Attraction _amp; Interpersonal Relationships

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					Initial Attraction
   October 23, 2009 :
      Lecture 13
       Why Do We Like Other
•   Proximity

•   Familiarity

•   Similarity

•   Reciprocity

•   Attractiveness

•   Misattribution of Arousal

•   Scarcity

•   Propinquity Effect

    •   The more we see and interact with other people,
        the more likely we are to become our friends

•   Mere-Exposure

    •   The more exposure you get to a neutral object,
        the more you will like it

    •   Does not apply if the object has negative
        MIT Westgate West Apartments

•   Festinger, Shachter, & Back (1950)

    •   Friendships among MIT married couples’ dormmates

        MIT Westgate West Apartments
•   Results (% close friends by neighbor type):

    •   Next-door Neighbors: 41%

    •   2 doors apart: 22%

    •   Opposite hallways: 10%

    •   Apartments 1 and 5 had more friends from 2nd floor

               Research on Mere-
•   Moreland & Beach (1992)

    •   Method:

        •   Confederate sits in front row of class for 0 - 15

        •   At end of semester, students rate liking of
             Research on Mere-
•   Moreland & Beach (1992)

    •   Results: Liking by Exposure
              Mere-Exposure to Faces

•   Mere-Exposure to Your Own Face

    •   We tend to prefer our mirror image over
        photograph image

    •   Friends prefer photograph image

Taken from Pelham, Mirenberg, & Jones (2002, J. Personality and Social Psychology, p. 471)
Taken from Pelham, Mirenberg, & Jones (2002, J. Personality and Social Psychology, p. 473)
          Why does proximity
          promote attraction?

•   Availability/accessibility

•   Because it suggests similarity!

•   Mere exposure
           People we Don’t Like

•   Enemies also proximate (Ebbeson et al, 1974)

    •   63% of most liked lived close (avg 236 ft)

    •   73% of most disliked lived close (avg 151 ft)
                Similarity or
•   Complementarity - “Opposites attract”

    •   Baby seems we never ever agree / You like the
        movies / And I like T.V. / I take things serious /
        And you take 'em light / I go to bed early / And
        you party all night (Abdul, 1988)

•   Similarity - “Birds of a feather flock together”

    •   Research supports that similarity promotes liking
                Similarity or
•   Newcomb (1961)

•   Method:

    •   Randomly assigned 1st-year college roommates

    •   Measured all sorts of personality traits, attitudes,

    •   Look at friendship formation after first year
                  Similarity or

•   Newcomb (1961)

•   Results:

    •   Similarity predicted friendship formation

        •   Demographics, attitudes, values, personality
            traits, and communication styles
         Why Does Similarity
          promote Liking?
•   Shared interests facilitate conversation and

•   Similarity provides subtle validation of our views
    and opinions (gives us “social proof”)

•   Tend to expect that similar people will like us

•   Self-concept validation

•   We dislike dissimilar people
             Reciprocal Liking

•   Girl: Do you like me?

•   Boy: Sure I do.

•   Girl: But do you like like me?

•   Boy: well…do you?

•   Girl: I asked first.
                  Reciprocal Liking
•   We like people better who like us

•   Pick up subtle liking cues

    •   Eye contact

    •   Leaning in

    •   Attentive listening

    •   Mimicry

•   Less true for people with low self-esteem/negative self-
•   Attention getting

    •   See each other, stake out
        territory, give information

•   Recognition

    •   Eye contact & voice tone

•   Touching

    •   The first touch

•   Keeping time

    •   Non-verbal synchrony

•   We like those who like us
•   Curtis & Miller (1986)

•   Method:

    •   Randomly pair participants

    •   Tell one participant (P) that their partner (T)
        either does or does not like them

    •   P and T interact, and post-interaction liking is

•   Curtis & Miller (1986)

    •   Results: Liking of T
•   Beliefs and Myths of Beauty

•   What is attractive?

    •   Symmetry

    •   Averageness

    •   Babyfacedness

    •   Cultural influence

•   Attractiveness and relationships
        Maxims about Beauty

•   “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

•   “Never judge a book by its cover.”

•   “Beauty is only skin-deep.”
        Maxims and myths of beauty
          (Langlois et al., 2000)
•   Myth: “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”

    •   Raters agree about who is and who is not attractive

•   Myth: “Never judge a book by its cover.”

    •   Attractive children and adults are judged more positively, even by those
        who know them

    •   Attractive children and adults are treated more positively, even by
        those who know them

•   Myth: “Beauty is only skin-deep.”

    •   Attractive children and adults exhibit more positive behaviors and traits
What is she like?
What is she like?
           Effects of Physical

•   Physically attractive individuals have an edge
    when it comes to relationships

•   Certain physical features are reliably associated
    with judgements of attractiveness

•   We especially respond to “baby faces” and
    symmetry of facial features
Physical attractiveness and
•   Walster et al., (1966)

•   Method:

    •   752 freshmen met up
        at a blind-date dance

    •   Assigned to random

    •   Who wanted to go on
        a date again?
Physical attractiveness and
•   Walster et al., (1966)

•   Results: Desire for
    second date driven by:

    •   Partner’s

    •   Independent of rater’s

    •   NO personality effects
What is attractive?
                 What is Attractive?

