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PSY 321
Dr. Sanchez
Interpersonal Attraction
& Close Relationships
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 …………………………………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”
But, “…………………. 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
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
……………………….
Getting Together: The
Psychology of Attraction
Proximity: Liking People who are Nearby
“If you can’t be with the one love,
honey, love the one you’re with.”
Proximity: Liking People who are Nearby
Westgate West: Housing at MIT ~1949
(Festinger, 1950)
Proximity: Liking People who are Nearby
Westgate West: Housing at MIT ~1950

Close friends:



Next door neighbors: 41%
Two doors down: 22%
Opposite ends of hallway: 10%

“Contrary to popular belief, I do not
believe that friends are necessarily
the people you like best; they are
merely the people who got there
first.” (Sir Peter Ustinov, 1977)
Becoming Friends By Chance
Proximity Continued


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.
Why does it work?


Availability
Mere exposure

The more often people are exposed to an object, the more
positively they evaluate that object
Mere Exposure Example
(Moreland & Beach, 1992)

Procedure


Four women and a classroom
4 women attended class





1 women 0 times
1 woman 5 classes
1 woman 10 classes
1 woman 15 classes
Students rate women on traits at end of semester
Mere Exposure Example
(Moreland & Beach, 1992)

Procedure


Four women and a classroom
4 women attended class






1 women 0 times
1 woman 5 classes
1 woman 10 classes
1 woman 15 classes
Students rate women on traits at end of semester
Results: the more classes the woman
attended, the more favorable her ratings
became
Physical Attractiveness:
Getting Drawn In

“What’s beautiful is good” (Dion et al., 1972)





Teachers judge attractive students as more intelligent than
unattractive students (Clifford & Walster, 1973),
Adults, and nurses in pediatric wards, punish unattractive
children more harshly than attractive children (Dion, 1974)
Texas judges set lower bail and smaller fines for attractive
suspects (Downs & Lyons, 1991)
Attractive people make more money (Hamermesh &
Biddle, 1994) and get better job ratings from bosses
(Hosoda et al., 2003)
Parents spend more time looking at attractive babies!!!
Physical Attractiveness:
Getting Drawn In

Physical attractiveness is a powerful predictor
of being liked

“Beauty is a greater recommendation than any letter of
introduction” (Aristotle)

Why? Stereotype beautiful is good
People are rewarded intrinsically and extrinsically for
associating with beautiful others.


But….Limitations of Beautiful is Good
Stereotype
Is the Physical Attractiveness
Stereotype Accurate?



Good-looking people do have…….
But beauty is not related to objective
measures of intelligence, personality,
adjustment, or self-esteem.
The specific nature of the stereotype also
depends on ………….
When Being Seen Leads to Disbelief
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Physical Attractiveness
(Snyder, Tanke, Berscheid, 1977)

Procedure:

Unacquainted males & females P set up as partners

Males get a photo of female partner

½ get photo of attractive female
½ get photo of unattractive female

In reality, the photo was not the woman on the phone



Partners have conversation via headphones
“observers” listened only to female side of the
conversation
Self-Fulfilling Prophecy of Physical Attractiveness
(Snyder, Tanke, Berscheid, 1977)

Dependent variables



Judges’ ratings of females
Males’ impressions of females
Results: When men thought she was attractive, she
actually became more likeable (i.e., more animated,
more confident, warmer)
M’s expectations
based on
attractiveness
Ms act in line w/
expectations
F’s behavior & M’s
impressions are
expectancy consistent
What is Physically Attractive?
What is Physically Attractive?

Cross-cultural consistency (Cunningham, 1995)



Certain body features


Waste-hip ratio
For women, hourglass


Asian, Latino, White, & Black students rating
people from all four groups on attractiveness
Very high consistency
For men, “V”-shape
Tall men preferred
What is Physically Attractive?

Facial features





Wide-set eyes
Small, straight nose
Well-proportioned features
Babies prefer faces considered attractive by adults.
Computerized “averaged” faces

Averaged are attractive
4 Faces
4 Faces
8 Faces
8 Faces
16 Faces
16 Faces
32 Faces
32 Faces
Averageness: Why?

People also find other averaged objects more
attractive (Halberstadt & Rhodes, 2002):

Dogs, birds, fish, cars, and wristwatches

Average faces are more prototypical, and therefore, more
familiar

People prefer “symmetry,” and averaged faces are
more symmetrical

Symmetry might be associated with health, fitness,
and fertility
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.
……
Romantic Red: The Color of
Attraction?
Similarity: Liking People Who Are Just Like Us
Birds of a feather
flock together
Opposites
attract
Similarity: Liking People Who Are Just Like Us

Procedure

Pairs selected based on
attitudes


Birds of a feather
flock together


½ similar attitudes
½ dissimilar attitudes
Pairs went on a date
Results

Highly similar pairs were
more attracted to each
other than dissimilar
pairs
Similarity: Liking People Who Are Just Like Us

The matching hypothesis:

People tend to date and marry others of similar
attractiveness


Why does it happen?
People want to date attractive people, but rejection hurts


Possibility of rejection makes people more realistic
Most attractive people pair off and are “off the market”
People seek the best but settle for what they can get!
I-sharing

We also like people who respond similarly to
external events, even if dissimilar
backgrounds.

