How do intimate relationships get started?
A. What are the reasons why two individuals love one another?
B. Although feeling attracted to and liking someone are not the same
as being in love, initial attraction is necessary if love is to occur.
Rewards: The Fundamental Basis of Attraction
• All the
positive consequences we receive from being with someone. Attention, interest, approval, witty
interaction, physical beauty.
• Being in
someone’s company during pleasant circumstances. i.e. our feelings about
someone emanate from the emotional tone of the surrounding situation.
and Indirect rewards highlight the interactive nature of attraction.
involves the perceived characteristics of the other person, but it also
involves the needs, preferences, and desires of the person who becomes
attracted, and on the situation the people are in. Thus, great variety is possible.
THE ONES WE ARE NEAR:
A. One theory of interpersonal attraction
focuses on the role of proximity in the formation of intimate
B. People's friendships and their love
relationships usually grow out of the daily interactions they have with those
C. To meet people is not necessarily to love
them, but to love them we must first meet them.
LIKING THE ONES WE ARE NEAR (cont.):
D. Research indicates that people who live
closer to each other will be much more likely to become friends than are those
who live further apart. The mere exposure effect.
E. Whenever we choose the exact place where we
will live or work or go to school, we also take a major step toward determining
who the significant others in our life will be.
F. It is important to realize, however, that
the effects of proximity, when they do occur, are not always positive.
G. The negative effects of proximity have been
called "environmental spoiling."
Schacter, and Back (1950) M.I.T. study. Random assignment in 17 different
buildings. People living close to each
other were much more likely to become friends then those who were not.
people listed 3 closest companions
– 1 door away
41%, 2 doors 22%, 3 – 16%, 4 – 10%
Why these results?
the other hand – close proximity to obnoxious people did not increase positive
et.al., 1976) found that most residients’ friends lived nearby, but so did
To see you is to like you.
INTRODUCTION: What is the first thing we notice about others? Their Looks, of course.
We tend to assume that good looking
people are more likable, better people than those who are unattractive.
(Shallow Hal Syndrome)
1. If we ask people why they become
attracted to someone, most people will tell us that a person's physical
attractiveness is not very important.
2. However, when we examine what
people really do when they respond to others, we find that physical
attractiveness plays a major role in romantic attraction.
To see you is to like you.
4. The evidence is quite convincing that, at least when we first meet
people, their physical attractiveness affects how we respond to them.
5. Our perceptions of another's looks strongly affect how we
relate to them.
6. Numerous studies have found a strong association between how
attractive people perceive someone to be and their positive evaluation of that
person as someone they would want to meet or to date.
II. Physical Attractiveness:
B. Beliefs About Physically Attractive People (continued):
3. WHAT IS BEAUTIFUL IS GOOD:
a. The literature indicates that attractive people are believed to be:
1. sexually warm
and responsive, kind, strong, modest, outgoing, nurturant, sensitive,
interesting, poised, sociable, exciting dates, better character.
b.The literature indicates
that attractive people will have these types of future:
1. more prestige,
have a happier marriage, have more social and professional success, be more competent
in marriage, and have more fulfilling lives.
B. Beliefs About Physically Attractive People
1. There is a great deal of evidence that people usually respond
favorably to physically attractive others, although it is not entirely clear
why this occurs.
2. There is a tendency to assume that attractive people are nicer
people in general ("what is beautiful is good").
The Attractiveness Stereotype
assume attractive people are vivacious and socially skilled, reasonable
intelligent and well-adjusted, but it doesn’t affect our judgment of their
integrity or compassion.
people are also assumed to be more likely to be vain and promiscuous.
people make better impressions on strangers than unattractive people.
The Bias for Beauty
in Eastern as well as Western cultures, but with slightly different content.
Korea, attractive people have the same qualities attributed to them as in the
U.S., but additionally are presumed to be concerned with the well-being of
Beauty can be confused
people are more likely to be hired after an interview and get paid more.
U of Pitt MBA grads
rated 1 to 5 on looks.
1 point increase in
attractiveness rating worth $2600 in average annual salary (M) and $2100 (W)
Good looking misdemeanor
convicts in Texas got lower fines than if they were unattractive.
Who is beautiful?
observers agree on their perceptions of beauty more than they disagree.
is true across racial lines, too.
month old babies show preferences for faces that adults find attractive too,
gazing longer at attractive faces.
what is universally attractive?
