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UNIT
Psychology
First Impressions
and Attraction
Unit Description
Content: This course is designed to familiarize students
with concepts in social psychology.
Skills: Main Ideas and Supporting Details
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Unit Requirements
Readings: “The Importance of Schemata” (an excerpt
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“The Power of First Impressions” (an excerpt from a
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Lecure: “Elements of Attraction”
Listening: “A First Meeting” I3 C3mµU8 CCnv8I83tlCnI
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paragraph with a strong topic sentence
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Previewing Academic Content
Things and people are not always what they seem. But studies show that first
impressions—what people think of each other when they first meet—can greatly
help or hurt a relationship. Feelings of attraction can also make relationships
successful or unsuccessful. But how do people form first impressions and why are
first impressions important? What causes attraction between two people? In this
unit, you will learn the answers to these questions.
1. How do you form a first impression about a person? Check () three things
you notice.
way of talking clothes and accessories face
hair posture (how a person sits or stands) body shape
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Preview
Attractive Confident Friendly Intelligent Selfish
attraction n the
feeling of liking
someone very much;
attractive adj
impression n an
opinion or feeling
about someone
interact v to talk
to other people or
to work together
with them
notice v to see, hear,
or smell something
opinion n an idea or
belief about something
Key Words
Dr. Marianne LaFrance
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, a psychology professor at Yale University, conducted
a study on first impressions and hairstyles. She asked participants to describe
people in 300 photos. La France gave each person only two seconds to form
an impression.
2. Look at each photo. Then complete the chart. How well does each adjective
describe the person? For each person, number each adjective from 1 to 5.
Number 1 means the adjective describes the person very well. Number 5
means the adjective does not describe the person at all. Work quickly!
1
Adapted from “First Impressions and Hair Impressions: An Investigation of Impact of
Hair Style on First Impressions,” Marianne LaFrance. Feb. 2007.
2 Unit 1 N Psychology
3. Compare your answers with a partner’s. Then discuss the questions.
1. What did you first notice about the people in the photos (for example, eyes,
hair, smile)?
2. What was your first impression of each person?
3. Which person do you find most attractive? Why?
4. Which person would you most like to meet? Why?
Previewing the Academic Skills Focus
1. Read a paragraph from a psychology textbook. Underline the sentence that you
think is the author’s most important idea or point.
In this unit, you will learn to find and use main ideas and supporting details. A
main idea is the most important idea about the topic. Supporting details are small
pieces of information that help explain the main idea. Learning to find main ideas
and supporting details will help you understand college reading assignments and
class lectures.
Recognizing Main Ideas and Details
2. Compare the sentence you have underlined with a partner’s.
r
Did you both underline the same sentence?
r
What is the most important idea of this paragraph?
Forming First Impressions
People are very good at forming first impressions from little
information. Just seeing someone’s face or hearing someone
speak can affect how we think about him or her. Clothing and
hairstyle can also affect our feelings. We even form opinions
about a person’s body and posture. We form these early
ideas about others very quickly, often without meaning to or
knowing what we are doing.
This unit will help you
identify main ideas and
details in readings and
lectures. It will also help
you to write clearly with
main ideas and details.
3. Read the paragraph again. Discuss how the other sentences help to explain and
support the main idea. What kind of information does each sentence give?
Unit 1 N First Impressions and Attraction 3
The Importance of Schemata
When people meet someone for the first time,
they form a fast impression about that person by
putting her or him into a familiar category or group.
They use schemata to help form these impressions.
Schemata are ideas and expectations about a group
based on past experiences.

(Aronson, Wilson, &
Ackert 2005) For instance, if someone sees a woman
wearing a white coat and a stethoscope
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around her neck, he will probably
think she is a doctor. He will think this woman is like other doctors he
knows. For example, he may think she is well educated and knows about
disease and medicine. Organizing people into familiar groups like this is a
common way that people form first impressions very quickly.
Source: Adapted from C.G. Morris & A.A. Maitson, Understanding Psychology, 8th Edition.
1
stethoscope n an instrument that a doctor uses to listen to your heart or
breathing
Aronson, E., T.D. Wilson, & R.M. Eckert 2005. Social Psychology 5th
Edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Before You Read
1. Use the key words to complete the statements.
1. The first time two people meet can have a very strong
on a relationship.