•   Research looking at yearbooks, pageants, etc:

    •   Men:

        •   Large eyes, strong cheekbones, large chin, big smile

    •   Women:

        •   Large eyes, small nose, prominent cheekbones and narrow cheeks, high

        •   eyebrows, large pupils, big smile

•   Features

    •   Large eyes, rounder face and nose

•   Outcomes

    •   More persuasive

    •   More trustworthy

    •   Evoke liking and caregiving behaviours
      Why are these features

•   Good health → facial symmetry

•   Sexual Maturity → Cheekbones

•   Dominance → square jaw

•   Submission & Getting nurturing → baby-faced
Symmetry Matters!
    A         B         C

Which face is most attractive?
             Which face is most
•   Langlois & Roggman (1990)

    •   Composite faces rated more attractive than
Mathematically Averaged Faces
Mathematically Averaged Faces
Composite Faces
Composites in Advertisements

 6 Female Faces   7 Female + 7 Male
    Is Beauty Truly Average?

•   Composites of people rated highly attractive are
    more attractive than composites of all
    attractiveness levels
        Attractiveness & Liking

•   This seems somewhat hard-wired

    •   Babies stare at ‘attractive’ faces longer

    •   There is a fair amount of cross-cultural
        consistency in attractiveness judgements
         But “Attractiveness” Is

•   Cultural and historical standards of beauty shift

    •   Media images of beauty convey current trends
Before and after retouching
Early 1900s
Late 1930s
Late 1950s
Mid 1960s
                Ideal Body Image
• Which image is ideal for your sex?

• Which comes closest to your own body?
                  Variation across 54 cultures
                     (Anderson et al, 1992)

high               Preference for heavy body   Preference for thin body

      Low                                                High (reliable)
                      Food supply in that
       Mean bust-to-waist ratio

1900   1920      1940   1960      1980
Sadly, this is not a winning play for the long
haul. If Dove keeps running ads like this,
women will get bored with the feel-good,
politically correct message. Eventually (though
perhaps only subconsciously), they'll come to
think of Dove as the brand for fat girls. Talk
about “real beauty” all you want -- once you're
the brand for fat girls, you're toast.
                                    Seth Stevenson
                             “When Tush Comes to Dove”
                             Slate Magazine, August 1, 2005
Japan: ‘I will not hide my skin anymore!’
Chinese ad (from Hong Kong)
Russian advertisement
German advertisement
    Why Does Beauty Promote
•   Beautiful-is-Good Schema

•   Beauty creates a “halo effect”

    •   Occurs most for social competence

    •   More sociable, extraverted, popular

    •   More sexual, happy, friendly

    •   There is a kernel of truth here
•   Tendency to associate attractiveness with

•   Stereotypes across cultures:
       Traits in US,
                            Traits only in   Traits only in
        Canada, &
                            US & Canada         Korea
      riendly/popularWell                   •SensitiveGenerou
                          •StrongDominantAs sWarmTrustworthy
      -adjusted &
      matureHappyIntelli                    /honestEmpathic

•   Anderson & Bem (1981)

    •   Replicated Snyder et al. (1977) using men as the
        targets and women as the people who see the

    •   Found similar results, suggesting that physical
        attractiveness is socially important for men as
        well as for women

•   We seek partners that are of similar attractiveness
    to us, and are more satisfied with these partners

•   Evidence for Matching Hypothesis

    •   Couples of similar attractiveness were more
        likely to continue dating after a blind date

•   UCLA Dating Study

    •   Recruited dating partners & took a picture of

    •   Other students rated each partner’s

    •   6 months later, researchers contacted dating
        partners to ask about their relationship
              Matching Hypothesis

•   UCLA Dating Study

    •   Results: Similarity in attractiveness predicted:

        •   Satisfaction in relationship

        •   Relationship longevity

        •   Lower break-up rate at 6-month follow-up
        Misattribution of Arousal

•   Recall the Bridge Study from Lecture 11

    •   Arousal is misattributed as attraction when an
        attractive social object is present

•   If potential mates are not plentiful, we may shift
    our standards of attractiveness

•   “Closing time” studies (Gladue & Delaney, 1990)

    •   Approached people in bars

    •   People asked to judge attractiveness of same-
        sex and opposite-sex targets (both photos and
        other patrons)

    •   Time until closing time used as independent

•   “Closing Time” Studies

    •   Attractiveness ratings of opposite-sex targets
        increased as the evening progresses (9:00 PM <
        10:30 PM < 12:00 AM)

    •   Holds even when statistically controlling for
        alcohol intake

•   If we are told we cannot have something, we tend
    to desire that thing even more

    •   “Romeo and Juliet” effect

    •   “Playing hard-to-get” (in moderation!)
                       “That’s Hot!”

•   Next Time:                   - Paris Hilton

    •   Close Relationships I

•   Related Websites:



    •   Information on Dove’s Campaign for “Real Beauty”:


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