Combined with signs of
A broad smile
be more complex
– Strong jaws,
broad foreheads-looking strong and dominant are thought handsome (George
feminized and baby-faced, looking warm and friendly are more attractive
is a variation in women’s preferences
for these two types of looks:
manly features preferred when ovulation is occurring.
boyishness preferred the rest of the month. (Penton-Voak et al., 1999)
faces are consistently seen as more beautiful than unsymmetrical ones.
waist to hip ratio (WHR) of .7 is seen as most attractive (waist is 30% smaller
like larger breasts rather than smaller on if the WHR is low.
are seen as most attractive when waist is slightly smaller than hips WHR .9.
WHR of men affects women’s evaluation of him only if he has a healthy salary,
not so attractive if he is handsome but poor. (Joe Millionaire)
All cultures generally
agree on who is beautiful
Babies seem to be born
with same preferences as adults, thus may be inherited.
People with symmetrical
faces tend to enjoy better physical and mental health, thus are better mates.
WHR’s are hormonally
related and signify the highest likelihood of good health in the other sex.
seems to matter most to those living in equatorial regions where many pathogens
endanger good health.
paintings-during hard times when food is scarce heavier women seen as more
attractive. Slender less desirable.
times of plenty the opposite is true.
differ across ethnic groups too. Different feelings about weight among black
and white women in U.S.
men still prefer the .7 WHR!
of Minn. 376 blind computer dates were created. Students had filled out various personality and attitude
measures, but were in reality paired at random.
two hours of conversation, what do you think was the key factor in how much
they liked each other?…similar background, interests, compatible personalities?
better looking the students were, the more their partners liked them.
a partner’s physical attractiveness is more important to men than women.
1998 91% of cosmetic surgery in the U.S. was performed on women.
Self - Monitoring
high in self-monitoring (the tendency to to tailor one’s behavior
to make a good impression on others) are more concerned with having good
looking dating partners, than those low on this trait. Low self-monitors are
more concerned with substance over beauty.
attractiveness may play a larger role in access to the other sex than women’s
is no correlation between a woman’s looks and the amount of time she spends
interacting with men. Attractive women get more dates, but plainer women
interact with men a great deal in group settings.
On the other hand:
Men’s looks are
correlated with th enumber and length of interactions they have with women.
Unattractive men have
fewer interactions of any sort with fewer women than attractive men do.
• Physical attractiveness plays a larger role in the
social lives of men than women!!
C. Are attractive people more
possible explanation for why people tend to respond more favorably to
physically attractive individuals is that physically attractive people could be
more socially skilled.
have argued that physical attractiveness and social skills are not packaged
together, but instead each contributes separately to successful social
found a positive relationship between males' self-reports of their social
skills and attractiveness.
b.Nonetheless, attractiveness was found to
make an independent contribution to men's social interactions.
c.Reis also found that women's social skills
were negatively related to their attractiveness.
d. However, both attractiveness and social
skill level independently contributed to women's positive social interactions.
C. Are Attractive People more Socially Skilled
3. These findings can best be understood in
light of the theory that attractiveness serves to magnify gender-role
People tend to respond
to attractive males in such a way so as to promote their active, assertive
By contrast, people tend
to respond to attractive females by discouraging assertive social behavior,
leaving women with one of two possible routes to social success: to be beautiful or to be skillful.
Long-Term Consequences of Attractiveness:
1. What happens to the most
attractive people on campus when they become middle-aged?
2. The literature indicates that the
more attractive people are more likely to have gotten married.
3. However, attractive people were no
more likely to report either greater marital satisfaction or middle-aged
happiness than were unattractive persons.
4. SUMMARY: Thus, over time beauty is not destiny.
A. Male Versus Female:
1. There are a number of
gender-linked differences in the social effects of attractiveness.
2. Males, for instance, rate physical
attractiveness as a more important aspect of an enjoyable heterosexual date
than do females.
3. Interestingly, however, there is
very little evidence that once they have begun dating someone, males are more
influenced by physical attractiveness.
Male Versus Female:
4. The research for women, by
contrast, indicates that after they have had a brief date with a male, they are
affected as much as males are by their date's physical appearance.
5. Research also indicates that men overestimate
how important physical attractiveness will be in their actual interactions
Women, by contrast, underestimate how much physical appearance
will influence their attraction to a man.
Male Versus Female:
the area of interpersonal attraction, one of the most important gender-role
stereotypes has to do with who does the asking for a date with a
person of the other gender.
a.According to this theory, the dating
history of traditional women should be more tied to their ability to elicit a
positive response from men, since they believe they have to attract men to
b.By contrast, the theory argues that a
traditional man's dating life will be determined by his own active efforts--
By how hard he tries to get someone to go
how many people he asks, and
what kind of people he asks.