2. People usually act or in the way other people
them to act.
3. When you meet someone new, it is easy to make a
about your future relationship.
4. A first impression can a relationship more than later
impressions.
Compare your answers with a partner’s. Then discuss the statements. Do you agree
or disagree?
2
Building
Academic
Reading Skills
In this section, you will
learn how to read for
main ideas and details.
You will also learn
the reading skills of
skimming and scanning.
behave v to do or say
things in a particular
way
expect v to believe
strongly that
something will happen;
expectation n
impact n the effect
that an event or
situation has on
someone or something
influence v to have
an effect on the way
someone or something
behaves, thinks, or
develops
prediction n a guess
about what is going to
happen; predict v
Key Words
As you have learned, the main idea is the most important idea of a text. It gives
general information about a topic. Other sentences in the text provide supporting
details.
You can usually find the main idea of a paragraph in the title (or paragraph
heading), or the first or last sentence
Finding the Main Idea
2. Read the paragraph about schemata from a psychology textbook.
4 Unit 1 N Psychology
3. Work with a partner. Write MI next to the statement that gives the main idea of
the paragraph. Then underline the sentence in the paragraph that best expresses
this main idea.
A woman in a white coat is probably a doctor.
Schemata are helpful in forming fast first impressions.
Ideas and expectations based on past experiences are called schemata.
4. How did you find the main idea? Check () your answer(s).
It is general and important to the paragraph.
The other sentences give supporting details.
It is in the paragraph heading/title.
It is in the first sentence.
It is in the last sentence.
Compare your answers in small groups. Why are the other two statements in
Excercise 3 not the main idea?
Global Reading
Skimming is reading quickly to find main ideas in a short time. Skimming before
you read will prepare you to read and understand the passage better. To skim for
main ideas, look at:
* lhe lllle.
* Repeoled ldeos ond words.
* lhe llrsl ond losl senlences [ln porogrophs|.
* lhe llrsl ond losl porogrophs [ln longer lexls|.
When skimming, do not:
* Reod every word or senlence.
* Look up words you don´l know.
Skimming for Main Ideas
1. The reading in this section is an article from a scientific journal. Skim the text on
page 6. Circle the number of the paragraph that includes the main idea of the
entire text. Underline the sentence that states the main idea. Then read the entire
article.
Unit 1 N First Impressions and Attraction 5
1 When people meet for the first time, they
make first impressions of one another in a
few seconds. To do this, they notice clothes,
body shape, the way a person talks, and
expressions he or she makes. Research shows
that first impressions are very important
because they have a strong impact on forming
relationships.
2 Studies show that the primacy effect is an
important part of first impressions. The
primacy effect is the idea that the first
impression is very difficult to change. After
the first meeting, two people may interact
again and learn more about each other,
but the early impressions they formed will
influence their feelings about each other in
the future. For example, if a person has a
good first impression of someone, he or she
probably will not notice bad things about the
person later. However, if that person has a
bad first impression, he or she will probably
notice mostly bad things in the future.
3 Another interesting part of first impressions
is that people act how others expect them
to act. This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Research by Snyder and Swann supports this
idea. (1978)In that study, partners played a
game together. The partners did not know
one another, so the researchers told each
player about his partner. Sometimes they
The Power of First
Impressions
said positive, or good, things about a partner.
Sometimes they said negative, or bad,
things. The result of the study showed that
players acted friendly when they expected
their partners to be friendly, but they acted
unfriendly when they expected their partners
to be unfriendly. (See Figure 1.) The players’
expectations influenced how they acted
toward one another.
Figure 1.1
4 A related study by Michael Sunnafrank
(2004) showed that when people first
meet, they quickly make predictions about
what kind of relationship they will have.
Sunnafrank found that these predictions had
a strong impact on future relationships. In
his study of 164 first-year college students,
Sunnafrank found that when students
predicted they could be friends, they sat
closer together in class and interacted more.
As a result, they actually became friends.
In other words, they made their predictions
come true.
5 Clearly, first impressions are very important
in forming relationships, because they
influence the expectations people have of
one another and how they behave toward one
another.
