2 Chapter 12: Social Psychology What happened at Abu Ghraib?The case of Abu Ghraib challenges many commonsense notions about human nature and forces us to consider questions about humanity’s dark sideIs something wrong with people who humiliate, beat, rape, torture, and murder others?Or are they just normal people caught up in overwhelming situations that shape their actions?
3 FIGURE 12.1a When Good People Go Bad (a) Were soldier-guards at Abu Ghraib who harassed, threatened, and tortured prisoners just a few “bad apples,” or were they normal people reacting to an extreme situation? Why do you think so?
4 FIGURE 12.1b When Good People Go Bad (b) In the Stanford prison study, student-guards took on their roles with such vigor that the study was ended early because of concerns for the well-being of the “guards” and the “prisoners.” If this study were conducted at your school today, what would you predict the results to be? What knowledge of people, and specifically of your peers, is your answer based on?
5 12.1 How Do We Form Our Impressions of Others? Identify the goals of social psychology.Discuss the role that nonverbal behavior plays in impression formation.Define the fundamental attribution error and the actor/observer discrepancy.Describe the functions and self-fulfilling effects of stereotypes.Distinguish between prejudice and discrimination.Distinguish between ingroups and outgroups.Discuss strategies to inhibit stereotypes and reduce prejudice.
6 “Show Your Pride”Scientists are finding more and more that different types of nonverbal communication have consistent defining characteristics. As this ScienCentral News video reports, researchers hope this will lead to a way to improve human communication.
7 How Do We Form Our Impressions of Others? Social psychology is concerned with how people influence other people’s thoughts, feelings, and actionsWe constantly make social judgments and automatically classify people into social categoriesSocial psychologists have shown that our long-term evaluations of people are heavily influenced by our first impressions
8 Nonverbal Actions and Expressions Affect Our First Impressions How you initially feel about others will be determined mostly by their nonverbal behavior (i.e., facial expressions, gestures, mannerisms, and movements)Thin slices of behavior: Seconds-long observations offer powerful cues for impression formationParticipants viewed soundless 30-second film clips of college teachers lecturing and then were asked to rate the lecturers’ teaching abilityRatings corresponded very highly with the ratings given by the instructors’ students (Ambady & Rosenthal, 1993)
9 “Voting Influence”Researchers have discovered that where you vote can influence how you vote. They found that images that surround you, what consumer researchers call “cues,” could influence your decisions.
10 FIGURE 12.2 Reading Nonverbal Behavior People’s body language affects our impressions of the people and their situations. What does this picture suggest about this couple? Which details support your impressions?
11 FIGURE 12.3 Nonverbal Cues from Body Shape After watching a 10-second clip of a figural outline such as this one, participants correctly guessed the figure’s sexual orientation at a better-than-chance rate. In other words, thin slices of behavior can be sufficient cues for us to form general impressions about people.
12 Facial ExpressionsThe first thing we notice about another person is the faceHuman babies less than an hour old prefer to look at and will track a picture of a human face rather than a blank outline of a head (Morton & Johnson, 1991)The face communicates information such as emotional state, interest, and distrustEye contact is important in social situations, though how we perceive it depends on our culture
13 We Make Attributions About Others We constantly try to explain other people’s motives, traits, and preferencesAttributions: explanations for events or actions, including other people’s behaviorWe are motivated to draw inferences in part by a basic need for both order and predictabilityJust World hypothesis: When bad things happen to people, we make sense of it by blaming the victim—victims must have done something to justify what happened to them
14 Attributional Dimensions Fritz Heider distinguished between two types of attributions:Personal/internal or dispositional attributions: refer to things within people, such as abilities, moods, or effortsSituational/external attributions: refer to outside events, such as luck, accidents, or the actions of other peopleBernard Weiner noted that attributions can vary on other dimensions:They can be stable over time (permanent) or unstable (temporary)They can be controllable or uncontrollable
15 Attributions About the Self We tend to have a self-serving bias in making attributions about our own behavior:We attribute our failures to situational, unstable, or uncontrollable factors in a way that casts us in a positive lightWe attribute our successes to personal, permanent factors in a way that gives us credit for doing wellExample: If you fail a test, you may blame your poor performance on your not getting enough sleep or on the professor’s creating a bad exam; if you do well on a test, you may attribute that good performance to your being smart
16 Attributional BiasPeople tend to be systematically biased when they process social informationFundamental attribution error: pervasive tendency to overemphasize the importance of personality traits and underestimate the importance of a situation when explaining another’s behaviorBegan as the correspondence bias: We expect others’ behavior to correspond with their beliefs and personalitiesActor/observer discrepancy: When interpreting our own behavior, we tend to focus on situations; when interpreting other people’s behavior, we tend to focus on dispositions
17 FIGURE 12.4 Fundamental Attribution Error Since 1984, Alex Trebek has hosted the enormously popular television game show Jeopardy! Here Trebek converses with three contestants on the show. Viewers exhibit the fundamental attribution error when they assume Trebek must be very smart because he knows so much information. Trebek may indeed be very smart. But when viewers develop this belief based on his performance on the show, they neglect to take into account that he knows the questions and the answers because writers have provided them on cards.
