Why do people form relationships with others? People are social animals who have a basic “need to belong” Newborns are responsive to human faces Infants engage in social smiling Having close social ties is associated with being happier & more satisfied, and not having them with loneliness, depression, worse physical health, and earlier death.
Why are people initially attracted to each other? Exercise:
Proximity/Propinquity PROXIMITY/propinquity (or geographical closeness) is one of the most powerful predictors of whether two people will become friends.
Proximity Segal (1974) Police trainees: Proximity was a better predictor of friendship formation than was similarity (e.g., in religion, hobbies, age, marital status, or organizational memberships). Trainees sitting next to each other in class more likely to become friends
Proximity Festinger, Schachter, & Back, 1950 Proximity and friendship in married student housing. Person most often named as a friend lived next door.
Why would physical proximity increase the chances that we will like someone? More interaction: Paths cross, learn about similarities, feel liked by other person, etc. Familiarity: General principle (humans, other animals)
Mere exposure effect (Zajonc) Mere exposure: The tendency for novel stimuli to be liked more or rated more positively after one has been repeatedly exposed to them. Novel stimuli (e.g., Turkish words, Chinese characters, men’s faces) Iv=number of exposures DV=liking Results: Preferred stimuli had seen____________.
Mere exposure studies (Zajonc & colleagues) Women wore headphones and, in one ear, heard a prose passage and repeated the words outloud, checking for errors. In the second ear, they “heard” novel melodies played so softly they were not aware that they had heard them. IV: Melodies “heard” below awareness (i.e., subliminally) versus melodies never heard. DVs: –Recognition of melodies (Have you ever heard this melody before? Yes or No?) –Liking for melodies (Do you like this melody? Yes or No?) Results: Recognition ___________chance. But, _________ liking for the melodies that they had previously “heard.”
Mere exposure and awareness Mere exposure effect occurs even when people are NOT aware that they have been exposed to the stimulus.
Mere exposure and attraction How might “mere exposure” work in a context relevant to attraction?
Proximity leads to liking Moreland & Beach, 1992 IV: Four female confederates attended large class 0, 5, 10, or 15 times DV: How much liked slides of confederate at end of semester Results: The _________times confederate attended the class, the _____ she was liked.
Familiarity leads to liking Familiarity breeds liking. –But, most studies used neutral or positive stimuli. –(Does familiarity ever breed contempt?)
Physical attractiveness We are biased to prefer physically attractive people.
Physical attractiveness Bias to like children who are attractive Dion (1972) IV: mild vs. severe misbehavior IV: attractive or unattractive photo of child DV: Rate typicality of behavior Results: Severe misbehavior rated more typical when performed by an ___________child than an __________child.
Physical attractiveness is associated with liking. Hatfield et al. (1966) Couples randomly paired at “computer dance” Assessed personality, aptitude, physical attractiveness Results: Only physical attractiveness predicted liking and wanting to see the person again. (True for men and women.)
What is attractive or beautiful? Is it an objective measureable quality, or is it more in the “eye of the beholder”? Brief video clip
Is attractiveness objective? Arguments for Objective Standard High consensus across countries, race/ethnicities –Agree on attractiveness of faces and body types (F: hourglass; M: v-shaped)
Objective standards? Particular features are associated with attractiveness –F: large eyes, prominent cheekbones, small nose, wide smile –M: broad jaw, large eyes, prominent cheekbones, wide smile
Objective standards? Babies look longer at faces rated as attractive by adults. (less likely to be affected by cultural standards)
Is attractiveness subjective? Arguments for Subjective Standard Cross-cultural differences in ways to look beautiful –Face painting, plastic surgery, scarring, piercings, etc. –Variations in preference for female body size
Subjective? Standards of beauty within a culture change over time –Marilyn Monroe versus Gwenyth Paltrow
Subjective? When we like people, we see them as more attractive.
Attractiveness Standards Probably both universal and variable components of attractiveness Overall, physical attractiveness predicts more positive evaluations (true in childhood and later in life)
Why are physically attractive people liked more? Aesthetic appeal. People and objects may be more rewarding when their appearance is pleasing.
Why are physically attractive people liked more? What is Beautiful is Good stereotype: The belief that physically attractive individuals possess other desirable characteristics (e.g., more sociable, outgoing, happier, assertive) –Fairy tales (Cinderella=beautiful; step-sisters = ugly, fat; Snow White) –Media (counterexample: Shrek)
Physical attractiveness and self-fulfilling prophecy Self-fulfilling prophecy: If we expect that a person has positive qualities, then we may act more favorably toward that person and, as a consequence, bring out positive qualities.
