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Propinquity (mere exposure) Similarity Physical appearance Inferences of personality Other factors (e.g., arousal, emotion)
Schacter, & Back (1950)
Next door Two doors down Opposite ends of hall
and Sawyer (1967) Segal (1974)
Why propinquity matters
reasons, but mere exposure/familiarity likely to play a role, as we have already seen in earlier chapters Book implies that it’s only familiarity, but this is probably not correct (too simple)
Interesting demonstration of the power of familiarity on liking:
Mita, Dermer, & Knight (1977)
+ + + +
People you know
Similarity and attraction
There is no strong evidence for the complementarity view (i.e. that opposites attract) Rather, similarity is a powerful predictor of attraction Classic study by Newcomb (1961) Link between similarity and attraction is quite robust:
– Opinions and personality – Interpersonal style – Interests and experiences
Why does similarity matter?
expect that people who are similar to us will also like us
– Increases the probability of initiating
On the importance of physical attractiveness
On the power of attractiveness: empirical demonstrations
(Walster) Hatfield, 1966
– “Mother of all blind dates”: – 752 students paired up, at random!
replication with gay couples by Sergios and Cody (1985)
men regard physical attractiveness as more important than do women? Complex Self report vs. actual behavior
– On self-report, men often, although not always,
say that p.a. is more important – But behaviorally, differences are much smaller.
What are the cues for physical attractiveness?
women: large eyes, small nose, small chin, prominent cheekbones, narrow cheeks, high eyebrows, large pupils, big smile Men: large eyes, prominent cheekbones, large chin, big smile Some overlap here—people like “baby-like” features in the opposite sex (e.g. large eyes)
– But this is especially pronounced in terms of female
these findings do generalize cross
Interesting twist: the apparent appeal of typicality
Researchers have tested the degree to which people rate individuals vs. “composites”—images that are based on the average of several people (e.g., Langlois et al. 1987)
– Data indicate that the composites are usually liked better than the
individuals that went into the composites
Does this mean that the “average” face is most attractive?
– No. We are clearly most attracted to very atypical faces. – But when comparing composites to most individuals, the
composites win out – Suggests rank ordering
Highly attractive individuals with strong loadings on key facial cues (statistically rare) Composites (based on ordinary, run of the mill individuals, not including movie stars, etc) Most individuals
On the “market value” of being attractive
– Highly valued commodity – On the “rub-off” influence of
Friends Dating partners, spouses
Attractive woman Unattractive woman Attractive man Unattractive man
- - (same) man
woman (same) woman
Beliefs vs. reality
people are believed to be more
– Likeable, friendly, sociable, extraverted,
popular, happier, sexier, assertive – this is “narrow”?? (see p. 329)
cultural differences Reality?
Battle about the sexes (and about sex)
(“innate”) differences between men and women?
– dating/mating strategies – what qualities they find attractive ?
Some issues that often get confused
– Are there observable differences
between men and women? – If so, why?
Evolutionary/sociobiological hypothesis Socialization hypothesis The two possibilities are not mutually exclusive
What might be those differences?
# of sexual partners – short vs. long term sexual relationships – age of partner – physical appearance But again: if so, WHY?
Sociobiological hypothesis: General idea:
in humans—or any other species—can be viewed as the result of thousands of years of evolution in which “successful” genes survive and prosper whereas “unsuccessful” genes die out. In Darwinian terms, success defined as those genes which are passed on to the next generation through reproduction.
Parental investment hypothesis (Trivers, 1985)
greater biological investment (according to Trivers)
– females have more to lose by unwise mating; hence “choosier”
– Mating strategies (all species) – For humans: relationship preferences, basis for
attraction, dating styles, etc.
Quote from Trivers (1985).
“The sex that invests more in offspring should be more choosy about potential mates than the sex that invests less in offspring.” “An ancestral woman who had sex with 100 men in the course of a year would still have produced a maximum of one child. An ancestral man who had sex with 100 women during the same time would have most likely produced substantially more than one child….In sum, for the high-investing sex (typically, females), the costs of indiscriminate sex are high whereas for the low investing sex (typically, males), these costs are low.
