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Love and Relationships Agenda Link to Gender Differences Factors influencing attraction Theories of Love Long term relationships Other issues Links to Gender Differences Studies by Lefkowitz (2002) Link from Gender Differences

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Love and Relationships

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  • Link to Gender Differences
  • Factors influencing attraction
  • Theories of Love
  • Long term relationships
  • Other issues

Links to Gender Differences

Studies by Lefkowitz (2002)


Link from Gender Differences

What women talk about more:Sexual behavior, Sexual feelings, Dating and romantic relationships, “Making out," The dangers of sex, Abstinence, How attractive members of the other sex were, How attractive they themselves were, Date rape and Contraception

What men talk about more:



Link from Gender Differences

So where to the stereotypes come from?


Link from Gender Differences

So where to the stereotypes come from?

How acceptable is it it to sleep with a person if you’ve known them:


Link from Gender Differences

So where to the stereotypes come from?

Men are considerably more likely to misinterpret a female’s friendly behavior as indicating sexual interest (Le Bouef, in press)

Evolution and mate selection (Buss, 1995)


Factors Influencing Attraction

  • Proximity
  • Physical Attractiveness
  • Similarity
  • Reciprocity
  • Conditioning
  • Courtship


Reasons why proximity plays a role in attraction

1) Mere exposure

2) More opportunities to meet, interact

3) People are likely to live near people of similar economic, social backgrounds



Mere exposure (Zajonc, 1966; Moreland & Beach 1992)

Ratings of attraction.



More opportunities to meet, interact:

Homes for elderly, college campuses distance between rooms predicts attraction (Nahemow & Lawton, 1975)

Manipulating dorm assignments (Festinger, 1950)

Random (alphabetized) seating assignments in class (Segal, 1974)



People are likely to live near people of similar economic, social backgrounds:

Wealth, class, ethnicity, and education levels tend to cluster by neighborhood (U.S. Census Bureau, 1990).

People with similar backgrounds are inclined to like each other more (Newcomb, 1956).


Physical Attraction

People like beauty. Halo effects (Hatfield et al, 1986)

More attractive people get lower bail set, (Downs & Lyons, 1991), more easily influence others (Chaiken, 1979), earn more money (Hamermesh & Biddle, 1994).

#1 predictor of date satisfaction for males is the attractiveness of the partner (Sprecher & Duck, 1994)


Physical Attraction

  • Beauty is objective:
  • High level of agreement across cultures (Langlois et al, 2000)
  • Certain features of faces are reliably associated with attractiveness (Cunningham, 1986)
  • Babies prefer attractive faces (Cowley, 1996).

Physical Attraction

  • Beauty is subjective:
  • Different cultures “improve” beauty in different ways (Newman, 2000).
  • Different body types are judged to be more attractive in different parts of the world (Anderson et. al 1992)
  • Body type standards vary over time (Silverstein et al, 1986).

Physical Attraction

  • Things that people agree on:
  • Symmetrical faces are more attractive

Physical Attraction

Things that people agree on:

2) More average faces are more attractive

3) Waist/hip ratio for women is judged similarly across culture. Men prefer waists 1/3 narrower than hips (Singh, 1993)

4) Across culture, women prefer men to have a V-shaped physique (Singh, 1995)


Physical Attraction

Things that people agree on:

5) Women who have large eyes, prominent cheekbones, small bones and a wide smile are judged more attractive (Cunningham, 1986)

6) Men with broad jaws and chiseled features are judged more attractive (Cunningham et al, 1990).


Physical Attraction

  • Situational influences on attraction:
  • Contrast effects (Kenrick et al, 1993)
  • Opinions of same sex peers (for women) (Graziano et al, 1993)
  • Girls all get prettier at closing time effect, (Gladue & Delaney, 1990)
  • Glasses (Terry & Macy, 1991)

Physical Attraction

Good male names: Alexander, Joshua, Mark, Henry, Scott, Taylor.

Good female names: Elizabeth, Mary, Jessica, Ann, Brittany, Isabella

Bad male names: Otis, Roscoe, Norbert, Ogden, Willard, Eugene

Bad female names: Mildred, Frieda, Agatha, Harriet, Rosalyn, Tracy



Schuster & Elderton (1906)

Married couples report significant agreement about politics and religion.