Self-fulfilling prophecy (Snyder, Tanke & Berscheid, 1977) Men received “background” information about a woman they were about to talk with on a phone, info included a photo. Women received same info, but no photo. IV: Photo of woman either attractive or unattractive DVs: 1) Men’s expectations about the woman 2) Observers’ ratings of the woman’s behavior Results: When men expected that the woman was______________, she was judged as _______, more ________, and more _______ than when men believed they were talking with an _________ woman. (self-fulfilling prophecy)
It’s true for women too Andersen and Bem (1981) replication –Women who saw photo of an attractive or unattractive man created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Why are physically attractive people liked more? Attractive people develop better social skills. –Gender Physically attractive men > socially skilled (confident, assertive). Physically attractive women < socially skilled. –Beauty may make it harder to avoid sex role stereotype.
Why are attractive people liked more? Social profit: People may be attracted to those perceived as physically attractive because they believe that some of the glory may rub off on them. –True with some qualifications
Social profit Assimilation effects occur when: –Both men & women are paired w/an attractive same-sex partner and appear at the same time. –Men are paired with an attractive female partner and appear at the same time.
No social profit Contrast effects occur when the attractive person appears before the less attractive person.
Implications If you go to a party with a very attractive friend, be sure to walk into the party at the same time!
Four reasons prefer attractive people (summary) Aesthetic appeal What is beautiful is good Better social skills Social profit No single factor; Probably all contribute
When is attractiveness important? Attractiveness is important in first impressions. –Attractiveness and grooming predict first impressions in job interviews (Cash & Janda, 1984; Mack & Rainey, 1990; Marvelle & Green, 1980). May become less important as we become more acquainted with the other person.
Downsides to attractiveness Unwanted sexual advances Resentment, jealousy from others Unsure why people like you (for looks or inner qualities)
Consequences for physically attractive people…may not always trust praise Major et al. (1984): Ps wrote an essay that they believed would be judged by another subject of the opposite sex. Quasi-IV: Men and women who perceived themselves as either very physically attractive or unattractive. IV 2: Told evaluator would watch thru one-way mirror while s/he wrote essay or that evaluator could not see them. All were given an identical highly positive evaluation of their work Results: Unattractive Ps felt _______about the quality of their work when they thought the evaluator could _____ them; attractive subjects felt better when thought evaluator could _________them.
What does attractiveness predict? Physical attractiveness of college students does not predict adjustment or well-being in middle age. More attractive, more likely to marry, but not more satisfied w/marriage and not happier w/life in general.
Summary Proximity increases the chances that we’ll meet someone. Familiarity helps us feel at ease. Beauty may increase the chances of a first encounter and provide aesthetic rewards. What determines whether people actually develop a longer relationship?
Do birds of a feather flock together, or do opposites attract? Similarity is the rule. Newcomb (1961): Unacquainted male transfer students. After 13 wks of living together in a boardinghouse, those whose agreement in backgrounds was initially highest were most likely to have formed close friendships.
Similarity Griffitt & Veitch (1974) confined 13 unacquainted volunteers (men) in a fallout shelter. By knowing the men’s opinions on different issues, the researchers were able to predict significantly better than chance which people each man would most like and most dislike.
Similarity Sprecher & Duck (1994) paired 83 student couples on blind get-acquainted dates. The 16% who saw each other for a second date were more similar to each other than those who did not see each other a second time.
Matching in physical attractiveness People tend to pair with partners who are about as physically attractive as they are. Predicts success of relationship (more similar in attractiveness, more likely to stay together)
Do opposites attract? No, not in general. –Lots of research, almost no support.
What factors might lead people to fall in love? –All those we’ve mentioned and more.
Two kinds of romantic love: Passionate love (state of high arousal, being in love is ectasy) Companionate love, which is a more stable longer-term love, based on feelings of intimacy and affection.
Passionate love What leads to passionate love? –Culture must believe in idea of “romantic love.”
Passionate love Must come into contact with someone who is an appropriate love object. –Role of chance
Passionate love –Given a chance encounter, what increases the probability that you will fall in love? Role of arousal
Passionate love Two factor theory of passionate love (Hatfield & Berscheid) First, person must experience a general state of arousal Second, person must attribute this arousal to the potential partner
Passionate love Excitation transfer: the process whereby arousal caused by one stimulus (e.g., an anxiety provoking situation) is added to the arousal from a second stimulus (e.g., an attractive potential partner) and the combined arousal is attributed to the second stimulus (e.g., the potential partner)
Excitation transfer? Dutton & Aron (1974) Quasi-IV: Walked across a scary suspension bridge (high arousal) or a more standard bridge (low arousal) DV: Later calls or does not call the attractive female E Results: Men who had crossed the scary bridge were ____________to call the attractive female E than those who had crossed the standard bridge. Can you think of any alternative interpretations?