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Why Do We Form Relationships?

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Presentation on theme: "Why Do We Form Relationships?"— Presentation transcript:

1 Why Do We Form Relationships?
Professor Tamara Arrington COM 252 University of Kentucky

2 Attraction Social attraction Physical attraction Task attraction
Desire to belong to a group, person, or society Physical attraction Strongest predictor of initial interaction Task attraction Desire to have something done

3 We Like People Who Are Similar To Us…
…Usually Common ground – interests, experiences Attraction is greatest when we are similar to others in a high % of important areas

4 We Like People Who Are Different From Us…
…In Certain Ways Complementarity Balance and adjustment are key

5 We Like People Who Like Us…
…Usually! We are attracted to people we believe are attracted to us People who approve of us strengthen our self-concept We must see their interest as sincere

6 We Are Attracted To People Who Can Help Us
                                  We seek out people who can give us rewards – either physical or emotional Healthy relationships seek out equitable exchanges

7 We Like Competent People…
…Especially when they’re “human” We want their competencies to reflect well on us BUT – we don’t want to look bad in comparison                                  

8 We Are Attracted To People Who Disclose Themselves To Us…
Appropriately! It suggests respect and trust Needs to be appropriate in breadth & depth Sometimes timing is everything

9 We Feel Strongly About People We Encounter Often
Proximity leads to liking Chances are we will choose a mate whom we cross paths with often Of course, familiarity can also breed contempt!

10 Personal Relationships and Physical Attractiveness

11 Physical Attractiveness
Important in mating behavior Appreciation for beauty may be biological (based on studies of infant and children’s preferences) Though the ideal changes over time and across cultures, there is basic agreement on who is and is not considered physically attractive.

12 Evolutionary Perspective
Physical attractiveness in a partner generally more important to males. Cues to female’s health and reproductive potential Females prefer partners who show signs of physical ability, intellect, ambition, and status – ability to generate and control resources. Height in males given a high rating by females.

13 Sociocultural Perspective
Effect of female’s beauty seems to transfer to some extent to the man she is with. The same does NOT apply to women. Likewise, when with physically unattractive persons, we are perceived as being less physically attractive ourselves.

14 Attributes Assigned to the Physically Attractive
Warmer More sexually responsive More sensitive More sociable More nurturing Assumed to have more prestigious occupations More masculine (men) or feminine (women) Kinder More interesting Stronger More poised More outgoing More exciting on dates Seen as happier Seen as better husband/wife potential

15 Benefits of Physical Attractiveness
More likely to get offers of assistance in times of need More cooperation in conflict situations Elicit more self-disclosure More effective at persuasion More likely to be hired, and seen as more effective on the job Less likely to be found guilty by a jury (with a few exceptions) Mental health connection – for both clients and therapists

16 Communicative Implications of Physical Attractiveness
More social options & can be more selective Self-fulfilling prophecy in social situations Rated as more social, sexually warmer, more permissive and interesting.

17 Relational Implications
Dating The Matching Hypothesis Friendships Marriage More stable when matched We “aim high, but are tempered by a bit of realism”.


19 The Downside As a group, seen as egotistical, snobbish, and vain
Not viewed as high in integrity or having concern for others Less physically attractive are seen as more honest and moral Men and women later in life – better to have been an attractive young male than a female Those less attractive more likely to “make up for it” in other ways

20 Discussion Questions Research suggests that we often underestimate the influence of physical attractiveness in our personal relationships. Why do you think this is so? What are the major relational advantages and disadvantages of being physically attractive? How do you account for gender differences in the emphasis on physical attractiveness? Do you favor an evolutionary or a sociocultural approach?

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