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Interpersonal Attraction. Interpersonal Attraction. 75% of waking hours spent with others (Larson et al., 1983) replicated cross-culturally (Larson & Verma, 1999) Would we find the same result in America today?. Infant Attachment. Infant Attachment

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Interpersonal Attraction

  • 75% of waking hours spent with others (Larson et al., 1983)

    • replicated cross-culturally (Larson & Verma, 1999)

  • Would we find the same result in America today?

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Infant Attachment

  • Infant Attachment

    • bonds formed with the infant’s primary caregiver

      • sense of security

      • provides information about the environment

    • attachment styles can differ depending on:

      • individual differences

      • the relationship

    • evolutionary explanation

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Infant Attachment

  • Ainsworth (1978) Infant Attachment Styles

    • Secure

      • general responsiveness

    • Avoidant

      • general unresponsiveness or rejection

    • Anxious/Ambivalent

      • general anxiety and inconsistency

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Adult Attachment

  • Adult Romantic Attachment

    • Hazan & Shaver (1987)

      • similar to infant attachment

        • securely attached 59%

        • avoidant 25%

        • anxious/Ambivalent 11%

      • However, adult relationships differ

        • reciprocal

        • between peers

        • involve sexual attraction

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Adult Attachment

  • Adult Attachment Styles

    • Secure Adults

      • easy to get close, happy relationships, don’t worry about abandonment, etc.

    • Avoidant Adult

      • uncomfortable getting close, highs and lows, etc.

    • Anxious/Ambivalent

      • seek intimacy but worry about reciprocity, obsessive, clingy, etc.

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Adult Attachment

  • Early attachment experiences can influence later relationships, but

    • we’re not tied to our previous experiences,

    • new experiences can change the way we form relationships

    • we often have different orientations for different relationships

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Why We Form Relationships

  • Rewards of Social Relations (Weiss, 1974)

    • attachment

    • social integration

    • reassurance of worth

    • sense of reliable alliance

    • guidance

    • opportunity for nurturance

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Why We Form Relationships

  • Social support strongly correlated with

    • physical health

    • mental health

  • But, no single relationship will satisfy all social needs

    • the wider our social network, the better off we are

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Why We Form Relationships

  • Loneliness

    • psychological discomfort felt with a lack of adequate social relations

      • can be lonely without being alone

      • can be happy alone

    • Alone does not necessarily meanlonely, though the two often occur together

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Why We Form Relationships

  • 25% of the population has felt lonely within the last two weeks.

  • Individual differences

    • can differ from day to day

    • responses to lonely situations vary

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Why We Form Relationships

  • Emotional Loneliness

    • lack of an intimate attachment figure

  • Social Loneliness

    • feeling detached from one’s social network

  • Can have either, both, or neither.

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Why We Form Relationships

  • Loneliness Risk Factors

    • background/childhood factors

    • personality factors

    • marital status

    • socioeconomic status

    • age

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Why We Form Relationships

  • Social Exchange Theories

    • Assumption:

      • we stay in relationships because the benefits outweigh the costs

      • if costs begin to exceed the benefits, we’ll leave the relationship

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Why We Form Relationships

  • Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

    • proximity

    • familiarity

    • similarity

    • desirable personal attributes

    • physical attractiveness

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Proximity

    • the physical closeness of two people is the single best predictor of the development of a social relationship

      • more likely to know our neighbors than people 10 blocks away.

        • what about recent technological advancements?

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Why Proximity?

    • distance

    • Cognitive Dissonance Theory

      • being in constant contact with people we dislike causes dissonance

      • we usually reduce dissonance by …

    • knowing about an upcoming interaction increases liking for the interaction partner

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Familiarity

    • Mere Exposure Effect (Zajonc, 1968)

      • participants shown pictures of people

        • Some shown more than others

      • participantss then rated each face for likeability

      • Results

        • ratings and the number of times a picture was presented were positively correlated

        • replicated with actual people as well

    • Mita, Dermer, & Knight (1977)

      • we prefer the way we look in the mirror (reverse image)

      • our friends prefer the way we look in person (positive image)

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Why mere exposure?

    • Evolutionary Reasons

      • innate fear of the unknown?