18 Stereotypes Are Based on Automatic Characterization Stereotypes: cognitive schemas that help us organize information about people on the basis of their membership in certain groupsAllow for easy, fast processing of social informationOccur automatically, largely outside of our awarenessAffect impression formationStereotypes are self-maintaining: They direct our attention toward information that confirms them and away from disconfirming evidencesubtyping: When we encounter someone who does not fit a stereotype, we put that person in a special category rather than alter the stereotype
19 FIGURE 12.5a Stereotypes(a) Would this photo, of fans at a 2010 Olympic Gold Medal Hockey game between Canada and the United States, lead you to think that all Canadians like hockey?
20 FIGURE 12.5b Stereotypes(b) Would this photo lead you to think that all women in Canada look like the Canadian singer Céline Dion? what do the differences between these photos and between your responses to them tell you about stereotypes?.
21 Self-Fulfilling Effects Self-fulfilling prophecy: tendency to behave in ways that confirm our own or others’ expectationsTeachers’ expectations of students’ success/failure can impact those students’ performances (Rosenthal & Jacobson, 1968; McKown & Weinstein, 2008)Women performed more poorly on a math test when they were initially reminded of their sex (Shih, Pittinsky, & Ambady, 1999)Effects of stereotype threat reflect three interrelated mechanisms:physiological stressthinking about one’s performance is distractingsuppressing negative thoughts/emotions requires a great deal of effort
22 Stereotypes Can Lead to Prejudice Stereotypes may be positive, neutral, or negativeNegative stereotypes can lead to:prejudice: negative feelings, opinions, and beliefs associated with a stereotype;discrimination: inappropriate and unjustified treatment of people as a result of prejudiceWhy do stereotypes lead to prejudice and discrimination?Personality factorsPeople treat others as scapegoats to relieve stressPeople discriminate against others to protect their own self-esteemWe favor our own groups and stigmatize those who pose threats to our groups
23 FIGURE 12.6 Ingroup/Outgroup Bias People tend to identify strongly with the groups to which they belong. Here, during the semifinal match of the 2011 Men’s World Hockey Championships, players from Sweden (in the yellow and blue uniforms) fight with players from the Czech Republic.
24 Ingroup/ Outgroup Bias Groups to which we belong are ingroups; those to which we do not belong are outgroupsOutgroup homogeneity effect: Once we categorize others as ingroup or outgroup members, we tend to view outgroup members as less varied than ingroup membersIngroup favoritism: We are more likely to distribute resources to ingroup members than to outgroup members. We are more willing to do favors for ingroup members and to forgive their mistakes or errors.Evolutionarily, personal survival has depended on group survival. Keeping resources within a group while denying resources to outgroup members may have provided a selective advantage.
