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Attraction Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction.

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Presentation on theme: "Attraction Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction."— Presentation transcript:

1 Attraction Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

2 Biological origins of attraction Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

3 Evolutionary explanation 1: Neurobiology of love According to Fisher (2004)love has evolved and has produced three distinct motivational brain systems in all birds and mammals to direct courtship, mating, reproduction, and parenting: attraction, the sex drive, and attachment. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

4 Evolutionary explanation 1: Neurobiology of love The three systems interact with each other to produce the combination of emotions, motivations, and behaviors associated with love. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

5 1. Attraction is the equivalent to human romantic love in animals according to Fisher (2004). Attraction is characterized by increased energy, focused attention on a specific mate, obsessive following, romantic gestures, possessive mate- guarding, and motivation to win a preferred mating partner. Attraction evolved to motivate individuals to select and focus courtship attention on a favored partner. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

6 2. The Sex Drive (libido) is characterized by craving for sexual gratification. In humans, this is associated primarily with testosterone in both men and women. The sex drive evolved to produce offspring. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

7 3. Attachment Mutual nest building, grooming, maintenance of close proximity, separation anxiety, and shared parental chores characterize attachment in animals. Oxytocin Attachment evolved to motivate individuals to stay with the preferred reproductive partner long enough to complete parental duties and experience this as rewarding. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

8 fMRI study of neurobiological mechanism of attraction Fisher et al. (2003) Aim: To investigate the neural mechanisms associated with the attraction system (romantic love). Procedure: Participants were 10 women and seven men aged from 18 to 26, who reported being in love for an average of 7.5 months. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

9 fMRI study of neurobiological mechanism of attraction Fisher et al. (2003) The participants first filled out a questionnaire (The Passionate Love Scale) to investigate how they felt about their relationship. Then they were placed in the fMRI scanner. They first looked at a photograph of their beloved, then performed a distraction task of counting backwards, and finally they looked at a photograph of a neutral acquaintance. This was repeated 6 times. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

10 fMRI study of neurobiological mechanism of attraction Fisher et al. (2003) Results: There was increased activity in the dopamine rich brain areas associated with reward, motivation, and goal orientation when participants looked at their lover. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

11 fMRI study of neurobiological mechanism of attraction Fisher et al. (2003) The results indicate the possibility of brain circuits dedicated to attraction (romantic love). The same brain circuits have been associated with addiction, which could support the hypothesis that romantic love is an addiction. Fisher argues that romantic love is universal and based on neurobiological factors. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

12 Evolutionary explanation 2: Partner selection based on genes Natural selection would favor couples that have genes which mutually enhance their offsprings chances of survival. This could be one way to select a preferred partner. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

13 The sweaty T-shirt experiment – or investigating mate preference based on genetic makeup in relation to immune system functioning Wedekind (1995) The experiment studied whether females would be able to identify males who had a genetic make-up which, in combination with her own, would boost the immune system of potential children. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

14 The sweaty T-shirt experiment The study focused on a particular complex of genes (MHC genes) in the immune system known for the ability to protect against pathogens. A group of 94 students (half male and half female) participated in the experiment. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

15 The sweaty T-shirt experiment The men were asked to sleep with a T-Shirt for two nights and keep it in a plastic bag. After two days the women were asked to rate how agreeable they found the smell of the T-shirts. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

16 The sweaty T-shirt experiment The women had to smell seven different T-shirts. One was a control. Three of them contained T- shirts from men with an immune system similar to their own. Three contained T-shirts from men with an immune system that was dissimilar to the womens own –this should be the best match in terms of genes. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

17 The sweaty T-shirt experiment Results showed that women preferred the odors of men with an immune system dissimilar to their own. This lends support to the evolutionary explanations of mate selection in humans. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

18 The sweaty T-shirt experiment The experiment demonstrated that attraction was influenced by biological factors. The women preferred men with a genetic make-up that could increase the health of potential babies. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

19 Evaluation of evolutionary explanations Research studies make it plausible that there are universal biological systems involved in attraction and love but this does not rule out that cultural factors may play an important role in attraction. Evolutionary theories cannot explain attraction and love between same-sex partners since such relationships are not formed to produce offspring. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