Friends were more similar in attitudes, beliefs, values, and interests.

Correlation does not imply causation.



Demonstrating that similarity is responsible for attraction (Newcomb, 1956)

Gave students free rent in a dorm in exchange for being study participants.

Took measures of attitudes on different topics before students arrived on campus.

Over the course of the year, students with similar attitudes reported more attraction to each other



Proportion of similar attitudes scale (Byrne & Nelson, 1965)

Attraction Ratings



Rosenbaum’s (1986) repulsion hypothesis

Smeaten et. al (1989) proportion hypothesis

After a decade of argument, it appears that the proportion hypothesis is correct.



Matching Hypothesis: We like those who are like ourselves (Galton, 1870).

Romantic pairs are similar in physical attractiveness (Zajonc et al, 1987)

Even college roommates, prefer to be of similar attractiveness (Carlie et al. 1991)

Sense of humor particularly important (Cann et al., 1995)



People like positive feedback (Coleman, Jussim, & Abraham, 1987).

Even obvious attempts at flattery increase liking (Drachman et. al. 1978).

Being liked leads to positive interpersonal behavior (1986).



Over time, people prefer increasing affinity rather than decreasing affinity (Aronson et al, 1965).

This has been referred to as the “couple’s curse”.



Playing hard to get

Very hard to get empirical data supporting this strategy (Walster et al, 1973)

Although people prefer moderately selective mates to those with no selectivity, lack of perceived interest is typically perceived as a turn off (Wright & Contrada, 1986).



Association with positive or negative stimulus influences attractiveness ratings.

Negative mood leads to lower attractiveness ratings (Byrne & Clore, 1970).

Unpleasant background music when meeting a person leads to subsequent lower attractiveness ratings (May & Hamilton, 1980)



  • Opening Lines
  • Female Courtship Rituals
  • Male Courtship Rituals


  • Kleinke et al, 1986;
  • Investigated what people say when trying to meet somebody they don’t know (pick up lines)
  • Typical Answers:
    • “Hi, I’m easy, are you?”
    • “Where are you from”
    • “Hi. I’m a little embarrassed about this, but I’d like to get to know you.


Kleinke et al, 1990; Cunningham, 1989

Looked at the effectiveness of different types of opening lines in laboratory, and then real life settings




Kleinke et al, 1990; Cunningham, 1989


Female Courtship Rituals

  • Women’s flirting behavior Eibl-Eibesfeldt (1989):
  • Smile
  • Lift Eyebrows in fast jerky motion
  • Open their eyes wide
  • Lower their eyelids
  • Tilt heads down and to the side
  • Look away

Female Courtship Rituals

Moore (1985; 1989):

Female courtship behaviors were defined as that specific subset of nonverbal behavior that consistently resulted in male attention

52 items identified

Courtship found to be more important that physical attraction for garnering male interest.


Female Courtship Rituals

Type I, II, III glances, Eyebrow flash, head toss, hair flip, face to face, lipstick application, lip lick, lip pout, smiling, laugh, giggling, kissing, whisper, arm flexion, tapping, palming, gesticulation, hand hold, primp, skirt hike, object caress, caress (hair, leg, buttock, arm, torso, back), lean, brush, breast touch, thigh tough, foot to foot, placement, Lateral body contact, parade, approach, promenade, pinching, tickling.


Male Courtship Rituals

Male courtship rituals:

Submissive displays: Palms up, shoulder shrug, tilt head.

Dominance displays: Entering personal space, putting arm around shoulder, swagger.

Resources displays: Paying for food, drink. Wearing expensive clothes. Bragging.


Male Courtship Rituals

Male rituals harder to chronicle (Taflinger, 1996):

The less ritualized and more original his approach is, the more likely a woman is to accept it

This leads to ad hoc courtship by human males.


Theories of Love

  • Love Styles
  • Triarchic Model of Love
  • Equity Theory

Love Styles

Hendrick & Hendrick (1993):

Had subjects write “personal account or story of a romantic relationship”.