25 Stereotypes and Perception Stereotypes can influence basic perceptual processes:White participants looked at pictures of either tools or guns and were asked to classify them as quickly as possible. Immediately before seeing a picture, participants were shown a picture of a white face or a black face; they were told that the face was being shown to signal that either a gun or a tool would appear next. Being shown a black face led the participants to identify guns more quickly and to mistake tools for guns (Payne, 2001).Priming people with pictures of weapons (e.g., guns and knives) leads them to pay greater attention to pictures of black faces than to pictures of white faces (Eberhardt, Goff, Purdie, & Davies, 2004)
26 FIGURE 12.7 Scientific Method: Payne’s Experiments on Stereotypes and Perception
27 Inhibiting Stereotypes We can consciously alter our automatic stereotypingPresenting positive examples of admired black individuals (e.g., Denzel Washington) produced more-favorable responses toward African Americans (Dasgupta & Greenwald, 2001)Training people to respond counter-stereotypically —having them press a “no” key when they saw an elderly person paired with a stereotype of the elderly — led to reduced automatic stereotyping (Kawakami, Dovidio, Moll, Hermsen, & Russin, 2000)Telling people that their test scores indicate that they hold negative stereotypes can motivate people to correct their beliefs, and the worse they feel about holding those beliefs, the harder they try not to be biased (Monteith, 1993)In everyday life, inhibiting stereotyped thinking is difficult and requires self-control
28 Cooperation Can Reduce Prejudice In working together toward a greater purpose, people can overcome intergroup hostilitiesSocial psychology suggests strategies for promoting intergroup harmony and producing greater tolerance for outgroups:Sherif et al. (1961): “Robber’s Cave” study showed that introducing superordinate goals reduced hostility between groupsPeople who work together to achieve a common goal often break down subgroup distinctions as they become one larger group (Dovidio et al., 2004)Bilingual instruction in schools leads to less ingroup favoritism among elementary school children (Wright & Tropp, 2005)
29 FIGURE 12.9 Scientific Method: Sherif’s Study of Competition and Cooperation
30 Jigsaw ClassroomPrograms that most successfully bring groups together involve person-to-person interactionEliot Aronson’s jigsaw classroom:Students work together in mixed-race or mixed-sex groups in which each member of the group is an expert on one aspect of the assignment and then return to their own groups and teach the material to their team membersMore than 800 studies of the jigsaw classroom have demonstrated that it leads to more-positive treatment of other ethnicities and that students learn the material better and perform at higher levels
31 12.2 How Do Attitudes Guide Behavior? Explain how attitudes are formed.Identify characteristics of attitudes that are predictive of behavior.Distinguish between explicit and implicit attitudes.Describe cognitive dissonance theory.Identify factors that influence the persuasiveness of messages.Describe the elaboration likelihood model.
32 How Do Attitudes Guide Behavior? Attitudes: people’s evaluations of objects, of events, or of ideasAttitudes are shaped by social context, and they play an important role in how we evaluate and interact with other people
33 We Form Attitudes through Experience and Socialization People tend to develop negative attitudes about new things more quickly than they develop positive attitudes about them (Fazio, Eisner, & Shook, 2004)Mere exposure effect: The more we are exposed to something, the more we tend to like it (Zajonc, 1968; 2001)Attitudes are acquired via classical conditioning (e.g., advertisers associate products with celebrities) and operant conditioning (e.g., rewarding a student for studying may create a positive attitude toward studying)Attitudes are also shaped through socialization (e.g., would you eat a worm?)
34 FIGURE 12.10 The Mere Exposure Effect If he is like most people, U.S. president Barack Obama will prefer (right) his mirror image to (left) his photographic image. There is nothing wrong the photographic image. President Obama will simply be more familiar with the mirror image.
35 Behaviors Are Consistent with Strong Attitudes Stronger, more personally relevant attitudes are more likely to predict behaviorSomeone who grew up in a strongly Democratic household is more likely to register as a Democrat and vote Democratic than someone who grew up in a more politically neutral environmentAttitude specificity: The more specific the attitude, the more predictive it isAttitudes formed through direct experience tend to predict behavior betterAttitude accessibility: Easily activated attitudes are more stable, predictive of behavior, and resistant to change
36 Attitudes Can Be Explicit or Implicit Explicit attitudes: attitudes that a person can reportImplicit attitudes: attitudes that influence a person’s feelings and behavior at an unconscious levelPeople higher in self-reported (explicit) prejudice were indeed less likely to vote for ObamaPeople who reported low levels of prejudice but whose scores on an implicit measure indicated negative attitudes about blacks were also less likely to vote for Obama (Payne et al., 2010)
37 Discrepancies Lead to Dissonance Cognitive dissonance: an uncomfortable mental state due to a contradiction between two attitudes or between an attitude and a behaviorExample: People experience cognitive dissonance when they smoke even though they know that smoking might kill themPeople reduce dissonance by changing their attitudes or behaviors; they sometimes also rationalize or trivialize the discrepancies
38 FIGURE Leon FestingerFestinger’s theory of cognitive dissonance was an important influence on research in experimental social psychology.
