Chapter 10 - Interpersonal Attraction Flashcards Preview

PL3235 Social Psych > Chapter 10 - Interpersonal Attraction > Flashcards

Flashcards in Chapter 10 - Interpersonal Attraction Deck (51):

A central human motivation is ______________: the desire to overlap or blend with another person, so that you have access to that person’s knowledge, insights and experience and thus broaden and deepen your own experience of life.



List the determinants of interpersonal attraction

1) Propinquity effect
2) similarity effect
3) physical attractiveness
4) reciprocity - more important than 2 and 3 cos u get positive feedback.


What is the propinquity effect?

The finding that the more we see and interact with people, the more likely they are to become our friends. The people who, by chance, are the ones you see and interact with the most often are also the most likely to become your friends and lovers.


Why does propinquity work? What is the name of the effect in this case?

Propinquity works because of familiarity, or the mere exposure effect: the finding that the more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more apt we are to like it.
Familiarity breeds liking.
We typically associated positive feelings with things that are familiar (eg comfort food, songs we remember from childhood).
The same is true also for people we encounter. The more often we see certain people, and the more familiar they become, the more friendship blooms.
However, if the person in question is an obnoxious jerk, then the more exposure you have, the greater your dislike becomes.
But in the absence of negative qualities, familiarity tends to breed attraction and liking.


Use the idea of physical distance + functional distance to illustrate how propinquity effect works.

Residents had been assigned to apartments at random, and nearly all were strangers when they moved in.
The researchers asked residents to name their 3 closest friends in the complex.
Just as the propinquity effect would predict, 65% of the friends mentioned lived in their same building, even though the other building were not far away.
Patterns of friendship WITHIN the same building
Each building was designed with front doors only 19 feet apart, and the greatest distance between apartment doors were only 89 feet.
The researchers found that 41% of the next-door neighbours indicated that they were close friends, 22% of those who lived 2 doors apart said so, and only 10% of those who lived on opposite ends of the hall indicated they were close friends.
Attraction and propinquity rely not only on actual physical distance but also on “functional distance”, which refers to aspects of architectural design that determine which people you cross paths with most often.


Use the idea of propinquity effect + mere exposure effect to see how interpersonal attraction works.

Wanted to test the hypothesis that seeing the same people in the same classroom for lessons all semester long increases your liking for these classmates
Tested this hypothesis by randomly assigning students on the first day of class to permanent seats for the semester.
That first day, they had students rate each member of the class on likeability and the extent to which they would like to get to know each other.
These initial ratings indicated that students who sat in neighbouring seats or in the same row had higher initial attraction scores than those seated far apart.
A year later, they asked these students to rate the members of their original class again in terms of how much they liked them, how well they knew them, and to what degree they were friends.
Those who had sat side by side or in the same row the prior semester were significantly more likely to be friends a year later than those who sat far apart


What is the similarity effect?

a match between our interests, attitudes, values, background or personality and those of another person. It is overwhelmingly similarity and not complementarity (oppositeness) that draws people together.


What are some determinants of similarity?

1) opinions and personality
2) interests and experiences
3) physical attractiveness
4) genetics


How do opinions and personality predict similarity?

The more similar someone’s opinions are to yours, the more you will like the person.


How do similar opinions and personality affect what gay people look for in choosing their partner?

In a study of gay men’s relationships, those who scored high on a test of stereotypically male traits desired most of all a partner who was logical - another stereotypically male trait.
Gay men who scored high on a test of stereotypically female traits desired most of all a partner who was expressive - another stereotypically feminine trait.
Similar personality characteristics are important for heterosexual couples and for friends.


How do interests and experiences lead to similarity?

The situations you choose to be in are usually populated by people who have chosen them for similar reasons. Thus, we choose to enter into certain social situations where we then find similar others.


Explain the role of interests and experiences in creating similarity with an example.

Eg: A study of the patterns of students’ friendships that focused on the effects of “tracking” (grouping students by academic ability)
Researchers found the students were significantly more likely to choose friends from inside their track than from outside
Clearly, propinquity and initial similarity play a role in the formation of these friendships
However, similarity plays another role too: Over time, students in the same academic track share many of the same experiences, which are different from the experiences of those in other tracks.
Hence, new similarities are created and discovered, fueling the friendships.
Shared experiences promote attraction


Provide evidence on how we are attracted to people who look similar to us.

