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Social Psychology Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College slides by Travis Langley Henderson State University 6th edition
Chapter 10 Interpersonal Attraction: From First Impressions to Close Relationships Try to reason about love, and you will lose your reason. French proverb
What Causes Attraction? The absence of meaningful relationships with other people makes people feel lonely, worthless, hopeless, helpless, powerless, and alienated. In this chapter, we will discuss the antecedents of attraction, from the initial liking of two people meeting for the first time to the love that develops in close relationships.
The Person Next Door: The Propinquity Effect Propinquity Effect The finding that the more we see and interact with people, the more likely they are to become our friends. One of the simplest determinants of interpersonal attraction is proximity (sometimes called propinquity).
Festinger, Schachter, and Back (1950) tracked friendship formation among the couples in various apartment buildings. Residents had been assigned to their apartments at random. Most were strangers when they moved in. The researchers asked the residents to name their three closest friends in the entire housing project. Just as the propinquity effect would predict, 65% of the friends mentioned lived in the same building, even though the other buildings were not far away.
Festinger, Schachter, and Back (1950) tracked friendship formation among the couples in various apartment buildings. Residents had been assigned to their apartments at random. Most were strangers when they moved in. The researchers asked the residents to name their three closest friends in the entire housing project. Just as the propinquity effect would predict, 65% of the friends mentioned lived in the same building, even though the other buildings were not far away. Even more striking was the pattern of friendships within a building: 41% of the next-door neighbors indicated they were close friends. 22% of those who lived two doors apart said so. Only 10 percent of those who lived on opposite ends of the hall indicated they were close friends.
Festinger, Schachter, and Back (1950) tracked friendship formation among the couples in various apartment buildings. Residents had been assigned to their apartments at random. Most were strangers when they moved in. The researchers asked the residents to name their three closest friends in the entire housing project. Just as the propinquity effect would predict, 65% of the friends mentioned lived in the same building, even though the other buildings were not far away. Even more striking was the pattern of friendships within a building: 41% of the next-door neighbors indicated they were close friends. 22% of those who lived two doors apart said so. Only 10 percent of those who lived on opposite ends of the hall indicated they were close friends. Functional distance Refers to certain aspects of architectural design that make it more likely that some people will come into contact with each other more often than with others. Functional distance Refers to certain aspects of architectural design that make it more likely that some people will come into contact with each other more often than with others.
Mere Exposure Effect The finding that the more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more apt we are to like it. The propinquity effect occurs due to mere exposure. The Person Next Door: The Propinquity Effect
COMPUTERS: LONG-DISTANCE PROPINQUITY Researchers found that strangers who met on the Internet were more attracted to each other than those who met face-to-face. Whether people on the Internet were attracted to each other was largely determined by the level and quality of their conversation, while face-to- face meetings depended on other variables as well, such as physical attractiveness.
COMPUTERS: LONG-DISTANCE PROPINQUITY Chan and Cheng (2004) found that the quality of offline friendships was higher than that of online for relationships that had existed for up to a year. However, when friendships had existed for longer than a year, the online and offline relationships were very similar.
Similarity Researchers describe two types of situations in which relationships begin: Closed-field situations, in which people are forced to interact with each other. Open-field situations, in which people are free to interact or not as they choose.
Similarity Propinquity increases familiarity, which leads to liking, but something more is needed to fuel a growing friendship or a romantic relationship. (Otherwise, every pair of roommates would be best friends!) That fuel is similaritya match between our interests, attitudes, values, background, or personality and those of another person. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Similarity Folk wisdom captures this idea in the expression Birds of a feather flock together (the concept of similarity). But folk wisdom also has another saying, Opposites attract (the concept of complementarity, or that we are attracted to people who are our opposites). Luckily, we dont have to remain forever confused by contradictory advice from old sayings. Research evidence proves that it is overwhelmingly similarity and not complementarity that draws people together. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
OPINIONS AND PERSONALITY IN DOZENS OF CONTROLLED EXPERIMENTS, IF ALL YOU KNOW ABOUT A PERSON (WHOM YOUVE NEVER MET) ARE HIS OR HER OPINIONS ON SEVERAL ISSUES, THE MORE SIMILAR THOSE OPINIONS ARE TO YOURS, THE MORE YOU WILL LIKE THE PERSON.