39 Postdecisional Dissonance Dissonance arises when a person holds positive attitudes about different options but has to choose one of the optionsExample: A person might have trouble deciding which college to attend; the person might narrow the choice to two or three alternatives and then have to choosePostdecisional dissonance: motivates the person to focus on one school’s — the chosen school’s — positive aspects and the other schools’ negative aspectsEffect occurs automatically, with minimal cognitive processing, and apparently without awareness
40 Insufficient Justification One way to get people to change their attitudes is to change their behaviors first, using as few incentives as possibleParticipants performed an extremely boring task and then reported to other participants on how enjoyable it wasParticipants who were paid more ($20) to lie about their experience reported enjoying it less than those paid less ($1) to lie (Festinger & Carlsmith, 1959)
41 FIGURE 12.13 Cognitive Dissonances In Festinger’s dissonance study, participants performed an extremely boring task and then reported to other participants how enjoyable it was. Some participants were paid $20 to lie, and some were paid $1.
42 Justifying EffortWhen people put themselves through pain, embarrassment, or discomfort to join a group, they experience a great deal of dissonanceTo resolve the dissonance they inflate the importance of the group and their commitment to itThis justification of effort helps explain why people are willing to subject themselves to humiliating experiences such as hazing
43 FIGURE 12.14 Justifying Effort In early 2008, the University of Maryland removed the Delta Sigma chapter of the Delta Tau Delta fraternity from the College Park campus. Photos such as this one revealed that the fraternity’s hazing included abusive alcohol consumption and mental, emotional, and physical duress. How do you suspect the pledges justified their willingness to undergo mistreatment? What attitudes, feelings, and behaviors might they have used, consciously or unconsciously?
44 Attitudes Can Be Changed through Persuasion Persuasion: the active and conscious effort to change an attitude through the transmission of a messageFactors affecting the persuasiveness of a message include: source (who); content (what); receiver (whom)Elaboration likelihood model: a theory of how persuasive messages lead to attitude changesCentral route: motivated/able to process information. Use of rational cognitive processes leads to strong attitudes that last over time and that people actively defendPeripheral route: not motivated/able to process information. Minimal processing of the message; leads to more impulsive action
45 FIGURE 12.15 The Elaboration Likelihood Model (left) When people are motivated and able to consider information, they process it via the central route. As a result, their attitude changes reflect cognitive elaboration. (right) When people are either not motivated or not able to consider information, they process it via the peripheral route. As a result, their attitude changes reflect the presence or absence of shallow peripheral cues. For example, as a result of peripheral processing, people may be persuaded because the person making an argument is attractive or a celebrity.
46 12.3 How Do Others Influence Us? Define social facilitation, social loafing, deindividuation, group polarization, and groupthink.Differentiate between conformity, compliance, and obedience.Identify factors that increase or decrease conformity, compliance, and obedience.
47 How Do Others Influence Us? To fit in, we display our best behavior and try not to offend others; we conform to group norms, obey commands made by authorities, and are easily influenced by others in our social groupsThe desire to fit in with the group and avoid being ostracized is so great that under some circumstances we willingly engage in behaviors we otherwise would condemn
48 Social FacilitationSocial facilitation: The presence of others enhances performance (Triplett, 1897)Zajonc’s (1965) model expands on Triplett’s, predicting that social facilitation can enhance or impair performance:If the dominant response is relatively easy, the presence of others will enhance performanceIf the dominant response is difficult, the presence of others will impair performance
49 FIGURE 12.17 Zajonc’s Model of Social Facilitation According to this model, the mere presence of others leads to increased arousal. The arousal favors the dominant response (the response most likely to be performed in the particular situation). If the dominant response is easy, performance is enhanced. If the dominant response is difficult, performance suffers.