Snyder, M. & W.B. Swann. 1978. “Behavioral
confirmation in social interaction: From social
perception to social reality.” Journal of Experimental
Social Psychology. 14, 148–162.
Sunnafrank, M. & A.Ramirez. 2004. “At first:
sight: Persistent relational effects of get-acquainted
conversations.” Journal of Social and Personal
Relationships. 21 (March), 361–379.
A/B expects A/B to be
friendly
A/B is friendly
to A/B
B/A is friendly
to B/A
A/B expects A/B to be
unfriendly
A/B is unfriendly
to A/B
B/A is unfriendly
to B/A
SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY
6 Unit 1 N Psychology
2. Skim each paragraph again. Match each paragraph with its main idea. (Note:
Two paragraphs have the same main idea.)
Paragraph 1
Paragraph 2
Paragraph 3
Paragraph 4
Paragraph 5
3. Circle the correct answer.
1. Why are first impressions important?
a. They help people notice specific things about others.
b. They influence relationships.
2. Which statement describes the primacy effect?
a. People act how other people expect them to act.
b. First impressions do not change very much.
3. Which statement describes self-fulfilling prophecy?
a. People act how other people expect them to act.
b. First impressions do not change very much.
4. According to Sunnafrank’s study, what happens after people make
predictions about a relationship?
a. People’s predictions do not affect their actions.
b. People act to make the predictions come true.
5. Which idea does Sunnafrank’s study support?
a. self-fulfilling prophecy
b. primacy effect
Focused Reading
Scanning is very fast reading for details, such as examples, reasons, and
definitions. When you scan, you look for the answer to a specific question. Move
your eyes quickly, and look only for specific information that will answer the question.
To answer questions about Look for
who and where capital letters and names
when numbers, dates, and time periods
how much, how many, and how long numbers and measurements (such as
meters, inches, etc.)
what, how, and why key word(s) or word(s) from the question
Scanning for Supporting Details
a. People’s expectations can influence how a person
acts.
b. First impressions are very important in forming
relationships.
c. A first impression is not easy to change.
d. People act on their predictions to create the
relationship they expect.
Unit 1 N First Impressions and Attraction 7
1. Circle the question words in the Questions column of the chart. Then scan the
reading on page 6 to answer the questions.
Questions Answers
1. How long does it take to
make a first impression?
a few seconds
2. What are four things
people notice when they
first meet someone?
3. When did Snyder
and Swan complete
their study?
4. Vho sludled people´s
predictions about
relationships?
5. How many first-year
college students were in
Sunnolronk´s sludy²
2. Discuss the questions in small groups.
1. Describe a recent first impression you had of someone. What do you predict
about your relationship with this person?
2. Have you ever experienced the primacy effect? Have you experienced self-
fulfilling prophecy? If so, describe what happened.
3. Many studies show that students do better in school when teachers expect
them to be good students
1
. Why do you think it is important for teachers,
parents, and administrators to understand the idea of self-fulfilling prophecy?
1
Osborne, 1997; Rosenthal, 2002b; Trouilloud, Sarrazin, Bressoux, Bressoux, & Bois,
2006.
Checkpoint 1
8 Unit 1 N Psychology
Before You Listen
3
Building
Academic
Listening Skills
In this section you will
learn to listen for and
take notes on the main
ideas and details of a
lecture.
element n one part of
a whole
physical adj relating to
the body, not the mind
or soul
quality n a part of
someone’s personality
romantic adj showing
strong feelings of love
session n a meeting
for a particular purpose
significant adj
noticeable and
important
similar adj almost the
same, but not exactly
the same; similarity n
Key Words
Peter M. Todd (2007), a psychologist from Indiana
University, studied speed dating to learn more about
elements of attraction. At speed-dating sessions, people
try to find a romantic partner—someone to have a
loving relationship with. Two people meet and talk for a
very short time. After, three to 10 minutes, they move to
meet another person and so on. After that, they decide
which men or women they want to see again. In his
study, Todd wanted to find out two things:
N what qualities people said they wanted in a
romantic partner
N what qualities really attracted people to each other during the
speed-dating session
Todd studied how significant certain qualities were to participants:
N similarity to themselves
N physical beauty
N having a good job
N the belief that family is important
Todd, P.M. etal. 2007. ”Different cognitive processes underlie human mate
choices and mate prefernces.” PNAS, 104 (38), 15011–15016.