INTERPERSONAL STYLE WE ARE ATTRACTED TO PEOPLE WHOSE INTERPERSONAL STYLE AND COMMUNICATION SKILLS ARE SIMILAR TO OURS. RELATIONSHIPS WITH PEOPLE WHO DO NOT SHARE YOUR INTERPERSONAL COMMUNICATION STYLE ARE FRUSTRATING AND LESS LIKELY TO FLOURISH. THIS IS PROBABLY A GREAT PREDICTOR OF SATISFACTION IN RELATIONSHIPS AND MARRIAGEAND OF BREAKUPS AND DIVORCE! Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
INTERESTS & EXPERIENCES THE SITUATIONS THAT YOU CHOOSE TO BE IN ARE, BY DEFINITION, POPULATED BY PEOPLE WHO HAVE CHOSEN THEM FOR SIMILAR REASONS. STUDENTS IN THE SAME ACADEMIC TRACK SHARE MANY OF THE SAME EXPERIENCES. NEW SIMILARITIES ARE CREATED AND DISCOVERED BETWEEN THEM, FUELING THE FRIENDSHIPS. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
INTERESTS & EXPERIENCES Why is similarity so important in attraction? 1.We tend to think that people who are similar to us will also like us, so we are likely to initiate a relationship. 2.People who are similar validate our own characteristics and beliefs. 3.We make negative inferences about someone who disagrees with us on important issues.
INTERESTS & EXPERIENCES If participants want a committed relationship, they choose a similar partner. However, if they feel a low level of commitment to the relationship, they favor dissimilar partners. Relationships based on differences, rather than similarities, can be very difficult to maintain.
Reciprocal Liking Just knowing that someone likes us fuels our attraction to the person. Reciprocal liking sometimes happens because of a self-fulfilling prophecy: When we expect people to like us, we elicit more favorable behavior from them and show more to them.
Reciprocal Liking People with a negative self-concept respond quite differently: Such people indicate that theyd prefer to meet and talk to a person they know has criticized them earlier than meet and talk to a person they know has praised them earlier. Thus if people think of themselves as unlikable, another persons friendly behavior toward them will seem unwarranted, and they may not respond, setting in motion another self-fulfilling prophecy.
Physical Attractiveness and Liking Physical attractiveness also plays an important role in liking. People from different cultures perceive facial attractiveness quite similarly. The what is beautiful is good stereotype indicates that people assume that physical attractiveness is associated with other desirable traits. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Physical Attractiveness and Liking Genders differences in the importance of attractiveness are greater when mens and womens attitudes are measured than when their actual behavior is measured. It may be that men are more likely than women to say that physical attractiveness is important to them in a potential friend, date, or mate, but when it comes to actual behavior, the sexes are more similar in their response to the physical attractiveness of others.
WHAT IS ATTRACTIVE? High attractiveness ratings are associated with female faces with: Large eyes Small nose Small chin Prominent cheekbones Narrow cheeks High eyebrows Large pupils Big smile Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
WHAT IS ATTRACTIVE? In womens ratings of male beauty, they gave the highest attractiveness ratings to mens faces with: Large eyes Prominent cheekbones Large chin Big smile Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
CULTURAL STANDARDS OF BEAUTY PEOPLE FROM A WIDE RANGE OF CULTURES AGREE ON WHAT IS PHYSICALLY ATTRACTIVE IN THE HUMAN FACE. ALTHOUGH JUDGMENTS VARY, ACROSS LARGE GROUPS A CONSENSUS EMERGES: PERCEIVERS THINK SOME FACES ARE JUST BETTER-LOOKING THAN OTHERS, REGARDLESS OF CULTURAL BACKGROUND. Even infants prefer photographs of attractive faces to unattractive ones, and infants prefer the same photographs adults prefer. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
CULTURAL STANDARDS OF BEAUTY Attractive faces for both sexes are those whose features tend to be the arithmetic meanor averagefor the species and not the extremes. This does not mean a composite average face has all the physical qualities that people cross-culturally agree are highly attractive, though.