50 Social LoafingSocial loafing: People work less hard when in a group than when working aloneSix blindfolded people wearing headphones were told to shout as loudly as they could. Some were told they were shouting alone and others were told they were shouting with other people. Participants did not shout as loudly when they believed that others were shouting with them(Latané, Williams, & Harkins, 1979).When people know that their individual efforts can be monitored they do not engage in social loafing
51 DeindividuationPeople sometimes lose their individuality when they become part of a groupDeindividuation: a state of reduced individuality, reduced self-awareness, and reduced attention to personal standardsSelf-awareness typically causes people to act in accordance with their values and beliefs; when self-awareness disappears, so do restraintsPeople are especially likely to become deindividuated when they are aroused and anonymous and when responsibility is diffused (e.g., rioting by fans)
52 Group Decision MakingBeing in a group influences decision making in complex waysRisky-shift effect: Groups often make riskier decisions than individuals (Stoner, 1961)Subsequent research showed that groups sometimes become more cautiousGroup polarization: The initial attitudes of group members determine whether the group becomes riskier or more cautiousGroupthink: is an extreme form of group polarization that results when group members are particularly concerned with maintaining the group’s cohesiveness
53 We Conform to OthersConformity: altering one’s behaviors and opinions to match those of other people or to match other people’s expectationsWhy we conform:Normative influence: occurs when we go along with the crowd to avoid looking foolishInformational influence: occurs when we assume that the behavior of the crowd represents the correct way to respond
54 FIGURE 12.20 Scientific Method: Asch’s Study on Conformity to Social Norms
55 Social Norms Social norms: expected standards of conduct Research consistently has demonstrated that people tend to conform to social norms:Adolescents conform to peer pressure to smoke; jury members go along with the group rather than state their own opinions; people stand in line to buy tickets instead of “cutting in”When do people reject social norms?Conformity varies with group size (Asch, 1956)Presence of a dissenter threatens group unanimityGroups tend to enforce conformity: Those who fail to go along are rejected (Schachter, 1951)
56 “Shy Brains”Some of us never talk to strangers at a party, while others like to work the room. As this ScienCentral News video reports, psychologists can see the signature of shyness imprinted in the brain, in toddlers as well as in twenty-year-olds.
57 Social Norms Marketing Can the power of social norms be harnessed to modify behavior in positive ways?College posters with messages such as, “Most students have fewer than four drinks when they party”May actually increase drinking among light drinkers (Russell, Clapp, & Dejong, 2005)Adding a message that the behavior is undesirable might help prevent social norms marketing from increasing the behavior it is meant to reduce (Schultz, Nolan, Cialdini, Goldstein, & Griskevicius, 2007)
58 We Are CompliantCompliance: the tendency to agree to do things requested by othersFactors that increase compliance include:Being in a good moodFailure to fully consider optionsCompliance strategies:Foot-in-the-door effectDoor in the faceLow-balling strategy
59 We Are Obedient to Authority The Milgram studies in obedienceMilgram’s research demonstrated that ordinary people may do horrible things when ordered to do so by an authorityA recent replication found that 70 percent of the participants were obedient up to the maximum voltage in the experiment (Burger, 2009)
60 FIGURE 12.21 Stanley Milgram Milgram, pictured here with his infamous shock generator, demonstrated that average people will obey even hideous orders given by an authority figure.
61 FIGURE 12.22 Predicting the Results Psychiatrists, college sophomores, middle-class adults, and both graduate students and professors in the behavioral sciences offered predictions about the results of Milgram’s experiments. Their predictions were incorrect.
62 FIGURE 12.23 Scientific Method: Milgram’s Shock Experiments on Obedience
63 12.4 When Do We Harm or Help Others? Identify biological, situational, and sociocultural determinants of aggression.Discuss the association between steroid use and aggression.Review evolutionary explanations for altruism.Review explanations for the bystander intervention effect.
64 When Do We Harm or Help Others? Humans help and hurt each otherThis tension between our aggressive and altruistic sides is at the core of who we are as a speciesPsychologists have provided much insight into the roles that nature and nurture play in these fundamental human behaviors
65 Many Factors Can Influence Aggression Aggression: any behavior that involves the intention to harm someone elseAmong humans, physical aggression is common among young children but relatively rare in adultsAdults’ aggressive acts more often involve words or other symbols meant to threaten, intimidate, or emotionally harm othersAggression can be considered across the levels of analysis, from basic biology to cultural context
66 Biological FactorsStimulating or damaging the septum, amygdala, or hypothalamus regions in the brain leads to corresponding changes in the levels of aggression displayedRemoving the amygdalas of normally very aggressive rhesus monkeys caused them to become tame (Klüver & Bucy, 1937)Behavior associated with damage to this region is now referred to as Klüver-Bucy syndromeIn monkeys, enhanced serotonin activity lowered aggression; interference with serotonin increased aggression (Raleigh, McGuire, Brammer, Pollack, & Yuwiler, 1991)In humans, low levels of serotonin have been associated with aggression in adults and hostility and disruptive behavior in children (Kruesi et al., 1992)
67 “Monkey Talk”Researchers have discovered that some monkeys process the sounds of the other monkeys much as people process language. As this ScienCentral News video reports, it’s a discovery that may lead to a better understanding of how people acquire the ability to communicate.