1. What qualities are most important to you in a romantic partner? Number the
items in order of importance from 1 to 4. Number 1 is the most important, and
number 4 is the least important.
1. a person who is similar to me
2. a person with physical beauty
3. a person with a good job
4. a person who thinks family is very important
2. Work as a class to complete the chart. Write the number of men and women
in your class who wrote 1 for each item in Exercise 1. Then add up the total.
Do most people in your class agree on what is most important in a romantic
partner? Do men and women agree?
Quality Men Women Total
similar to me
physical beauty
good job
family is very important
Unit 1 N First Impressions and Attraction 9

Underline the sentence that you lectures. Supporting details are small pieces of information that help explain the main idea. Compare the sentence you have underlined with a partner’s. La France gave each person only two seconds to form an impression. hear. Feb. often without meaning to or knowing what we are doing. Marianne LaFrance1. Feelings of attraction can also make relationships successful or unsuccessful. smile)? 2. But studies show that first impressions—what people think of each other when they first meet—can greatly help or hurt a relationship. Look at each photo.1 Previewing Academic Content Things and people are not always what they seem. 3. 2. What kind of information does each sentence give? 1 Adapted from “First Impressions and Hair Impressions: An Investigation of Impact of Hair Style on First Impressions. Preview Key Words attraction n the feeling of liking someone very much. It will also help think is the author’s most important idea or point. We even form opinions about a person’s body and posture. Which person would you most like to meet? Why? This unit will help you Previewing the Academic Skills Focus identify main ideas and details in readings and 1. 2007. She asked participants to describe people in 300 photos. conducted a study on first impressions and hairstyles. Learning to find main ideas and supporting details will help you understand college reading assignments and class lectures. Work quickly! Attractive Confident Friendly Intelligent Selfish 2. Which person do you find most attractive? Why? 4. 1. How do you form a first impression about a person? Check ( ) three things you notice. But how do people form first impressions and why are first impressions important? What causes attraction between two people? In this unit. eyes. you will learn to find and use main ideas and supporting details. a psychology professor at Yale University. 3. What was your first impression of each person? 3. hair. We form these early ideas about others very quickly. Read a paragraph from a psychology textbook. Forming First Impressions People are very good at forming first impressions from little information. How well does each adjective describe the person? For each person. Then complete the chart. Number 1 means the adjective describes the person very well. Discuss how the other sentences help to explain and support the main idea. number each adjective from 1 to 5.” Marianne LaFrance. Number 5 means the adjective does not describe the person at all. Clothing and hairstyle can also affect our feelings. 2 Unit 1 Psychology Unit 1 First Impressions and Attraction 3 . attractive adj impression n an opinion or feeling about someone interact v to talk to other people or to work together with them notice v to see. A main idea is the most important idea about the topic. Compare your answers with a partner’s. or smell something opinion n an idea or belief about something way of talking hair clothes and accessories face body shape posture (how a person sits or stands) Dr. Read the paragraph again. What did you first notice about the people in the photos (for example. Did you both underline the same sentence? What is the most important idea of this paragraph? Recognizing Main Ideas and Details In this unit. Just seeing someone’s face or hearing someone speak can affect how we think about him or her. Then discuss the questions. you to write clearly with main ideas and details. 1. you will learn the answers to these questions.