So, what’s the evidence? pro and con
Cross species patterns of sexual behavior
Males are almost always more promiscuous, aggressive in courtship pattern is reversed among “oddball” species in which males have greater investment
– E.g., Pipefish, Phalaropes, Panamanian poisonarrow frog, certain species of waterbugs, and the mormon cricket.
Cross-cultural similarities in human studies: Buss and Schmitt (1993)
of sexual partners desired Probability of consenting to sexual intercourse Preferred age difference Importance of spouse being a good financial prospect Importance of physical attractiveness
Number of sexual partners desired.
Probability of consenting to sexual intercourse
Preferred age difference
Importance of financial status of mate
The critics speak: con
1. selective analysis 2. self-report 3. some data equally supportive of socialization 4. theory can be difficult to test
5. Males aren’t the only one doing the “selecting”—females are selecting as well
Some Darwinian theories tend regard organisms as solitary creatures, acting unilaterally and toward their own selfish interests
But behavior doesn’t take place in vacuum—everything is in context. Likely to involve a complex set of interactions between males and females
Foundation for the principles of Game Theory
General discussion of game theory
In reality, it is not always in the best interest of the male to literally mate indiscriminately
– Such actions could serve as a neon sign to females—stay away from
this dude. – Likely to elicit extreme aggression by male competitors
What strategy should male follow, then?
– Be monogamous, or…. – Give the impression of being monogamous, but practice deceit
However, latter strategy could encourage females to be especially good at detecting when the male is lying
– Which could encourage better lying techniques by males, etc…
In theory, as this dynamic is repeated over million of years, it has implications for the success of certain genetic traits
Two counterintuitive findings in attraction
costs of physical attraction When mistakes lead to greater liking
Major, Carrington, & Carnevale (1984)
Attractive* vs. nonattractive* participants write essay
“seen” Positive feedback “not seen” attribution
Attribution of positive evaluation to writing
not seen augmentation seen discounting seen
When mistakes make people like us more
of Pigs incident Aronson, Willerman, & Floyd (1966)
mistake high performer low performer 30.2 -2.5 No mistake 20.8
Longer term relationships
Contrast with the research considered thus far….
Three general models
exchange theory Equity theory Rusbult’s investment model
I. An “Economic” Approach: Social Exchange Theory
the best relationship we can get for our emotional dollar…” Key factors
– Benefits – Costs – Global outcome (how it feels) – Comparison level
Comparison level for this relationship Comparison level for alternatives
Evaluation of social exchange theory
a great deal of support, overall But not without criticism
– What about fairness? – People sensitive to how their cost/benefit ratio
compares to that experienced by the other person— something not considered by social exchange theory
II. Equity Theory
in some respects to social exchange theory, except
– Equity is assumed to be a powerful norm;
people wish to avoid imbalances, of two sorts
Underbenefited vs. Overbenefited
– As one might expect, being underbenefited is more unpleasant than being overbenefited.
III. Rusbult’s investment model
The previous two models don’t adequately explain why people often stay in relationships even when things are not going well (either short term, or long term) Investment is key “Unhappy marriages”; Battered woman syndrome
Rusbult’s Investment Model of Commitment
Satisfaction with relationship Level of investment Quality of alternatives
Commitment to relationship Stability of relationship
Test of investment model
satisfaction alternatives investment
Decision to break up
Satisfaction + Investment – Alternatives
– Stay: – Leave:
bottom of p. 347 to middle of p. 349 is very confusing and contradictory of previous portion of chapter—ignore it.
Harlow, 1959: Monkeys with 2 “mothers”:
-Wire with bottle -Cloth without bottle
Babies clung to cloth “mother” much more, despite the fact that the wire one offered food.
We form two working models while young— 1. Towards the self: self-worth or self-esteem. 2. Towards others: interpersonal trust. These determine Attachment Style…
Secure: An expectation about social relationships characterized by trust, a lack of concern with being abandoned, and a feeling of being valued and well liked. Avoidant: An expectation about social relationships characterized by a lack of trust and a suppression of attachment needs. Anxious- Ambivalent: An expectation about social relationships characterized by a fear that others will not return affection.
Attachment style influences relationships throughout our lives:
Relationship: Frequency Secure ? Satisfaction Length
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