Did a factor analysis on prevalence of different themes/adjectives

Found 6 love styles – romantic partners tend to have similar love styles (Morrow et al, 1995)


Love Styles

  • Eros – Passionate Love
    • Love at first sight
    • 34% of subjects rate ‘high’ on this scale
    • Men typically have higher ratings
    • Sample Question: My lover and I were attracted to each other immediately after we first met.

Love Styles

  • Storge – Friendship Love
    • Very close friendship becomes love
    • 66% of subjects rate ‘high’ on this scale
    • Women typically have higher ratings
    • Sample Question: Love is really a deep friendship, not a mysterious, mystical emotion.

Love Styles

  • Ludus – Game-Playing Love
    • Flirtatious and not committed
    • 2% of subjects rate ‘high’ on this scale
    • Men typically have higher ratings
    • Sample Question: I have sometimes had to keep my two lovers from finding out about each other.

Love Styles

  • Mania – Possessive Love
    • Feeling of ownership over lover
    • 2% of subjects rate ‘high’ on this scale
    • Women typically have higher ratings
    • Sample Question: I cannot relax if I suspect that my lover is with somebody else.

Love Styles

  • Pragma – Logical Love
    • Cognitive appreciation for other’s quality
    • 17% of subjects rate ‘high’ on this scale
    • Women typically have higher ratings
    • Sample Question: It is best to love somebody with a similar background.

Love Styles

  • Agape – Selfless Love
    • Putting one’s lover above one’s self
    • 2% of subjects rate ‘high’ on this scale
    • Highly correlated with religiosity
    • Sample Question: I would rather suffer than let my lover suffer.

Triarchic Model of Love

Three aspects of love (Sternberg, 1986):

Intimacy: Closeness two people feel psychologically, how well partners understand each other.

Passion: The amount of physical/sexual attraction and romance.

Commitment: The cognitive factors such as the decision to maintain the relationship.


Triarchic Model of Love

Intimacy = Liking

I + P = Romantic Love

I + C = Companionate Love

Consummate Love

Passion = Infatuation

Commitment = Empty Love

P + C = Fatuous Love


Equity Theory

  • Homans, 1969; Messick & Cook, 1983
  • Economic model of love
  • Rewards include love, companionship, consolation, sexual gratification, social acceptance
  • Costs include work to maintain relationship, conflict, compromise, sacrifice of other opportunities for relationships

Equity Theory

Your Benefits Partner’s Benefits

Your Contributions Partner’s Contributions

Comparison Level = average expected outcome of the relationship

Comparisons for alternatives = expectation of what could be received in a different relationship

Investment = what must be put into a relationship that can not be recovered if the relationship ends.



Successful Relationships

Terman et al (1935)

Investigated hundreds of couples, and looked at the 100 happiest, 100 least happy (but still married) and 100 divorced couples.

500 item psychological scale


Remaining Agenda

  • Successful Relationships
  • Unsuccessful Relationships
  • Other Things
  • Homework

Successful Relationships

Items on which happy couples were more similar:

1) Avoiding arguments (‘yes dear’)

2) Contributing to charity

3) Reaction to illness

4) Being alone vs. being with friends during stressful times.


Successful Relationships

Attitudes about others on which happy couples were more similar:

1) Energetic People

2) Dentists

3) Conservatives and Liberals

4) Life Insurance


Successful Relationships

Over the long haul, things that happier marriages tend to have:

1) The woman maintains passionate love (Alexander & Higgins, 1993).

2) More joint activities and projects

3) Laughing together

4) Satisfaction with children (if there are kids)


Unsuccessful Relationships

Over the long haul, things that lead to divorce:

1) Infidelity/Jealousy

2) Failure to compromise

3) Failure to express emotions/communicate

4) Dissimilarity emerging over time (or being discovered over time).

5 ) Sexual dissatisfaction


Other Issues

Misattribution of Arousal


Internet Dating

Soul mate vs. Work it out theorists

Breaking up



  • Watch “When Harry Met Sally”
  • Dating for Dummies, Chapters 7 & 8
  • 3) Quiz on what women want
  • 4) The Rules
  • 5) The system
  • 6) Pickup lines
  • 7) Commercials (will email URLs)