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Attraction and Close Relationships

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1 Attraction and Close Relationships
Chapter 9 Attraction and Close Relationships

2 A Fundamental Human Motive
Being with Others A Fundamental Human Motive

3 Putting Common Sense to the Test…
True or False? People seek out the company of others, even strangers, in times of stress. Answer: True… Let’s see why!

4 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.

5 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.” But, “embarrassed misery seeks solitude.” “Misery loves the company of those in the same miserable situation.”

6 Shyness: A Pervasive Problem

7 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

8 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.

9 The Initial Attraction

10 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

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

12 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.

13 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.

14 Physical Attractiveness: Getting Drawn In
We react more favorably to others who are physically attractive than to those who are not. Bias for beauty is pervasive. Is physical beauty an objective or subjective quality?

15 Putting Common Sense to the Test…
True or False? Infants do not discriminate between faces considered attractive and unattractive in their culture. Answer: False… Let’s see why!

16 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.

17 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.

18 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

19 Figure 9.2: Media Influences on the Bias for Beauty
Smith et al., 1999.

20 Is the Physical Attractiveness Stereotype Accurate?
Good-looking people do have more friends, better social skills, and a more active sex life. But beauty is not related to objective measures of intelligence, personality, adjustment, or self-esteem. The specific nature of the stereotype also depends on cultural conceptions of what is “good.”

21 Putting Common Sense to the Test…
True or False? People who are physically attractive are happier and have higher self-esteem than those who are unattractive. Answer: False… Let’s see why!

22 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?

23 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.

24 Putting Common Sense to the Test…
True or False? When it comes to romantic relationships, opposites attract. Answer: False… Let’s see why!

25 First Encounters: Getting Acquainted
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.

26 Figure 9.4: A Two-Stage Model of the Attraction Process

27 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.

28 Why Don’t 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.

29 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.

30 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.

31 Mate Selection: The Evolution of Desire
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.

32 Figure 9.5: Sex Differences in Mate Preference: Evolutionary Neccessities
Li et al., 2002.

33 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.

34 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. The differences typically found between the sexes are small compared to the similarities.

35 Close Relationships

36 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?

37 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.

38 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.

39 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.

40 Relationship Expectations
Comparison Level (CL): Average expected outcome in relationships. Comparison Level for Alternatives (CLalt): Expectations of what would receive in an alternative situation. Investments in relationship increase commitment.

41 Figure 9.6: Relational Building Blocks

42 The Intimate Marketplace: Equity Theory
Most content with a relationship when the ratio between the benefits and contributions is similar for both partners. Balance is what counts.

43 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.

44 Secure and Insecure Attachment Styles
Attachment Style: 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?

45 How Do I Love Thee? Lee’s Love Styles
Primary Love Styles Eros (erotic love) Ludus (game-playing, uncommitted love) Storge (friendship love) Secondary Love Styles Mania (demanding and possessive love) Pragma (pragmatic love) Agape (other-oriented, altruistic love)

46 Figure 9.7: Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love
From R. Sternberg and M.L. Barnes (eds.) The Psychology of Love, Yale University Press, Copyright © 1986 by Yale University Press. Reprinted with permission of Yale University Press.

47 Types of Love (cont.) Rubin (1973) Hatfield et al. (1988)
Liking: The type of feeling one has for a platonic friend. Loving: The kind of feeling one has for a romantic partner. Hatfield et al. (1988) Passionate Love: Romantic love characterized by high arousal, intense attraction, and fear of rejection. Companionate Love: A secure, trusting, stable partnership.

48 Passionate Love: The Thrill of It
Passionate love requires: A heightened state of physiological arousal; and The belief that this arousal was triggered by the beloved person Sometimes can misattribute physiological arousal to passionate love. Process known as excitation transfer

49 Would You Marry Someone if you were not in love?

50 Cultural Variations

51 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.

52 Figure 9.8: From a Sliver to a Wedge
Theory of Social Penetration

53 Figure 9.9: To Whom Do People Lie?
From B.M. DePaulo and D.A. Kashy (1998) "Everyday Lies in Close and Casual Relationships," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, Copyright (c) 1998 by the American Psychological Association. Adapted with permission.

54 Putting Common Sense to the Test…
True or False? Men are more likely than women to interpret friendly gestures by the opposite sex in sexual terms. Answer: True… Let’s see why!

55 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.

56 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.

57 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.

58 Putting Common Sense to the Test…
True or False? After the honeymoon period, there is a consistent decline in levels of marital satisfaction. Answer: True… Let’s see why!

59 Figure 9.10: Marital Satisfaction Over Time
From L.A. Kurdek (1999) "The Nature and Predictors of the Trajectory of Change in Marital Quality for Husbands and Wives Over the First 10 Years of Marriage," Developmental Psychology, 35, Copyright (c) 1999 by the American Psychological Association. Adapted with permission.

60 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

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

62 Figure 9.12: How Close Is Your Relationship?
Copyright © 1992 by the American Psychological Association. Reproduced with permission. From A. Aron, E. Aron, and D. Smollan, "Inclusion of the Other in the Self Scale and the Structure of Interpersonal Closeness," Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 63, , No further reproduction or distribution is permitted without written permission from the American Psychological Association.

63 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.

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