    • Repeated exposure → Recognition → Predictability

    • Assumption that familiar = similar

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Limits to mere exposure

    • Only effective when:

      • the person is initially perceived as positive or neutral

      • that person’s interests are not in conflict with those of the perceiver’s

    • too much exposure  boredom

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Similarity

    • Byrne’s (1971) Phantom-Other Technique

      • Participants fill out a questionnaire

        • then shown a “another’s” finished questionnaire

        • similar, moderately similar, or dissimilar to the P

      • P’s then asked to rate other participant

        • Results

          • High similarity  liked the “other” more

          • Low similarity  like the “other” less

    • Matching Principle

      • we tend to date and marry similar others

        • on many dimensions

        • similarity and length of relationship positively correlated

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Reasons for Similarity Effect

    • similarity is rewarding

    • Cognitive Consistency

      • liking someone we disagree with dissonance

    • Expectancy-Value Theory

      • we value certain things (e.g., traits in others), but take into account the probability of getting them

      • Floyd (an average looking guy)

        • wants to date supermodels

        • but dates people with similar attractiveness

        • may fear rejection from a more attractive partner

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Proposed Mechanisms of the Similarity Effect

    • Selective Attraction

      • only attracted to similar others

    • Social Influence

      • over time, mates become more similar

    • Environmental Factors

      • situational factors expose similar others

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Similarity Effect: limitations

    • Can be threatening

      • bad things happening to similar others can cause us to avoid them.

    • Complimentarity

      • differences appreciated once accepted

      • sharing of pooled knowledge

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Desirable Personal Attributes

    • individual differences

    • cultural differences

    • Universal traits

      • Warmth

        • we perceive people with positive attitudes as warm

      • Competence

        • depends on the situation

          • but, we don’t like perfect people either (Aronson, Willerman, & Floyd, 1966)

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

Which face is more attractive?

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

Composite of the 22 Miss Germany pageant finalists

Miss Germany 2002

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Physical Attractiveness

    • Determining Attractiveness

      • symmetric faces

      • baby faces

      • “averaged” faces rated more attractive than “distinct” faces

      • cultural and historic influences

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Factors Involved in Interpersonal Attraction

  • Why Physical Attractiveness?

    • Halo Effect

    • Radiating Effect of Beauty

      • people like to be seen with attractive others

        • enhances their own image

    • Evolutionary Reasons

      • rough indicator of good health

        • mate with good health makes successful offspring more likely

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good job skills

earning potential

sense of humor








good in bed


good social skills

good homemaker






Mate SelectionTop 10 Qualities in a Romantic Partner(Gilmour, 1988)

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Mate Selection

  • Why the differences?

    • Sociocultural Perspective

      • social roles of genders

    • Evolutionary Perspective

      • genders maximize their chances of reproductive success differently

        • women “invest” a lot of time and effort for one child

        • men can have many children throughout their lifetime

    • Ample evidence for both perspectives

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  • Definition??!?! (Merriam-Webster)

    • strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties

    • attraction based on sexual desire

    • affection based on admiration, benevolence, or common interests

    • an assurance of love

    • warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion

    • the object of attachment, devotion, or admiration

    • a beloved person

    • British -- used as an informal term of address

    • unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another

    • a god or personification of love

    • an amorous episode

    • the sexual embrace

    • a score of zero (as in tennis)

  • Social psychologists have many too …

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  • Feelings of Love

    • physical symptoms distinguish romantic vs. friendship types of love

  • “in love” thoughts (Rubin, 1973)

    • Attachment

      • need partner to achieve goals

    • Caring

      • responding to partner’s needs

    • Trust/Self-Disclosure

      • telling a partner intimate details without fear of vulnerability

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  • Love Behavior

    • what is said vs. what is done

      • e.g., a significant other that claims love for you but consistently cancels engagements, forgets your birthday, and patronizes you…

        • love?

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Types of Love

  • Passionate Love

    • emotionally charged

    • characteristic of earlier stages

    • preoccupation with mate

    • described as uncontrollable

    • sells lots of movie tickets

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  • Companionate Love

    • practical, realistic, moderate

    • trust, caring, and tolerance of flaws

    • develops slowly

    • not too good at selling movie tickets

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  • Sternberg’s (1986) Triangular Theory

    • Three components

      • Intimacy

        • feelings of closeness

        • can be present in all loving relationships

      • Passion

        • drives that lead to intense emotions

        • differs depending on type of relationship

      • Commitment

        • decision to love someone

        • short vs. long term

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  • Seven types of love

    • Liking

      • intimacy without passion or commitment

    • Infatuation

      • passion without intimacy or commitment

    • Empty

      • commitment without passion and intimacy

    • Romantic

      • passion and intimacy without commitment

    • Companionate

      • intimacy and commitment without passion

    • Fatuous

      • passion and commitment without intimacy

    • Consummate

      • passion, commitment, and intimacy

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  • Jealousy

    • reaction to a perceived threat to a relationship

    • those highly dependent upon the relationship are the most affected by feelings of jealousy