THE POWER OF FAMILIARITY THE CRUCIAL VARIABLE THAT EXPLAINS INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION MAY ACTUALLY BE FAMILIARITY. WHEN RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS RATE THE ATTRACTIVENESS OF FACES, THEY PREFER THE FACES THAT MOST RESEMBLED THEIR OWN!
THE POWER OF FAMILIARITY Familiarity also underlies the other concepts weve been discussing: Propinquity (people we see frequently become familiar through mere exposure), Similarity (people who are similar to us will also seem familiar to us), and Reciprocal liking (people who like each other get to know and become familiar with each other).
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE MANY STUDIES HAVE FOUND THAT PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS AFFECTS THE ATTRIBUTIONS PEOPLE MAKE ABOUT THE ATTRACTIVE. SPECIFICALLY, PEOPLE ATTRIBUTE POSITIVE QUALITIES TO BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THEIR LOOKS. THIS TENDENCY IS CALLED THE WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL IS GOOD STEREOTYPE.
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE The What is beautiful is good stereotype is relatively narrow, affecting peoples judgments about an individual only in specific areas. The beautiful are thought to be more: –Sociable –Extraverted –Popular –Sexual –Happy –Assertive
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE Highly attractive people do develop good social interaction skills and report having more satisfying interactions with others. This involves a self-fulfilling prophecy: The beautiful, from a young age, receive a great deal of social attention that in turn helps them develop good social skills. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
ASSUMPTIONS ABOUT ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE Can a regular person be made to act like a beautiful one through the self-fulfilling prophecy? Yes. Men talking to women on the phone elicit warmer, friendlier responses when led to believe the women they are talking to are attractive. The same happens for women talking to men they believe are attractive. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Theories of Interpersonal Attraction: Social Exchange and Equity Social Exchange Theory The idea that peoples feelings about a relationship depend on perceptions of rewards and costs, the kind of relationship they deserve, and their chances for having a better relationship with someone else. Equity Theory The idea that people are happiest with relationships in which rewards and costs experienced and both parties contributions are roughly equal.
SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY Social exchange theory holds that how people feel (positively or negatively) about their relationships will depend on: (1)Their perception of the rewards they receive from the relationship, (2) Their perception of the costs they incur, and (3) Their perception of what kind of relationship they deserve and the probability that they could have a better relationship with someone else. In other words, we buy the best relationship we can get, one that gives us the most value for our emotional dollar. The basic concepts of social exchange theory are reward, cost, outcome, and comparison level.
SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY Rewards are the positive, gratifying aspects of the relationship that make it worthwhile and reinforcing, including: The kinds of personal characteristics and behaviors of our relationship partner that we have already discussed, and Our ability to acquire external resources by virtue of knowing this person (e.g., gaining access to money, status, activities, or other interesting people).
SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY Costs are, obviously, the other side of the coin, and all friendships and romantic relationships have some costs attached to them. (Such as putting up with someones annoying habits and characteristics)
SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY How satisfied you are with your relationship depends on another variableyour comparison level. Comparison Level Peoples expectations about the level of rewards and punishments they are likely to receive in a particular relationship.
SOCIAL EXCHANGE THEORY Finally, your satisfaction with a relationship also depends on your perception of the likelihood that you could replace it with a better one. Comparison Level for Alternatives Peoples expectations about the level of rewards and punishments they would receive in an alternative relationship.
Equity Theory PROPONENTS OF EQUITY THEORY DESCRIBE EQUITABLE RELATIONSHIPS AS THE HAPPIEST AND MOST STABLE. IN COMPARISON, INEQUITABLE RELATIONSHIPS RESULT IN ONE PERSON FEELING: OVERBENEFITED (GETTING A LOT OF REWARDS, INCURRING FEW COSTS, HAVING TO DEVOTE LITTLE TIME OR ENERGY TO THE RELATIONSHIP), OR UNDERBENEFITED (GETTING FEW REWARDS, INCURRING A LOT OF COSTS, HAVING TO DEVOTE A LOT OF TIME AND ENERGY TO THE RELATIONSHIP).