20 Psychological origins of attraction NO longer this But this instead Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

21 Similarity-attraction hypothesis Burne (1971) The theory assumes that people are likely to be attracted to individuals who are perceived to be similar to themselves. People who share our attitudes and values validate ourselves and boosts our self-esteem, which in turn leads to attraction. Well supported in research!!! Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

22 Similarity-attraction hypothesis Markey and Markey (2007) Aim: To investigate the role of similarity in choosing romantic partners Procedure: A self-selected sample of 103 female and 66 male undergraduate students who were single but interested in finding a romantic partner (mean age 19.01) were recruited through advertisements. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

23 Markey and Markey (2007) Participants first completed a questionnaire where they rated their own personality and then described the personality of their romantic ideal. They also completed filler questionnaires to disguise the true purpose of the study. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

24 Markey and Markey (2007) The results showed that all participants wanted a romantic partner similar to themselves. Warm people were attracted to others who were warm. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

25 Markey and Markey (2007) A follow-up study with a new sample found that romantic couples who experienced high levels of love and harmony were more likely to consist of one individual who was dominant and one who was submissive. What does this mean? Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

26 Sociocultural origins of attraction Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

27 Proximity factor The proximity theory of attraction suggests that simply being in the physical presence of another individual will enhance the probability of becoming friends. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

28 The role of proximity on friendship patterns Festinger et al. (1950) Aim: The aim of the field study was to investigate formation of friendship patterns at Westgate Housing for student couples. Procedure: The researchers made observations and interviewed the residents regularly. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

29 The role of proximity on friendship patterns Festinger et al. (1950) Results Results showed that proximity or opportunities to bump into each other on a daily basis increased chances for friendships. After some months more than 10 times as many friendships had developed with people who lived in the same building, and even more with people who lived next door. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

30 The role of proximity on friendship patterns Festinger et al. (1950) The researchers suggest that physical proximity increases opportunities for interaction, which in turn increases familiarity. mere exposure effect is enough to increase liking. Also, we seem to be most attracted to people who are similar to us (see the similarity-attraction hypothesis) because people who resemble us or agree with us also reassure us (Fiske, 2004). Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

31 The role of proximity on friendship patterns Festinger et al. (1950) Geographical proximity may still be a factor in finding friends and lovers but with the Internet, dating sites, and chat rooms people at distance can now easily contact each other and develop friendships or romantic relationships. The Internet is thus creating a psychological proximity that can replace the geographical proximity. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

32 Cultural factors in attraction Evolutionary theories claim that attraction is determined by biological factors. This implies that men and women should prefer the same in their partners (universal factors) but this is only true to some extent. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

33 Buss et al. (1990) Aim: The aim of the International Mate Selection Project was to identify the characteristics that individuals valued in potential mates worldwide. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

34 Buss et al. (1990) Procedure Participants were 9,474 individuals from 37 cross- cultural samples (33 countries and five islands on six continents; mean age 23.15). The data was collected through two questionnaires developed in the USA and translated. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

35 Buss et al. (1990) Results: Respondents in nearly all cultures rated mutual attraction and love as the most important in a relationship. This shows that the desire for mutual love in a relationship is not merely a Western phenomenon. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

36 Buss et al. (1990) Chastity showed the largest effect for culture (37% of the variance). Chastity was valued in China, India, Taiwan, Palestinian Israel, and Iran. Respondents in the Netherlands and the Scandinavian countries did not care about chastity. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

37 Buss et al. (1990) Good financial prospects, good earning capacity, ambition, and social status are consistently valued more in a partner by women than men cross-culturally. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

38 Buss et al. (1990) Youth is valued more by men than women. Men prefer wives that are younger but how much younger depends on the culture. In cultures that allow many wives, there may be large age differences. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

39 Buss et al. (1990) Physical attractiveness in a partner is valued more by men than women. Cross-cultural norms of physical attractiveness are, for example, clear and supple skin, regular features, full lips. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction

40 Buss et al. (1990) Evaluation: The study suffered from problems of translation back translation in the questionnaires, which could decrease validity of the results. The samples for each country were not representative so it is impossible to generalize the findings. Examine biological, psychological, and social origins of attraction


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