68 FIGURE 12.24 Serotonin and Aggression Male vervet monkeys were given either serotonin enhancers or serotonin blockers. The results suggest serotonin is important in the control of aggressive behavior.
69 Situational FactorsWhether someone behaves aggressively depends on the situational contextFrustration-aggression hypothesis: The extent to which people feel frustrated predicts the likelihood that they will be aggressive (Dollard & Miller, 1939)Cognitive-neoassociationistic model: Frustration leads to aggression by eliciting negative emotions (Berkowitz, 1990)
70 FIGURE 12.25 Frustration-Aggression Hypothesis Frustration generally leads to aggression. For example, road rage is most likely to occur where traffic is heavy and drivers feel frustrated.
71 Social and Cultural Factors An evolutionary approach to aggression would call for similar patterns of aggressive behavior to exist in all human societiesViolence varies dramatically across cultures and even within cultures at different timesOver the course of 300 years, Sweden went from being violent to non-violent; this cultural change did not correspond with a change in the gene poolMurder rates are far higher in some countries than in othersIn the United States, physical violence is much more prevalent in the South than in the NorthCulture of honor: belief system in which men are primed to protect their reputations through physical aggression
72 FIGURE 12.26 Aggression Varies across Cultures The numbers in this chart are the most recent available, from They come from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (n.d.).
73 FIGURE 12.27 Aggressive Responses to Insults These graphs show some of the results from studies at the University of Michigan.
74 Steroids May Play a Role in Some Violent Behavior “’Roid rage” has been used as a defense in murder casesTaking steroids might increase testosterone to such a level that the hormone produces an extreme need for dominance and control, which, in turn, provokes violent behaviorAggressive men, such as violent criminals, and particularly physical athletes, such as hockey players, have been found to have higher levels of testosterone than other males (Dabbs & Morris, 1990)Research shows a modest correlation between testosterone and human aggressionTestosterone may be the result — rather than the cause — of aggressive behavior
75 FIGURE Fact or Fiction?Five years after Jamie Fuller murdered Amy Carnevale, the incident inspired a made-for-television movie called No One Would Tell. Fred Savage played a high school athlete named Bobby Tennison, and Candace Cameron played his girlfriend/victim, Stacy Collins.
76 Many Factors Can Influence Helping Behavior Prosocial behavior: acting for the benefit of othersWhy are humans prosocial?Selfless: motivated by empathySelfishness: to relieve one’s negative moodInborn tendency to help othersAltruism: helping when it is needed without any apparent reward for doing soFrom an evolutionary perspective, altruistic helping of others with shared genes (kin selection) is beneficial (inclusive fitness)Through helping non-relatives, altruistic animals may also increase the likelihood that other members of the social group will reciprocate when needed (reciprocal helping)
77 Some Situations Lead to Bystander Apathy Kitty Genovese was murdered while walking home from work in New York CityWitnesses to the crime reportedly did nothing to helpBystander intervention effect: the failure to offer help by those who observe someone in needResearch indicates four major reasons:Diffusion of responsibilityPeople fear making social blunders in ambiguous situationsPeople are less likely to help when they are anonymous and can remain soPeople weigh the costs versus benefits of helping
78 FIGURE Kitty GenoveseBased on what you have read about Genovese’s murder so far, would you say she was the victim of bystander apathy?
79 FIGURE 12.30 The Bystander Intervention Effect In Latané and Darley’s experiments, participants waited with two apathetic confederates, with two other naive participants, or alone. This chart records the participants’ reactions to smoke filling the room.
80 12.5 What Determines the Quality of Relationships? Identify factors that influence interpersonal attraction.Distinguish between passionate and companionate love.Discuss the function of idealization in romantic relationships.Identify interpersonal styles and attributional styles that contribute to relationship dissatisfaction and dissolution.