Close Relationships A researcher cant randomly assign you to the similar or dissimilar lover condition and make you have a relationship! Feelings and intimacy associated with close relationships can be difficult to measure. Psychologists face a daunting task when trying to measure such complex feelings as love and passion. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Defining Love Companionate Love The intimacy and affection we feel when we care deeply for a person but do not experience passion or arousal in the persons presence. Passionate Love An intense longing we feel for a person, accompanied by physiological arousal; when our love is reciprocated, we feel great fulfillment and ecstasy, but when it is not, we feel sadness and despair. Source of hot image: Microsoft Office Online.
Companionate Love People can experience companionate love in nonsexual relationships, such as close friendships, or in sexual relationships, where they experience great feelings of intimacy (companionate love) but not a great deal of the heat and passion they may once have felt. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Passionate Love Passionate love involves an intense longing for another person, characterized by: The experience of physiological arousal, The feeling of shortness of breath, and Thumping heart in loved ones presence. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Passionate Love Reviewing the anthropological research on 166 societies, William Jankowiak and Edward Fischer (1992) found evidence for passionate love in 147 of them. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Culture and Love Although love is a universal emotion, how we experience it (and what we expect from close relationships) is linked to culture. For example, the Japanese describe amae as an extremely positive emotional state in which one is a totally passive love object, indulged and taken care of by ones romantic partner, much like a mother-infant relationship. Amae has no equivalent word in English or in any other Western language.
Culture and Love Participants in the United States, Italy, and China sorted more than a hundred emotional words into categories; their analysis indicated that love has similar and different meanings cross-culturally. The most striking difference was the presence of a sad love cluster in the Chinese sample. The Chinese had many love-related concepts that were sad, such as words for sorrow-love, tenderness-pity, and sorrow-pity. Although this sad love cluster made a small appearance in the U.S. and Italian samples, it was not perceived as a major aspect of love in these Western societies.
Culture and Love In many areas of West Africa, happily married couples do not live together in the same house, nor do they expect to sleep together every night. Marrying for love is most important to participants in Western and Westernized countries (e.g., the United States, Brazil, England, and Australia) and of least importance to participants in less developed Eastern countries (i.e., India, Pakistan, and Thailand).
Culture and Love Love can vary in definition and behavior in different societies. We all love, but we do not necessarily all love in the same wayor at least we dont describe it in the same way. Romantic love is nearly universal in the human species, but cultural rules alter how that emotional state is experienced, expressed, and remembered.
LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS Are the causes of love similar to the causes of initial attraction? How do the factors we discussed earlier as determinants of first impressions play out in intimate relationships? And do other variables come into play when we are developing and maintaining a close relationship?
Evolution and Love: Choosing a Mate Evolutionary Approach to Love A theory derived from evolutionary biology that holds that men and women are attracted to different characteristics in each other (men are attracted by womens appearance; women are attracted by mens resources) because this maximizes their chances of reproductive success. Evolutionary Psychology The attempt to explain social behavior in terms of genetic factors that evolved over time according to the principles of natural selection.
Connections: This Is Your Brain… In Love fMRI research found: When looking at their beloved compared to when looking at someone else, participants who self- reported higher levels of romantic love showed greater activation in the brains ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the caudate nucleus, which communicate with each other as part of a circuit. A great deal is already known about what causes these areas of the brain to fire and what kind of processing they doand now, this knowledge can be applied to the experience of passionate love. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Attachment Styles in Intimate Relationships Attachment Styles The expectations people develop about relationships with others, based on the relationship they had with their primary caregiver when they were infants. Secure Attachment Style An attachment style characterized by trust, a lack of concern with being abandoned, and the view that one is worthy and well liked.