Why?
Reciprocity: Liking Others Who Like Us

Reciprocity: We like people who like us

An enormously powerful effect

How to win friends and influence people (Dale
Carnegie, 1937)


Sold 15 million copies
If you want others to like you, make sure they
know you like them!
Reciprocity: Liking Others Who Like Us

Procedure


Female pairs met several times to discuss topics
P overheard follow-up conversation btw her
partner and experimenter





¼ constantly positive comments about her
¼ constantly negative comments about her
¼ negative to positive comments about her (gain)
¼ positive to negative comments about her (loss)
Results: P liked partner ……………
Playing Hard to Get
Playing Hard to Get

Problem with playing hard to get

We prefer people who are moderately selective
compared to those who are too selective (and
nonselective)

We’re turned off by those who reject us
Playing Hard to Get:
Do “the girls get prettier at closing time?”

Attraction toward those who are hard to get because of external
factors
 Study 1 (Pennebaker et al, 1979):





Bar patrons rated attractiveness of same and opposite sex
Ratings taken at different time periods
People of opposite sex were seen as more attractive as the night wore
on
Alcohol?
Study 2 (Madey et al, 1996):




Bar patrons rate attractiveness of same and opposite sex
Bar patrons’ level of commitment to a relationship
People of opposite sex were seen as more attractive as the night wore
on BUT ONLY for those on the lookout for a “late-night” date
Conclusion: Closing time poses threat of losing chance with person, so
it might not be alcohol

Scarcity, not inebriation
Mate Selection: The Evolution of
Desire

Men and women by nature believed to 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 Preference
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.
The differences typically found between the
sexes are small compared to the similarities.
Conspicuous Consumption

If women are drawn to men who have wealth
or the ability to obtain it, then it stands to
reason that men would flaunt their resources
the way the male peacock displays his
brilliantly colored tail.
Sex Ration Effects on Conspicuous
Consumption
Expressions of Love

Male and female stereotypes would suggest
that while men are more likely to chase sex,
women to seek love
Who’s The First To Say “I Love
You”?
Staying Together: The
Psychology of Close
Relationships
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
Intimate/Romantic Relationships

Often involve three basic components:

Feelings of attachment, affection, and love.

The fulfillment of psychological needs.

………………..
Murstein’s (1986)
Stimulus-Value-Role Theory

3 Stages of Romantic Relationships:

Stimulus Stage: Attraction is sparked by external attributes
such as physical appearance.

Value Stage:…………………….

Role Stage: Commitment is based on the performance of
such roles as husband and wife.
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love
I have a comfortable
relationship with______
Just seeing______is exciting
to me
I will always feel a strong love
for______
Types of Love (cont.)

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.
Romantic Love: The Thrill of It

Romantic 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 romantic love.

Process known as excitation transfer.
Romantic Love: Arousal and Attribution

Love on a bridge (Dutton & Aron, 1974)
Capilano Canyon Suspension
Bridge:
...a tendency to tilt, sway, and
wobble, creating the impression
that one is about to fall over the
side...
...230-foot drop to rocks and
shallow rapids below the bridge...
Control Bridge:
Constructed of heavy cedar
10 feet above a small,
shallow rivulet
high handrails and did not tilt
or sway
Romantic Love: Arousal and Attribution

Love on a bridge (Dutton & Aron, 1974)
-Participants were approached on bridge by attractive female
experimenter
-Asked to tell story about a relationship
-Told they could call experimenter for results in a few weeks, given
number
Romantic Love: Arousal and Attribution


Results of Love on a bridge (Dutton & Aron,
1974)
In suspension bridge condition:



In safe bridge condition:



Wrote significantly more sexual stories
50% called experimenter
Wrote significantly less sexual stories
13% called experimenter
_________________________
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
Love over time

Romantic love has a limited life-span

18 - 30 months (Hazan, 1999)

When relationships last, companionate love appears
to be what lasts...

Most common responses among couples married
over 15 years when asked why their marriages had
lasted (Lauer & Lauer, 1985):


“My spouse is my best friend.”
“I like my spouse as a person.”
Why does the romance fade?

Fantasy turns to reality

Novelty disappears

Arousal fades with time; Developing
tolerance to the effects of love hormones
Sexuality Issues
Relationship Issues: Sexuality

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 similarities in various behaviors (e.g.,
safe sex, types of sexual activities) except
with regard to pornography, casual sex and
masturbation.
What is sex and when are people having it?
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.
Erotic Plasticity- ………………..