81 “Mating Trick”Any man who thinks he planned something clever for Valentine’s Day should consider the ingenuity of the male Australian cuttlefish. As this ScienCentral News video reports, it sometimes disguises itself as a female in order to get the girl.
82 What Determines the Quality of Relationships? The term relationships refers to connections with friends and romantic partnersUntil the last decade or so, psychologists paid little attention to how people select either their friends or their romantic partnersResearchers have now made considerable progress in identifying the factors that lead us to form relationships
83 Situational and Personal Factors Influence Friendships There are a number of factors that promote friendships, including:Proximity: how often people come into contactProximity might have its effects because of familiarity: People like familiar things more than unfamiliar ones
84 Birds of a FeatherPeople similar in attitudes, values, interests, backgrounds, and personalities tend to like each otherMatching principle: The most successful romantic couples also tend to be the most physically similar
85 Personal Characteristics People tend to especially like those who have admirable personality characteristics and who are physically attractiveLeast likable characteristics are dishonesty, insincerity, and lack of personal warmth. Most likeable characteristics are kindness, dependability, and trustworthiness (Anderson, 1968).
87 Physical Attractiveness How people rate attractiveness is generally consistent across all cultures (Cunningham, Roberts, Barbee, Druen, & Wu, 1995)A computer program combined (or “averaged”) various faces without regard to individual attractiveness. As more faces were combined, participants rated the “averaged” faces as more attractive (Langlois & Roggman, 1990).Other research shows averaged attractive faces are rated more favorably than averaged unattractive faces (Perrett, May, & Yoshikawa, 1994)Most people find symmetrical faces more attractive than asymmetrical onesAttractiveness can bring many important social benefitsThe “what is beautiful is good” stereotype
88 FIGURE 12.31 “Average” Is Attractive The more faces that are averaged together, the more attractive people find the outcome. The face on the right, a combination of 32 faces, typically is rated most attractive.
89 Love Is an Important Component of Romantic Relationships Passionate love: a state of intense longing and sexual desireCompanionate love: a strong commitment to care for and support a partnerIn most enduring relationships, passionate love evolves into companionate love (Sternberg, 1986)Adult relationships also vary in their attachment styles (Hazan & Shaver, 1987)The attachment style a person has as an adult appears to be related to how the person’s parents treated her or him as a child (Fraley & Shaver, 2000)
90 FIGURE 12.33a Passionate versus Companionate Love (a) The arts tend to focus on passionate love. Consider this image from the 2010 movie Blue Valentine, starring Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams.
91 FIGURE 12.33b Passionate versus Companionate Love (b) Some romances, however, depict the development of companionate love. Contrast the Blue Valentine shot with this image from the 2010 movie Love and Other Drugs (2010), starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway.
92 Love is Fostered by Idealization People who fall in love and maintain that love tend to be biased toward positive views of their partnersResearch (Murray et al., 1996) with couples showed that:People who loved their partners the most also idealized their partners the most;People with the most positively biased views of their partners were more likely to still be in the relationships with their partners several months later than were those people with more “realistic” views of their partners;Idealization appears to buffer a relationship against the ugly truths that might threaten it
93 Staying in Love Can Require Work Passion fades: The long-term pattern of sexual activity within relationships shows a rise and then a declineFrom the first year of marriage to the second, frequency of sex declines by about half. After that, the frequency continues to decline, but it does so more gradually.The loss of passion leads to dissatisfaction and often to the eventual dissolution of the relationship (Berscheid & Regan, 2005).People must develop other forms of satisfaction in their romantic relationships
94 Dealing with ConflictThe way a couple deals with conflict often determines whether the relationship will lastGottman (1994) describes four interpersonal styles that typically lead couples to discord and dissolution:being overly criticalholding the partner in contemptbeing defensivementally withdrawing from the relationshipSatisfied partners tend to express concern for each other even while they are disagreeing and may deliver criticism lightheartedly and playfully (Keltner, Young, Heerey, Oemig, & Monarch, 1998)
95 Attributional Style and Accommodation Attributional style: how one partner explains the other’s behaviorAccommodation: a process in which happy couples make partner-enhancing attributions by overlooking bad behavior or responding constructively (Rusbult & Van Lange, 1996)Unhappy couples make distress-maintaining attributions: They view each other in the most negative ways possible, they attribute good outcomes to situations, and they attribute bad outcomes to each other