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Attraction and Close Relationships

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1 Attraction and Close Relationships
Social Psychology Chapter 9 November 19, 2004 Class #12


3 The Need to Belong The need to belong is a basic human motive
We care deeply about what others think of us Those with a network of close social ties tend to be happier, healthier, and more satisfied with life than those who are more isolated

4 The Thrill of Affiliation
Need for Affiliation: The desire to establish social contact with others. We are motivated to establish and maintain an optimum balance of social contact. Stress arouses our need for affiliation Fearful misery loves company Embarrassed misery seeks solitude Misery loves the company of those in the same miserable situation

5 Shyness: A Pervasive Problem

6 Shyness Sources Painful consequences Inborn personality trait
Learned reaction to failed interactions with others Painful consequences Negative self-evaluations Expectations of failure in social encounters Self-blame for social failures Self-imposed isolation

7 The Agony of Loneliness
A feeling of deprivation about social relations Most likely to occur during times of transition or disruption Loneliest group in American society are those 18 to 30 years old We employ various strategies to combat loneliness

8 Perspectives on Attraction
We are attracted to others with whom a relationship is directly or indirectly rewarding All humans exhibit patterns of attraction and mate selection that favor the conception, birth, and survival of their offspring Evolutionary perspective

9 Familiarity: Being There
Who are we most likely to become attracted to? Two basic and necessary factors in the attraction process: Proximity Exposure

10 The Proximity Effect The single best predictor of attraction is physical proximity, or nearness Where we live influences the friends we make College students tend to date those who live either nearby or in the same type of housing as they do

11 The Mere Exposure Effect
Contrary to folk wisdom, familiarity does not breed contempt The more often we are exposed to a stimulus, the more we come to like that stimulus Familiarity can influence our self-evaluations

12 Here we go again… Physical Attractiveness:
We react more favorably to others who are physically attractive than to those who are not Bias for beauty is pervasive

13 Is Beauty an Objective Quality?
Some argue that certain faces are inherently more attractive than others High levels of agreement for facial ratings across ages and cultures Physical features of the face are reliably associated with judgments of attractiveness Babies prefer faces considered attractive by adults

14 Is Beauty a Subjective Quality?
People from different cultures enhance their beauty in very different ways Ideal body shapes vary across cultures, as well as among racial groups within a culture Standards of beauty change over time Situational factors can influence judgments of beauty

15 Why Are We Blinded by Beauty?
Inherently rewarding to be in the company of people who are aesthetically appealing Possible intrinsic and extrinsic rewards Tendency to associate physical attractiveness with other desirable qualities What-is-beautiful-is-good stereotype

16 The Physical Attractiveness Stereotype
People within a culture, assume that attractive people have the traits that are valued by that culture Adults and children are biased toward attractive people Even infants stare at attractive people longer than unattractive people! Lessons begin early – how many ugly heroes are there in children’s tales vs. the number of ugly villians?

17 The Benefits and Costs of Beauty
Being good-looking does not guarantee health, happiness, or high self-esteem Attributional problems with being good-looking: Is the attention and praise one receives due to one’s talents or just one’s good looks?

18 Other Costs of Beauty Pressure to maintain one’s appearance
In American society, pressures are particularly strong when it comes to the body Women are more likely than men to suffer from the “modern mania for slenderness” Overall, being beautiful is a mixed blessing Little relationship between appearance in youth and later happiness

19 This appears to be conflicting research…
Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma (1990) People involved in serious relationships rate beautiful models as less attractive Kendrick et al. (1989) Men viewing ravishing nude models in magazines gave lower ratings to average-looking women including their own wives Appears contrast effect is in place here

20 How important is intelligence?
Men and women differ in this criterion for sexual partners But not for long-term partners

21 Students in these series of studies were asked:
Kenrick, Sadalla, Groth, & Trost (1990) Kenrick, Groth, Trost & Sadalla (1993) Students in these series of studies were asked: What is the minimum percentile of intelligence you would accept in considering someone for: A DATE A SEXUAL PARTNER A ONE NIGHT STAND A STEADY DATING PARTNER A MARRIAGE PARTNER

22 Minimum Intelligence Desired
Women desire slightly above average for a single date 50th %ile AVERAGE DATE

23 And want more with increasing commitment

24 Men have similar criteria for dates

25 And for long-term mates

26 But men’s criteria are considerably lower for sexual partners

27 The differences are even more pronounced for one-night stands

28 First Encounters: Liking Others Who Are Similar
We tend to associate with others who are similar to ourselves… Byrne (1971): We like people who we perceive as having similar attitudes to our own Rosenbaum (1986): Similarity does not spark attraction; rather dissimilarity triggers repulsion, the desire to avoid someone