The relationship between frequency of
actual dating and one's own physical attractiveness is considerably stronger
for women than for men.
A. Male Versus Female
7. The effects of physical attractiveness on friendship are
considerably less clear than the way in which physical attractiveness
influences romantic, heterosexual
a. Physically attractive males have more
friends than do less attractive men.
b. Research, however, does not indicate any
clear-cut relationship between women's attractiveness and their same-sex
A. Male Versus Female
8. Several people have examined the notion that
attractive people are more likely to behave in accord with sex-role
For example, research indicates that highly attractive boys are more
active in their attempts to influence their peers, whereas highly attractive
girls are the least active.
b. This finding is consistent with
the view that highly attractive children are more conforming to the traditional
sex-role stereotypes that the male should be socially active and females
should be socially passive.
A. Male Versus Female
relationship between attractiveness and conformity to gender-role stereotypes
has also been found to influence people's social interactions.
a. Attractive males were found to have
more other-sex but fewer same-sex social interactions than less attractive men.
b. Among highly attractive females,
physical attractiveness was associated with fewer social interactions,
regardless of the gender of the other person.
addition, physical attractiveness was positively associated with assertiveness
among males, but negatively associated with assertiveness for females.
attractive males were found to be highly active in initiating contacts with
females, whereas more attractive females were less active with males.
A. Male Versus Female
10. All of this research is
consistent with the notion that attractiveness is associated with an
exaggeration of the gender-role stereotypes of the active male and the
11. It is important to emphasize,
however, that the attractive women in this research were socially passive but
happy, while the attractive men were socially active but not particularly
in in established relationships tend to have similar levels of physical
this works in the beginning of relationships…if there is a mismatch the more
attractive one is usually not interested.
• a source of trouble in marriage is that one
partner “has let themselves go.”
matching hypothesis suggests that we should pursue partners likely to return
= Physical Attractiveness X
Probability of Acceptance
High likelihood of acceptance is an important consideration for most of us.
study demonstrates this (see page 81 and 82)
of men sat with attractive women when the movies were the same.
did when the movies were different
consistency in their among their thoughts, feelings and social relationships.
When two people like or
dislike each other their feeling fit together and are “balanced.”
Students more generous
to supervisor who was nice to pleasant experimenter, or mean to the unpleasant
one…when the interactions seemed balanced!!!
Similarity: Liking People Who Are Just
who form relationships with each other appear similar on almost every objective
variable one can think of.
health, family background, age, religion, and education--demographic
characteristics that have been found to be similar between members of
findings are consistent with the notion that people tend to be attracted
primarily to those who are similar to them.
they are also consistent with the position that we tend to be around only those
who are similar to us.
People Who Are Just Like Us
Another way in which people may be
similar to each other is in terms of their personalities.
2. Husbands and wives whose
personalities are similar report greater happiness in their marriages.
Similarity: Liking People Who Are Just
of the major research areas in the study of similarity and attraction has
involved attitudinal similarity.
work examines how similar people are in their opinions, beliefs, and
is a great deal of evidence that we will be more attracted to someone we
believe has attitudes similar to our own than to someone we believe is
is also evidence that we will be more attracted to someone who actually is
Perceived similarity is a major factor initially in relationships until
people get to know each other.
Marital satisfaction is
more highly correlated with perceived similarity than real similarity.
Another theory is that dissimilarity
is unattractive and leads to avoidance, so we are left with those believed not
to be too dissimilar to ourselves.
Complementarity – reactions that fit our own and contribute to our goals
is also attractive.
What is the effect on
self-esteem of these factors?
Reactance – when people lose their freedom of
action or choice they strive to regain it, thus the Romeo and Juliet effect:
• The more
interference with a romance the more love people feel for their partners.
Also, the “closing time effect” wherein unattached bar
patrons find members of the other sex more attractive as closing time
approaches (occurs even with no drinking).
stage – attraction based on obvious information like age, sex, physical
stage – attraction depends on similarity of attitudes, beliefs, and
Role stage – compatibility depends on agreement
about basic life tasks, i.e. careers, children, chores other life tasks.
quality that initially attracts us becomes an extremely irritating, upsetting,
and distress producing aspect of the other person as time passes. Usually, they
are qualities opposite from our own.
may become irresponsibility
• Strength may
What Do Men and Women Want?
liked in return.