A. He will think this woman is like other doctors he knows. 1 stethoscope n an instrument that a doctor uses to listen to your heart or breathing Aronson.G. Read the paragraph about schemata from a psychology textbook. Compare your answers with a partner’s. predict v Finding the Main Idea As you have learned. You will also learn the reading skills of skimming and scanning. When you meet someone new. do not: 1. Wilson. 1. Social Psychology 5th Edition. How did you find the main idea? Check ( ) your answer(s). They use schemata to help form these impressions. For example. It is in the last sentence. Building Academic Reading Skills In this section. Write MI next to the statement that gives the main idea of the paragraph. Circle the number of the paragraph that includes the main idea of the entire text. expectation n impact n the effect that an event or situation has on someone or something influence v to have an effect on the way someone or something behaves. It gives general information about a topic. 4 Unit 1 Psychology Unit 1 First Impressions and Attraction 5 . Skim the text on page 6. Then underline the sentence in the paragraph that best expresses this main idea. Schemata are helpful in forming fast first impressions. Compare your answers in small groups. & R. in the way other people It is general and important to the paragraph. It is in the paragraph heading/title. Understanding Psychology. look at: 2. The Importance of Schemata When people meet someone for the first time. Skimming before you read will prepare you to read and understand the passage better. thinks. Underline the sentence that states the main idea. Wilson. 4. T.2 Before You Read 1. Schemata are ideas and expectations about a group based on past experiences. Why are the other two statements in Excercise 3 not the main idea? a relationship more than later Key Words behave v to do or say things in a particular way expect v to believe strongly that something will happen. Organizing people into familiar groups like this is a common way that people form first impressions very quickly. Then discuss the statements. 8th Edition. The reading in this section is an article from a scientific journal. 4. Eckert 2005. or develops prediction n a guess about what is going to happen.M. Then read the entire article. they form a fast impression about that person by putting her or him into a familiar category or group. Upper Saddle River. Ideas and expectations based on past experiences are called schemata. 3. To skim for main ideas. You can usually find the main idea of a paragraph in the title (or paragraph heading). (Aronson. he will probably think she is a doctor. 2. & Ackert 2005) For instance. It is in the first sentence. A first impression can impressions.. The first time two people meet can have a very strong on a relationship. or the first or last sentence Global Reading Skimming for Main Ideas Skimming is reading quickly to find main ideas in a short time. the main idea is the most important idea of a text. Do you agree or disagree? A woman in a white coat is probably a doctor. People usually act or them to act. E. Maitson. Other sentences in the text provide supporting details. it is easy to make a about your future relationship.D. Morris & A. The other sentences give supporting details. Source: Adapted from C. Use the key words to complete the statements. 3. if someone sees a woman wearing a white coat and a stethoscope1 around her neck. NJ: Prentice Hall. he may think she is well educated and knows about disease and medicine. When skimming. Work with a partner. you will learn how to read for main ideas and details.

A first impression is not easy to change. 4. d. the way a person talks. First impressions are very important in forming relationships. M. if that person has a bad first impression.1 4 A related study by Michael Sunnafrank (2004) showed that when people first meet. (Note: Two paragraphs have the same main idea. and expressions he or she makes. First impressions do not change very much. Focused Reading Scanning for Supporting Details Scanning is very fast reading for details. 21 (March). Sunnafrank found that when students predicted they could be friends. (See Figure 1. 14. & W. In his study of 164 first-year college students. 2 Studies show that the primacy effect is an important part of first impressions.) Paragraph 1 Paragraph 2 Paragraph 3 Paragraph 4 Paragraph 5 a. People act how other people expect them to act. partners played a game together. & A. Which statement describes self-fulfilling prophecy? a. The result of the study showed that players acted friendly when they expected their partners to be friendly. Move your eyes quickly. Match each paragraph with its main idea. or bad. he or she probably will not notice bad things about the person later. They influence relationships. or good. People’s expectations can influence how a person acts.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology. b. two people may interact again and learn more about each other.) The players’ expectations influenced how they acted toward one another. 3 Another interesting part of first impressions is that people act how others expect them to act. reasons. People act how other people expect them to act. but the early impressions they formed will influence their feelings about each other in the future. and time periods how much. People act to make the predictions come true. body shape. In other words. he or she will probably notice mostly bad things in the future. etc. such as examples. “At first: sight: Persistent relational effects of get-acquainted conversations. and how long numbers and measurements (such as meters. 