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Social Psychology Lecture 7: Attraction (Chapter 13; Hogg & Vaughan)

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Presentation on theme: "Social Psychology Lecture 7: Attraction (Chapter 13; Hogg & Vaughan)"— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Psychology Lecture 7: Attraction (Chapter 13; Hogg & Vaughan)

2 At the end of the lecture... Why do we find people Attractive? –Proximity –Reciprocity principle –Similarity of attitudes –Assortative Mating Theories of Attraction and Relationships –Reinforcement Affect Model –Social Exchange –Equity

3 Why Affiliate? The need to affiliate is a powerful human motive that causes people to seek out other people (affiliative behaviour). People’s need to be with others fluctuates over time and context and also differs between people Humans belong in groups. Groups provide us with aspects of our identity. They also can offer support networks, friendships and partners.

4 Why Affiliate? The consequences of not being able to be with people are highly aversive, with a range of deleterious effects. Long-term social isolation can lead to depression, apathy, and hallucinations, similar effects to those produced by sensory deprivation. Impoverished social interaction, or separation from one’s mother (maternal deprivation) in early childhood, can retard development and produce apathy and depression (hospitalism).

5 Does physical attractiveness matter? Despite what we would like to think, physical attractiveness really matters. Within cultures, people agree on who is attractive, and attractive people are judged more positively on a wide range of dimensions. –Judged as more honest –Judged as less maladjusted and disturbed –Judged as more likely to be hired after a job interview –Rated as happier, more successful, better personality –Given an easier time by jurors, if they were female –Evaluated more highly on their written work, if they were female

6 Figure 13.1 Effect of perceived attractiveness on grades given to essays of varying quality Source: Based on data from Landy & Sigall (1974)

7 Evolutionary Social Psychology? Evolutionary biology and evolutionary psychology have made strong arguments for the power of human genetic inheritance in accounting for what attracts people to each other –Assessment of ‘good’ genes –Reproductive fitness –Mating Strategies Concentrate on social and cultural explanations

8 Why do find people attractive? Proximity is important: We tend, initially anyway, to like people who are physically close to us. These are people who we see everyday, work with, live nearby, and so forth. –Availability: people who live close by are accessible, so interaction with them requires little effort or reward –Expectation of continued interaction: This can be exciting, seeing someone again. Equally if you think you’re not going see someone again, then you rate them as less attractive

9 Figure 13.4 Mere exposure and attraction Source: Based on Moreland & Beach (1992) This study tests ‘mere exposure’ in a university class setting Four new women’ students’ took part in the class on 0, 5, 10 or 15 occasions At the end of the term, students in the class rated slides of the women for several characteristics Weak effect for familiarity but increasing effect for attractiveness

10 Why do find people attractive? reciprocity principle: We tend to like those who like us Studies have shown that when placed in discussion groups in which they were led to believe they were liked or disliked, participants who were liked were more attracted to the group(Dittes and Kelley, 1956) We prefer those who grow to like us more than those who’s liking for us is on the wane (gain-loss hypothesis). Particularly effected by self-esteem. If our self-esteem is low we tend to put more credence in people who like us.

11 Why do find people attractive? Similarity of attitudes: We also like those whose attitudes and values are similar to our own. Overall, relationships tend to rest on a broad-based similarity match between people. Byrne and Clore (1974) came up with the ‘law of attraction’. He argued that there was a positive correlation between the proportion of attitudes associated with a person and an attraction towards that person. Clore (1976) argues that this follows an reinforcement principle. More they agree, the more they like each other, the more one person likes the other, that other person then likes then more…..

12 Why do find people attractive? Assortative Mating: We tend to see people mating with people who are of a similar size, or similar in their ‘good- lookingness’. This is called positive assortative mating. People are ‘evenly matched’ in their physical appearance, social background and personality.

13 Why do find people attractive? Mutual self-disclosure, sharing of intimate feelings and information, is a critically important factor in long-term, close relationships. Taylor’s (1973) model of social penetration. We share more intimate topics with a close friend than casual acquaintance or a stranger Based on the reciprocity principle –We disclose to those we like –We like those who disclose to us –We like those to whom we have disclosed Leads to positive affect Also enables trust in relationships: If tell you a secret, you might tell me a secret

14 Table 13.1 Determinants of initial attraction in three types of relationship

15 Theories of attraction and relationships A simple reinforcement model of attraction states that we like people who reinforce us. The reinforcement-affect model states that we also like people who are present when we are reinforced: They become associated with the positive reinforcement and are viewed positively. –People identify stimuli as rewarding or punishing and seek out the former while avoiding the latter –Positive feelings are associated with rewarding stimuli and negative feeling with punishing stimuli –Neutral stimuli that is associated with reward will elicit positive feelings, and that is associated with punishment lead to negative feelings

16 Figure 13.7 The reinforcement–affect quality model: attraction is influenced by conditioning Source: Based on Clore & Byrne (1974)

17 Theories of Attraction Social Exchange Theory How people feel about a relationship depends on their perceptions of the rewards and costs of the relationship, the kind of relationship they deserve, and their chances for having a better relationship with someone. Rewards: Pleasing to have our attitudes validated, thus the more similar our attitudes are with another person the more reward. It is rewarding to be around someone who likes us and is physically attractive. Costs: Emotional turmoil. Time Out come = Rewards – Costs (negative is a problem)

18 Theories of Attraction Social Exchange Theory Initial Attraction: Social Exchange theory suggests how people feel, positively or negatively about their relationships will depend on their perception of the rewards they will receive from the relationship and the costs they will incur, as well as the perception of what kind of relationship they deserve, and the probability that they could have a better relationship with someone else.

19 Theories of Attraction Social Exchange Theory Extends to satisfaction with relationships Rewards, Costs and Comparison(Secord & Backman, 1964) Rewards and Costs…. Comparison: You amass a history of relationships with other people. This history has led you to have certain expectations, as to what your current and future relationships should be like, Some people have high comparisons (lots of rewards – few costs). If expectations don’t meet comparison level you are likely to be dissatisfied.

20 Theories of Attraction Equity theory (Walster, Walster, & Bersceid, 1978) People are just not out to get the most rewards and least costs; they are also concerned about the equity in their relationships, wherein the rewards, costs and contributions they make to the relationship are roughly equal to the rewards, costs and contribution of the other person. Equitable relationships are the happiest and the most stable, while inequitable relationships result in one person being over benefited and one under benefited. In inequity relationships both partners should seek equity. This makes sense for the unbenefited people – why continue to be unhappy. However, over benefiting from the relationship is an uncomfortable social norm,.

21 At the end of the lecture... Why do we find people Attractive? –Proximity –Reciprocity principle –Similarity of attitudes –Assortative Mating Theories of Attraction and Relationships –Reinforcement Affect Model –Social Exchange –Equity


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