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Cognitive and Social Origins of Attraction

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  1. Cognitive and Social Origins of Attraction

  2. Cognitive and Social Origins of Attraction • Open Gross’s sample chapter on Interpersonal Relationships. • Read the bottom of page 434 and all of 435.

  3. According to Byrne (1971), our self-esteem is boosted when other people share our own views and values.

  4. Attraction-similarity model • Morry (2007) • “people tend to see friends and partners as similar to themselves” • People are attracted to those they percieve as being similar to themselves – enhancing the self-esteem of both parties.

  5. Markey et al (2007) • Using questionnaires, young people were asked to describe themselves and an ideal romantic partner. • Findings: • People want partners who are similar to themselves.

  6. The role of self-esteem in relationship formation • Kiesler and Baral (1970) • Aim: To determine whether self-esteem affects men’s willingness to engage in conversation with an attractive woman. • What kind of experiment might they have used?

  7. The role of self-esteem in relationship formation • Kiesler and Baral (1970) • Aim: To determine whether self-esteem affects men’s willingness to engage in conversation with an attractive woman. • What kind of experiment might they have used? • Read page 277 to find out.

  8. Reward/need Satisfaction Theory (Clore & Byrne, 1974): the why… Theory in a nutshell: “We are attracted to individuals whose presence is rewarding for us” Research has shown that the following have reward value: Proximity – Physical closeness we are social animals and need to be with others (affiliation) Exposure and Familiarity – Proximity increases possibility of interaction (exposure) which leads to familiarity. We like familiar things and find them rewarding. Similarity- “Birds of a feather flock together” This is rewarding as people who think like us make us feel more confident of our own opinions which boosts our self esteem. We also think that people like us will like us, so we like them. This is called: Reciprocal Liking – “I like you because you like me!” If you know someone likes you it makes you feel good and so is rewarding. Physical AttractivenessAccording to the attractiveness stereotype (Dion et al 1972) we think attractive looking people have more attractive personalities , and we are rewarded with kudos of being with an attractive person So where is the evidence for all this?

  9. Reciprocity: Liking Others Who Like Us • Reciprocity: We like people who like us • An enormously powerful effect • How to win friends and influence people (Dale Carnegie, 1937) • Sold 15 million copies • If you want others to like you, make sure they know you like them!

  10. Reciprocity: Liking Others Who Like Us • Procedure • Female pairs met several times to discuss topics • P overheard follow-up conversation btw her partner and experimenter • ¼ constantly positive comments about her • ¼ constantly negative comments about her • ¼ negative to positive comments about her (gain) • ¼ positive to negative comments about her (loss) • Results: P liked partner when evaluation changed from negative to positive (gain)

  11. Proximity: Liking People who are Nearby • The single best predictor of attraction • Where we live & work influences the friends we make. “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, love the one you’re with.”

  12. Proximity: Liking People who are NearbyEvidence: Westgate West: Housing at MIT ~1949 (Festinger, 1950) “Contrary to popular belief, I do not believe that friends are necessarily the people you like best; they are merely the people who got there first.” (Sir Peter Ustinov, 1977) • Close friends: • Next door neighbours: 41% • Two doors down: 22% • Opposite ends of hallway: 10%

  13. Festinger 1950 • Leon Festinger’s study was conducted in 1950 though, before the digital age. • People are not so reliant today on geographic proximity for making friends and relationships.

  14. Why does Proximity Work? • Availability: • More likely to meet, so more likely to form a relationship. • Mere exposure • The more often people are exposed to an object, the more positively they evaluate that object: Humans like familiar things, they make us feel safe and happy – which is rewarding.

  15. Exposure/Familiarity Research Evidence(Moreland & Beach, 1992) • Procedure • Four women and a classroom • 4 women attended class • 1 women 0 times • 1 woman 5 classes • 1 woman 10 classes • 1 woman 15 classes • Students rate women on traits at end of semester • Results The more classes the woman attended, the more favorable her ratings became.

  16. Physical Attractiveness • According to the attractiveness stereotype (Dion et all 1972) we perceive attractive people as also having more attractive personalities. (The halo effect)

  17. Physical Attractiveness Research Evidence: • “What’s beautiful is good” (Dion et al., 1972) • Teachers judge attractive students as more intelligent than unattractive students (Clifford & Walster, 1973), • Adults, and nurses in pediatric wards, punish unattractive children more harshly than attractive children (Dion, 1974) • Texas judges set lower bail and smaller fines for attractive suspects (Downs & Lyons, 1991) • Attractive people make more money (Hamermesh & Biddle, 1994) and get better job ratings from bosses (Hosoda et al., 2003) • Parents spend more time looking at attractive babies!!!

  18. Physical Attractiveness: Further support • Physical attractiveness is a powerful predictor of being liked. “Beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of introduction” (Aristotle) • The computer dance study (1966) • Incoming college freshmen randomly paired for a dance • The most important predictor of desire to date the person afterwards was physical attractiveness (for men and women) • To be with someone who is attractive is rewarding for the pleasure of looking at them and the kudos it gives you with your friends and competitors.

  19. Similarity: Liking People Who Are Just Like Us Birds of a feather flock together Opposites attract

  20. Procedure Pairs selected based on attitudes ½ similar attitudes ½ dissimilar attitudes Pairs went on a date Results Highly similar pairs were more attracted to each other than dissimilar pairs Similarity: Liking People Who Are Just Like Us Birds of a feather flock together

  21. Similarity: Liking People Who Are Just Like Us • The matching hypothesis: • People tend to date and marry others of similar attractiveness • Why does it happen? • People want to date attractive people, but rejection hurts • Possibility of rejection makes people more realistic • Most attractive people pair off and are “off the market” People seek the best but settle for what they can get!

  22. Famous Couples – How well do they match?Rate them out of 10 for ‘matchability’

  23. 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) • However, women who marry less attractive men are shown to rate their marriage as more satisfying.