Liking, Loving, and sometimes No Longer Loving Others
Where does attraction begin?
• Why do people become attracted to each other? Four main areas have been investigated:
– – – – Proximity Physical attractiveness Similarity Being liked
• Proximity is better thought of as functional distance or propinquity.
– Functional distance strongly predicts liking.
• Anticipation of interaction
– Just expecting to interact with someone leads us to like them more. – In essence, we are setting the environment for behavioral confirmation. If we expect to like someone, the interaction should go more smoothly.
• Very simply, the more we see something the more we like it (as long as exposure is not incessant – effect tops out between 10-20 exposures). • Examples abound
– Zajonc’s research on nonsense syllables (further he demonstrated that we don’t need to be consciously aware of exposure – in fact, effects are stronger!). – Photograph vs. mirror image preferences. – Black bag man at Oregon St.
• As much as we deny it, we are swayed by how people look. • Hatfield and Berscheid have both done research that indicates that the more attractive a female is, the more likely she is to date.
– The effect is slightly less strong for males.
• Matching phenomenon
– Couples (even friends) tend to be relatively equal in attractiveness. – When not true, less attractive partner usually compensates on some other factor (e.g., very wealthy older men marrying beautiful young women).
The Physical Attractiveness Stereotype
• “That which is beautiful, is good.” • 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. Heck - 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?
Impact of Beauty Stereotype
• Attractive people have better jobs and make more money. • Irene Hanson Frieze found that for each incremental improvement in attractiveness a person earns, on average, $2300 more each year. • Attractive people are perceived to be more popular and outgoing.
– This is probably reality, as they gain confidence from positive attention.
What is Beauty?
• Isn’t it in the eye of the beholder? • Symmetrical and “average” faces are seen as most attractive.
– Become more attractive when average features are exaggerated (e.g., fuller lips and larger eyes in a women).
• Sociobiological explanations
– What is beautiful in women generally indicates fertility. In men, attractive traits tend to indicate the ability to provide and protect. – Males are more upset by sexuality infidelity, females by emotional infidelity.
Is it all relative?
• Classic study indicated that men found women to be less attractive if they had just finished watching Charlie’s Angels. • Men find their spouses less attractive after viewing centerfolds or pornographic films. • True for self also, people find themselves less attractive after viewing other “more attractive” people.
Good News About Beauty
• Beauty is a two-way street. • Although we like attractive people more, we also tend to find people we like to be attractive! • The more in love we are with someone, the more attractive we view them, and the less attractive we view others of opposite sex.
Opposites Do Not Attract!
• The greater number of shared attitudes, the more likable you find the person, particularly if you like yourself!
– Fritz Heider and Balance Theory.
• Opposite is also true – we tend to dislike those who hold different opinions than us. • James Jones proposes that one reason for racism is the actual cultural differences between blacks and whites.
– We dislike that which is different.
Being Liked is Cool!
• Liking is mutual. • We like those who say eight positive things about us better than those who say seven positive and one negative. • “If 60,000 people tell me they loved a show, then one walks past and says it sucked, that’s the comment I’ll hear.” – Dave Matthews • Negative information is unusual and thus grabs our attention. • Compliments backfire however if attributed to a self-serving strategy.
• We will maintain those relationships that we associate with rewards. Summarizes other variables rather nicely:
– Proximity is easier (long distance relationship?) – Attractive people are assumed to have other positive, hence rewarding, characteristics. – People who hold similar opinions as us, validate our opinions, and make us feel smart. – It feels good to be liked.
• What is it? • Sternberg proposes the Triangle Theory of Love.
– Three cornerstones are passion (infatuation), intimacy (liking), and commitment (empty love).
• 4 variants of love produced:
– Romantic Love: intimacy + passion – Fatuous Love: passion + commitment – Companionate Love: intimacy + commitment – Consummate Love: All three ingredients
Styles of Love
• Hendrick and Hendrick: Love has different meaning to different people • Six styles of loving
– Eros: Passionate Love – Ludus: Game Playing Love – Storge: Friendship Love – Pragma: Logical Love – Mania: Dependent Love – Agape: Selfless Love
Is Passion Just Misnamed Emotion?
• Schacter and Singer’s Two Factor Model of Emotion states that arousal X label = emotion. • Experimental evidence suggests that physical arousal from any source intensifies feelings of passion.
– Dutton and Aron (1974): wobbly bridge and returned phone calls. – Couples who do exciting things together report the best relationships.
• Equity: feeling of being treated fairly • Those involved in long term equitable relationships do not worry about short term equity. • Perceived inequity leads to greater levels of distress and depression. • Interestingly, married couples frequently assume that they are both doing more than their share of the housework!
• Deep relationships are intimate. • To be intimate you must be willing to listen to others and to open up. • Sharing of yourself is known as self-disclosure. • Often the key is disclosure reciprocity
– A matching of openness. Tends to progress slowly. – Too much disclosure at once makes one appear unstable.
Predictors of a Successful Marriage
• Divorce is unlikely if:
– – – – – – – – – – Married after age 20 Both grew up in stable, two-parent homes Dated for a long time before marrying Are well and similarly educated Enjoy a stable income from a good job Live in a small town or on a farm Did not cohabitate or get pregnant before marriage Are religiously committed Are of similar age and faith Positive interactions outnumber negative by at least 5 to 1
Dealing with Unhappiness
• Rusboldt and Zimbrodt identified 4 general responses – Exit: ending or actively abusing the relationship – Voice: actively attempting to improve conditions – Loyalty: passively waiting for things to improve – Neglect: passively allowing the relationship to deteriorate • Two dimensions: constructive/destructive and active/passive