29 Matching Hypothesis People tend to become involved romantically with others who are equivalent in their physical attractiveness Matching is predictive of progress in a relationship

30 Do Opposites Attract? Is there support for the complementarity hypothesis, which holds that people seek others whose needs “oppose” their own? Research shows that complementarity does not influence attraction

31 First Encounters: Liking Others Who Like Us
Heider (1958): People prefer relationships that are psychologically balanced A state of balance exists when the relationship is characterized by reciprocity Mutual exchange between what one gives and what one receives Liking is mutual, which is why we tend to like others who indicate that they like us

32 First Encounters: Pursuing Those Who Are Hard to Get
Does the hard-to-get effect exist? We prefer people who are moderately selective to those who are nonselective or too selective We are turned off by those who reject us Psychological reactance can increase or decrease attraction

33 Mate Selection: The Evolutionary Perspective
Men and women by nature must differ in their optimal mating behaviors Women must be highly selective because they are biologically limited in the number of children they can bear and raise in a lifetime Men can father an unlimited number of children and ensure their reproductive success by inseminating many women

34 Sex Differences in Mate Preferences: Evolutionary Necessities?
Li et al. (2002)

35 The Burger King Study Townsend & Levy (1990)
Who would you prefer: a well-dressed unattractive person or a good-looking person in a Burger King outfit???

36 Cues to resources – Clothes
Burger King study: Townsend and Levy (1990) looked at the effects of male status and ornamentation. First, males were pre-rated into 2 groups: Handsome versus homely Each were put into 1 of 3 costumes: Armani suit with Rolex (high status), white t-shirt (medium status), or Burger King uniform (low status)

37 Design of the study: 2x3 Handsome Homely Armani suit (high)
White t-shirt (medium) BK outfit (low) What occupations did females attribute to these different males? How about female’s willingness to engage in a relationship of varying degree ranging from casual conversation to dating, sex, and marriage. Females were more likely to engage in liaisons w/ high status/homely males than medium/low status/attractive males. What about males? They just went for attractiveness

38 Results? What do you think happened? Females? Males?

39 The Content of Women’s Mate Preferences
Social status universal clue to the control of resources Greater social status bestows children with better opportunities Women consistently rate social status as being more desirable in a partner than men do For women, social status rated only slightly less important than good financial prospects

40 Supporting Evidence for the Evolutionary Perspective
Universal tendency in desired age for potential mate Men tend to seek younger women Women tend to desire older men Men and women become jealous for different reasons Men become most upset by sexual infidelity Women feel more threatened by emotional infidelity

41 Mate Selection: Sociocultural Perspectives
Women trade youth and beauty for money because they often lack direct access to economic power Men are fearful of sexual infidelity because it represents a threat to the relationship, not fatherhood issues

42 Are women selective about earning capacity
Are women selective about earning capacity? Minimum Standards (Kenrick et al, 1990) Also works for intelligence – Across different levels of involvement

43 Studies of personal ads…
Wiederman (1993) A study of 1,111 personal ads found that female advertisers seek financial resources 11 times as often as male advertisers Buss (1989) Looked at 10,047 individuals in 37 cultures on 6 continents and 5 islands Found this was not just restricted to American or Western Societies

44 Gender Differences… The differences typically found between the sexes are small compared to the similarities. But when it comes to casual sex… See next slides…

45 “I have been noticing you around campus. I find you very attractive.”
Clark & Hatfield (1989) In this study, students were approached by another student of the opposite sex, who uttered the above statement… This was followed by one of three invitations: “Would you go out tonight?” or “Would you come over to my apartment?” or “Would you go to bed with me?”

46 Percent Saying “Yes” 100 80 60 40 20 Go Out Go to Apt. Go to Bed
Men were even more likely to say “yes” to the sexual invitation 100 80 60 Not a single woman said “yes” to the sexual invitation Percent Saying “Yes” About half of both sexes said “yes” to the date 40 20 Go Out Go to Apt. Go to Bed

47 Variations in Perceptions and Reactions
Compared to women, men perceive more sexuality in an interaction between a man and a woman This is true whether they are participants or observers However, men see interactions involving their sister as platonic

48 Defining Features of Love
Beverly Fehr (1988) asked Canadian students to list as many features of love as they could in 3 minutes. Students lists commonly included: caring happiness friendship warmth trust commitment euphoria Sexual passion heart rate increases

49 Intimate Relationships
Often involve three basic components: Feelings of attachment, affection, and love. The fulfillment of psychological needs. Interdependence between partners, each of whom has a meaningful influence on the other. How do first encounters evolve into intimate relationships? By stages or by leaps and bounds?

