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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

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Interpersonal Attraction

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interpersonal attraction
Interpersonal Attraction
  • Soundtrack

“Love Shack” B-52’s

why do people form relationships with others
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.
proximity propinquity
  • 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
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 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
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 and awareness
  • Mere exposure effect occurs even when people are NOT aware that they have been exposed to the stimulus.
mere exposure and attraction
Mere exposure and attraction
  • How might “mere exposure” work in a context relevant to attraction?
proximity leads to liking
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.
familiarity 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
Physical attractiveness
  • We are biased to prefer physically attractive people.
physical attractiveness16
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
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
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
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
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 standards21
Objective standards?
  • Babies look longer at faces rated as attractive by adults. (less likely to be affected by cultural standards)
is attractiveness subjective
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
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
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 more27
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
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
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
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 more31
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Passionate love
  • What leads to passionate love?
    • Culture must believe in idea of “romantic love.”
passionate love50
Passionate love
  • Must come into contact with someone who is an appropriate love object.
    • Role of chance
passionate love52
Passionate love
  • Given a chance encounter, what increases the probability that you will fall in love?
    • Role of arousal
passionate love53
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 love54
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
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?