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Transcript
Attraction and Close Relationships
Social Psychology
Chapter 9
November 19, 2004
Class #12
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
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
Shyness: A Pervasive Problem
60
50
40
Percentage
Describe Self 30
as Shy
20
10
0
United
States
Israel
Germany
Taiwan
Japan
Shyness

Sources



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
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
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
Familiarity: Being There

Who are we most likely to become
attracted to?
 Two basic and necessary factors in
the attraction process:
 Proximity
 Exposure
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
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 selfevaluations
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
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
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
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
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?
The Benefits and Costs of Beauty


Being good-looking does not guarantee
health, happiness, or high self-esteem
Attributional problems with being goodlooking:

Is the attention and praise one receives due
to one’s talents or just one’s good looks?
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
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
How important is intelligence?


Men and women differ in this criterion
for sexual partners
But not for long-term partners
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
Minimum Intelligence Desired
Women desire slightly above
average for a single date
50th
%ile
AVERAGE
DATE

And want more
with increasing
commitment
50th
%ile
DATE
SEX
STEADY
MARRIAGE

Men have similar criteria
for dates
DATE
SEX
STEADY
MARRIAGE

And for long-term mates
DATE
SEX
STEADY
MARRIAGE

But men’s criteria
are considerably
lower for sexual
partners
DATE
SEX
STEADY
MARRIAGE

The differences are
even more pronounced
for one-night stands
DATE
SEX
STEADY
MARRIAGE

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
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
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
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
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
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
Sex Differences in Mate Preferences:
Evolutionary Necessities?
Li et al. (2002)
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???
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)
Design of the study: 2x3
Handsome
Armani suit
(high)
White t-shirt
(medium)
BK outfit
(low)
Homely
Results?

What do you think happened?


Females?
Males?
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
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
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
mimimum acceptable earning capacity
(percentile)
Are women selective about earning capacity?
Minimum Standards (Kenrick et al, 1990)
70
65
60
55
50
w omen
45
men
40
35
30
25
20
dating
sexual
relations
steady
dating
marriage
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
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…
“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?”
Percent Saying “Yes”
100
Men were even more
likely to say “yes” to
the sexual invitation
80
60
About half of
both sexes said
“yes” to the date
40
20
0
Go Out
Go to Apt.
Go to Bed
Not a
single
woman
said “yes”
to the
sexual
invitation
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
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
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?
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
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
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
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
The Intimate Marketplace:
Equity Theory

Most content with a relationship
when the ratio between the benefits
and contributions is similar for both
partners…
Your Benefits
Partner' s Benefits

Your Contributi ons Partner' s Contributi ons
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
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?
Attachment
Style
Sternberg (1986): This researcher believes that the long list
presented earlier could be reduced to three essential
components:

INTIMACY
close bond, sharing,
support
COMMITMENT
willing to define as love,
commitment to long term


PASSION
physiological arousal,
longing to be with
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
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love
Would You Marry Someone if
You Were Not in Love?
80
70
60
50
Percentage 40
Saying Yes
30
Men
Women
20
10
0
1967
1986
American Students Surveyed
Cultural Variations in Willingness to
Marry Without Love
60
50
40
Percentage 30
20
10
0
United
States
Australia
England
India
Pakistan
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 selfdisclosure
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
What Constitutes “Having Sex”?
Hatfield & Rapson (1987)
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”
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%
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
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
Marital Satisfaction over Time
Kurdek (1999)
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
Attributions and Quality of
Relationship


Happy couples tend to make
relationship-enhancing attributions
Unhappy couples tend to make
distress-maintaining attributions
THE TERMINATION OF
RELATIONSHIPS
Relationship Issues: Breaking Up
Relationship Issues: Breaking Up

A relationship is likely to be longlasting 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
CAUSES OF RELATIONSHIP
DISSOLUTION









BREAKDOWN IN COMMUNICATION
LOSS OF SHARED GOALS/INTERESTS
DESIRE FOR INDEPENDENCE
SEXUAL AND/OR INTIMACY PROBLEMS
ROLE STRAIN
MONEY
CHILDREN
INFIDELITY/LOYALTY ISSUES
ALCOHOL/DRUG ABUSE
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:http://www7.tamu-commerce.edu/psychology/documents/PSY%20327/6

Slides #36-37, 39, 42-43: http://www2.hawaii.edu/~lieberma/download/psych_352/15

Slides #72 & #74: http://www.utexas.edu/courses/spe358/ppt/19