50 Murstein’s (1986) Stimulus-Value-Role Theory
Stimulus Stage: Attraction is sparked by external attributes such as physical appearance Value Stage: Attachment is based on similarity of values and beliefs Role Stage: Commitment is based on the performance of such roles as husband and wife

51 How Do Intimate Relationships Change?
Most researchers reject idea that intimate relationships progress through a fixed sequence of stages For reward theories of love, quantity counts There are qualitative differences between liking and loving, as well as different forms of love

52 The Intimate Marketplace: Social Exchange Theory
People are motivated to maximize benefits and minimize costs in their relationships with others Relationships that provide more rewards and fewer costs will be more satisfying and endure longer The development of an intimate relationship is associated with the overall level of rewards

53 Relationship Expectations
Comparison Level : Average expected outcome in relationships Comparison Level for Alternatives: Expectations of what would receive in an alternative situation Investments in relationship increase commitment

54 The Intimate Marketplace: Equity Theory
Most content with a relationship when the ratio between the benefits and contributions is similar for both partners…

55 Types of Relationships
Exchange Relationships: Participants expect and desire strict reciprocity in their interactions Communal Relationships: Participants expect and desire mutual responsiveness to each other’s needs

56 Secure and Insecure Attachment Styles
The way a person typically interacts with significant others Is the attachment style we had with our parents related to the attachment style we exhibit in our romantic relationships?

57 Attachment Style

58 physiological arousal, longing to be with
Sternberg (1986): This researcher believes that the long list presented earlier could be reduced to three essential components: physiological arousal, longing to be with PASSION INTIMACY close bond, sharing, support COMMITMENT willing to define as love, commitment to long term

59 Are There Different Varieties of Love?
Not all types of “love” involve same mix of passion, intimacy, and commitment… Passionate love A state of intense longing for union with another Companionate love Affection and tenderness for those whose lives are entwined with our own

60 Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love

61 Would You Marry Someone if You Were Not in Love?

62 Cultural Variations in Willingness to Marry Without Love

63 Companionate Love: The Self-Disclosure in It
Form of affection found between close friends as well as lovers Less intense than passionate love But in some respects it is deeper and more enduring Characterized by high levels of self-disclosure

64 Relationship Issues: Sexuality
Kinsey’s groundbreaking research during 1940s Problems with studying sexual activities: Limitations of self-reports What does it mean to “have sex”? Men view the world in more “sexualized” terms Gender differences in self-report surveys about sexual attitudes and behaviors

65 What Constitutes “Having Sex”?
Hatfield & Rapson (1987)

66 Obtaining Sexual Satisfaction
The drive to satisfy a passionate sexual attraction has been known to cause chaos in one’s life The media plays heavily on this idea For example: the movie “Fatal Attraction”

67 College men and women report several sexual fantasies per day…
Leitenberg and Henning (1995) Did you think about sex even for a moment during the last 5 min? Age < 26: Males 50%, Females 40% 26-55: Males 25% Females 14%

68 Relationship Issues: Sexual Orientation
Sexual orientation is one’s sexual preference for members of the same sex, opposite sex, or both sexes Large scale surveys suggest that 3-4% of men are exclusively homosexual 1-2% of women are exclusively homosexual Incidence of homosexual behavior varies with generations and among cultures

69 Origins of Sexual Orientation
Little evidence to support many early theories Scientific evidence of a biological disposition Complex issue Are roots for sexual orientation the same for men and women? May be a psychobiological process

70 Marital Satisfaction over Time
Kurdek (1999)

71 Relationship Issues: Communication and Conflict
Communication patterns in troubled relationships: Negative affect reciprocity Demand/withdrawal interaction pattern Basic approaches to reducing the negative effects of conflict: Increase rewarding behavior in other aspects of a relationship Try to understand the other’s point of view

72 Attributions and Quality of Relationship
Happy couples tend to make relationship-enhancing attributions Unhappy couples tend to make distress-maintaining attributions

Relationship Issues: Breaking Up

74 Relationship Issues: Breaking Up
A relationship is likely to be long-lasting when the couple: Has incorporated each other into one’s self Has become interdependent and have invested much into the relationship But these factors also intensify stress and make coping more difficult after the relationship ends


76 Relationships Change Our Personalities
Caspi & Herbener (1990) People married to dissimilar partners change their personalities more over the years The slides in this presentation were prepared by the following: Slide #16: Slides #36-37, 39, 42-43: Slides #72 & #74:

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