3. Research by Snyder and Swann supports this idea. 5. (1978)In that study. “Behavioral confirmation in social interaction: From social perception to social reality. if a person has a good first impression of someone. and why key word(s) or word(s) from the question 6 Unit 1 Psychology Unit 1 First Impressions and Attraction 7 . primacy effect Figure 1. first impressions are very important in forming relationships. When you scan. Why are first impressions important? a. but they acted unfriendly when they expected their partners to be unfriendly. They help people notice specific things about others. 2. and look only for specific information that will answer the question. 148–162. what happens after people make predictions about a relationship? a. b. Research shows that first impressions are very important because they have a strong impact on forming relationships. Sometimes they said negative. they make first impressions of one another in a few seconds. Which idea does Sunnafrank’s study support? a. dates. 2004. things about a partner. This is called a self-fulfilling prophecy. they made their predictions come true. b. Swann. People act on their predictions to create the relationship they expect.) what. 361–379. 3. Sunnafrank. they sat closer together in class and interacted more. because they influence the expectations people have of one another and how they behave toward one another.The Power of First Impressions 1 When people meet for the first time. b. As a result. they actually became friends.B. SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECY 2. According to Sunnafrank’s study. People’s predictions do not affect their actions. they notice clothes. 1978. Skim each paragraph again. First impressions do not change very much. you look for the answer to a specific question.” Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. However. To answer questions about Look for who and where capital letters and names when numbers. they quickly make predictions about what kind of relationship they will have. The partners did not know one another. how. A/B expects A/B to be friendly A/B is friendly to A/B B/A is friendly to B/A A/B expects A/B to be unfriendly A/B is unfriendly to A/B B/A is unfriendly to B/A 1. For example.Ramirez. The primacy effect is the idea that the first impression is very difficult to change. Circle the correct answer. b. self-fulfilling prophecy b. c. and definitions. Sometimes they said positive. so the researchers told each player about his partner. inches. Snyder. how many. M. Sunnafrank found that these predictions had a strong impact on future relationships. Which statement describes the primacy effect? a. To do this. 5 Clearly. things. After the first meeting.

2006. Then scan the reading on page 6 to answer the questions. At speed-dating sessions. Rosenthal. Questions 1. Work as a class to complete the chart. studied speed dating to learn more about elements of attraction. Bressoux.M. a person who thinks family is very important 2. 2002b. & Bois. a person with a good job 4. etal. parents. 3. ”Different cognitive processes underlie human mate choices and mate prefernces. family is very important 8 Unit 1 Psychology Unit 1 First Impressions and Attraction 9 . How long does it take to make a first impression? Answers 3 Before You Listen Peter M. 2007. not the mind or soul quality n a part of someone’s personality romantic adj showing strong feelings of love session n a meeting for a particular purpose significant adj noticeable and important similar adj almost the same.1.” PNAS. How many first-year college students were in 1. Todd (2007). Discuss the questions in small groups. Why do you think it is important for teachers. Have you ever experienced the primacy effect? Have you experienced selffulfilling prophecy? If so. Sarrazin. three to 10 minutes. After that. Circle the question words in the Questions column of the chart. 15011–15016. What do you predict about your relationship with this person? 2. and number 4 is the least important. predictions about relationships? 5. Two people meet and talk for a very short time. Do most people in your class agree on what is most important in a romantic partner? Do men and women agree? 2. a psychologist from Indiana University. Then add up the total. After. they decide which men or women they want to see again. a person who is similar to me 2. 2. people try to find a romantic partner—someone to have a loving relationship with. Describe a recent first impression you had of someone. Many studies show that students do better in school when teachers expect them to be good students1. they move to meet another person and so on. similarity n similarity to themselves physical beauty having a good job the belief that family is important Todd. but not exactly the same. and administrators to understand the idea of self-fulfilling prophecy? Checkpoint 1 Quality similar to me physical beauty good job Men Women Total 1 Osborne. What qualities are most important to you in a romantic partner? Number the items in order of importance from 1 to 4. In his study. 1997. When did Snyder and Swan complete their study? Todd studied how significant certain qualities were to participants: Key Words element n one part of a whole physical adj relating to the body. What are four things people notice when they first meet someone? 3. Bressoux. 1. Write the number of men and women in your class who wrote 1 for each item in Exercise 1. Number 1 is the most important. 104 (38). P. Todd wanted to find out two things: what qualities people said they wanted in a romantic partner what qualities really attracted people to each other during the speed-dating session a few seconds Building Academic Listening Skills In this section you will learn to listen for and take notes on the main ideas and details of a lecture. 1. Trouilloud. describe what happened. a person with physical beauty 3.