract?

  • Similarity is the rule.

  • Newcomb (1961): Unacquainted male transfer students. After 13 wks of living together in a boardinghouse, those whose agreement in backgrounds was initially highest were most likely to have formed close friendships.


  • Griffitt & Veitch (1974) confined 13 unacquainted volunteers (men) in a fallout shelter. By knowing the men’s opinions on different issues, the researchers were able to predict significantly better than chance which people each man would most like and most dislike.


  • Sprecher & Duck (1994) paired 83 student couples on blind get-acquainted dates. The 16% who saw each other for a second date were more similar to each other than those who did not see each other a second time.

Matching in physical attractiveness

  • People tend to pair with partners who are about as physically attractive as they are.

  • Predicts success of relationship (more similar in attractiveness, more likely to stay together)

Do opposites attract?

  • No, not in general.

    • Lots of research, almost no support.

  • What factors might lead people to fall in love?

    • All those we’ve mentioned and more.

Two kinds of romantic love:

  • Passionate love (state of high arousal, being in love is ectasy)

  • Companionate love, which is a more stable longer-term love, based on feelings of intimacy and affection.

Passionate love

  • What leads to passionate love?

    • Culture must believe in idea of “romantic love.”

Passionate love

  • Must come into contact with someone who is an appropriate love object.

    • Role of chance

Love at first sight

  • Video clip

Passionate love

  • Given a chance encounter, what increases the probability that you will fall in love?

    • Role of arousal

Passionate love

  • Two factor theory of passionate love (Hatfield & Berscheid)

    • First, person must experience a general state of arousal

    • Second, person must attribute this arousal to the potential partner

Passionate love

  • Excitation transfer: the process whereby arousal caused by one stimulus (e.g., an anxiety provoking situation) is added to the arousal from a second stimulus (e.g., an attractive potential partner) and the combined arousal is attributed to the second stimulus (e.g., the potential partner)

Excitation transfer?

Dutton & Aron (1974)

  • Quasi-IV: Walked across a scary suspension bridge (high arousal) or a more standard bridge (low arousal)

  • DV: Later calls or does not call the attractive female E

  • Results: Men who had crossed the scary bridge were ____________to call the attractive female E than those who had crossed the standard bridge.

  • Can you think of any alternative interpretations?

  • Login