Interpersonal Attraction: Meeting,
Liking, Becoming Acquainted
• What Causes Attraction?
• “Need to belong” and “self-actualize”
• Propinquity (Proximity) effect
– Example: Friends at work, school, neighbors as children…
– Example: Consider your closest college friends (and your least
favorite people). Does propinquity seem to play a role?
• Mere exposure effect
– Example: Shoes/TV/outfit
– Example: Guy/girl at work
– Example: Stare at one another
– Example: http://www.sosuave.com/quick/tip29.htm
Class Discussion: Online dating
• Online Dating: U.S. residents spent $469.5 million on online dating and personals in
2004, the largest segment of “paid content” on the web, according to a study
conducted by the Online Publishers Association (OPA) and comScore Networks.
• At the end of November 2004, there were 844 lifestyle and dating sites, a 38 percent
increase since the start of the year, according to Hitwise Inc. However, market share
was increasingly being dominated by several large services, including Yahoo
Personals, Match.com, American Singles, and eHarmony. eHarmony CEO Greg
Forgatch noted that despite the growing number of sites catering to specific niches
"to become a major player, it still takes a large number of people."
• In 2002, a Wired magazine article forecast that, "Twenty years from now, the idea
that someone looking for love without looking for it online will be silly, akin to skipping
the card catalog to instead wander the stacks because 'the right books are found only
by accident.' ...serendipity is the hallmark of inefficient markets, and the marketplace
of love, like it or not, is becoming more efficient"
• What do you think of online dating? MySpace meeting? Research shows that people
are very attracted to the person online before meeting. Do you think that this
connection before makes the person more “physically attractive” after meeting?
– Example: Are your friends similar to you?
Boyfriend/girlfriend? Does similarity foster lasting
relationships more than “opposites attract”?
• Other examples of similarity:
– Opinions and personality
– Interpersonal style
– Interests and experiences
• Why is similarity so important?
– Like us back
– People who disagree with our beliefs
• Reciprocal liking
– Example: Hearing that a guy/girl likes you
– Example: Turning someone down
– Why? “Self-fulfilling prophecy?”
• Physical attractiveness and liking
– Example: Women vs. men
• What is attractive?
– Facial features
• Example: Babies
• Example: Celebrities
– Body shape
• Hip-to-waist ratio and shoulder-to-hip ratio
– Children Adult Elderly
– Too skinny?
– Breast/Penis size – Bigger = Better?
– Evolutionary = good genes
• Love and Relationships
– Evolution of love: Choosing a mate
• Evolutionary approach to love
• The “golden egg” and cheap sperm
– Women are more attracted to men who…
– Men attracted to…
• Cultural standards of beauty
– Most individuals across cultures will rate faces
as similar in attractiveness. Why?
• The power of familiarity
– Example: Text – Superimposed picture
• Why? Similarity? Propinquity?
• Does physical attractiveness or unattractiveness
alter people’s perception of the abilities and
efforts students bring to the academic world?
• Does the attractiveness or unattractiveness of
male students and female students produce the
same effects on a person’s perception?
– Chia, et al. (1998)
• How can these results apply to students and job