Attachment Styles in Intimate Relationships Attachment Styles The expectations people develop about relationships with others, based on the relationship they had with their primary caregiver when they were infants. Secure Attachment Style An attachment style characterized by trust, a lack of concern with being abandoned, and the view that one is worthy and well liked Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment Style An attachment style characterized by a concern that others will not reciprocate ones desire for intimacy, resulting in higher-than-average levels of anxiety. Avoidant Attachment Style An attachment style characterized by a suppression of attachment needs, because attempts to be intimate have been rebuffed; people with this style find it difficult to develop intimate relationships.
ATTACHMENT STYLE COMBINATIONS ANXIOUS AND AVOIDANT PEOPLE BECOME COUPLES BECAUSE THEY BOTH MATCH EACH OTHERS RELATIONSHIP SCHEMA: ANXIOUS PEOPLE EXPECT TO BE MORE INVESTED IN THEIR RELATIONSHIPS THAN THEIR PARTNERS. AVOIDANT PEOPLE EXPECT TO BE LESS COMMITTED THAN THEIR PARTNERS.
Attachment theory does not mean that if people had unhappy relationships with their parents, they are doomed to repeat this same kind of unhappy relationship with everyone they ever meet. People can and do change; their experiences in relationships can help them learn new and more healthy ways of relating to others than what they experienced as children. In fact, it may be that people can develop more than one attachment style over time, as a result of their various experiences in close relationships.
Social Exchange in Long-Term Relationships Couples were found to focus more on rewards during the first months of their relationships. If the relationships were perceived as offering a lot of rewards, the people reported feeling happy and satisfied. The perception of rewards continued to be important over time. At seven months, couples who were still together believed their rewards had increased over time. Rewards are always important to the outcome; costs become increasingly important over time. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Investment Model The theory that peoples commitment to a relationship depends not only on their satisfaction with the relationship in terms of rewards, costs, and comparison level and their comparison level for alternatives but also on how much they have invested in the relationship that would be lost by leaving it. Of course, we know that many people do not leave their partners, even when they are dissatisfied and their other alternatives look bright. Research indicates that we need to consider at least one additional factor to understand close relationshipsa persons level of investment in the relationship.
Investment Model To predict whether people will stay in an intimate relationship, we need to know: (1) How satisfied they are with the relationship, (2) What they think of the alternatives, and (3) How great their investment in the relationship is.
Equity in Long-Term Relationships Does equity theory operate in long-term relationships the same way it does in new or less intimate relationships? Not exactly: The more we get to know someone, the more reluctant we are to believe that we are simply exchanging favors and the less inclined we are to expect immediate compensation for a favor done. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Exchange & Communal Relationships Exchange Relationships Relationships governed by the need for equity (i.e., for an equal ratio of rewards and costs). Communal Relationships Relationships in which peoples primary concern is being responsive to the other persons needs.
ENDING INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS The current American divorce rate is nearly 50 percent of the current marriage rate and has been for the past two decades. And of course, countless romantic relationships between unmarried individuals end every day. After many years of studying what love is and how it blooms, social psychologists are now beginning to explore the end of the storyhow it dies. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.
Caryl Rusbults identified four types of behavior that occur in troubled relationships. Destructive behaviors Actively harming the relationship (e.g., abusing the partner, threatening to break up, actually leaving). Passively allowing the relationship to deteriorate (e.g., refusing to deal with problems, ignoring the partner or spending less time together, putting no energy into the relationship). Constructive behaviors Actively trying to improve the relationship (e.g., discussing problems, trying to change, going to a therapist). Passively remaining loyal to the relationship (e.g., waiting and hoping that the situation will improve, being supportive rather than fighting, remaining optimistic).
The Experience of Breaking Up Can we predict the different ways people will feel when their relationship ends? The breakers, those who indicated a high level of responsibility for the breakup, decision feel less distress over the breakup than do the breakees, the ones they break up with.
The Experience of Breaking Up The breakup moral? If you find yourself in a romantic relationship and your partner seems inclined to break it off, try to end it mutually. Your experience will be less traumatic because you will share some control over the process (even if you dont want it to happen).
Social Psychology Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College slides by Travis Langley Henderson State University 6th edition