Analysing the seating arrangement of college students in a library computer lab over a number of days, physical similarity does predict seating choice
Students who wore glasses sat next to other students with glasses far more often that random chance alone would predict

A second study found the same pattern by hair colour
We are often drawn to those who look like us, to the point where people are even more likely to ask out on dates others who are similar to them in terms of attractiveness level
3rd study: Participants in an experiment were introduced to a partner who was already sitting.
Handed a chair, they were told to have a seat, at which point the research team secretly measured how close to the partner’s chair they put down their own chair.
A separate set of researchers later evaluated photos of both the participant and the partner.
Pairs judged as more physically similar had sat, on average, closer to each other.


Explain how DNA can possibly lead to attraction.

Since people tend to make friends with others who live near them, and individuals of similar genetic ancestry may be more likely to share such geographical propinquity,
Perhaps certain genetic predispositions (eg an athletic build and good lung capacity) make people more likely to select certain activities and frequent certain locales (eg join a running club), which means that genetically similar individuals often end up doing the same thing at the same time at the same place.


What kind of people do we share more DNA with?

Friends tend to have more similar DNA than do strangers.
Found that participants shared more DNA with their friends than with strangers, to a degree that participants were as genetically similar to their average friend as they would be to someone who shared a great-great-great grandparent.

but cannot establish causal relationships


"Opposites attract" is applicable in long-term relationships. True or false?

False. Similarity, not oppositeness

Found that in long-term relationships, individuals’ beliefs about how similar they were to another person predicted liking and attraction better than their actual similarity did.
Thus, feeling similar to another is what’s really important - so much so that we will sometimes create beliefs about the similarity between ourselves and intimate others even when these beliefs don’t actually exist.


When does being different from another person work in attraction?

Low-commitment relationship (ONS)

A lack of similarity does appear to play an important role in one type of relationship - low-commitment relationships (like flings or one-night stands). Thus, in low-commitment relationships, we may go out of our way to choose someone who is strikingly different from us. Such relationships resemble an adventure, but can be difficult to maintain over time as they are based on differences, and not similarities


Can reciprocal liking lead one to ignore the differences between them?


Eg: When a young woman expressed interest in male research participants simply by maintaining eye contact, leaning towards them, and listening attentively, the men expressed great liking for her despite the fact that they knew she disagreed with them on important issues.
Whether the clues are nonverbal or verbal, perhaps the most crucial determinant of whether we will like person A is the extent to which we believe person A likes us.


If you just found out your crush likes you, would you still be inclined to look at attractive faces? Provide evidence

No. The experience of reciprocal liking is powerful enough to neutralise our basic tendency to pay more attention to attractive faces.

Used a computer program to present a series of opposite-sex faces to German research participants,
Immediately after each photo appeared, a geometrical shape was shown that required participants to respond quickly to a keyboard..
This procedure also allowed the researchers to measure which faces elicited the most visual attention from the respondents, and the results indicated that we have a tendency to linger and look longer at good-looking faces.
However, this applies less to participants who had previously been asked to imagine they had just learned that someone whom they had a crush on also had feelings for them. Disrupts their default focus on attractive alternatives.
Makes sense because if we continue to focus on attractive alternatives out there despite experiencing reciprocal liking, we will never get the chance to turn initial interactions into more meaningful, more sustained romantic relationships.


Men always value physical attractiveness in a partner much more than women. True or false?

No not always.

Reported: yes they value more
actual behaviour; both sexes are quite similar

Both genders rated physical attractiveness as the single most important that triggers sexual desire.


Personality traits, more so than physical attractiveness, determine one's initial attraction to another person more.

false. what rubbish we are all superficial people.

Of the many possible characteristics that could have determined whether they liked each other (eg the date’s intelligence, independence, sensitivity, sincerity), the overriding determinant was physical attractiveness


What are some traits found attractive in both males and females?

Prominent cheekbones: A sign of sexual maturity (only found in adults obviously)
Big Smile


What is baby face and why is it liked in females?

Baby Face: Large eyes, small nose, small chin
Evolutionarily advantageous: reminds others of babies
Evokes feelings of warmth and nurturance in others.
Makes others think you’re vulnerable → unlocks instinct to protect


How are cultures similar and different in their perceptions of beauty?

similar: they hold the "what-is-beautiful-is-good" stereotype

different: can possibly differ in the things they find beautiful


What is symmetry and why is it favoured among people?

the size, shape and location of the features on one side of the face match those on the other

Evolutionary perspective: We are attracted to symmetrical features because they serve as markers of good health and reproductive fitness → an indicator of “good genes”.


When faces were combined digitally to create the mathematical average of features of multiple faces, what was found?

When shown to research participants, composite photographs were judged as more attractive than were all the separate faces that had created them, and this held true for both male and female photographs.
The “averaged” composite face was more attractive because it had lost some of the atypical or asymmetrical variations that were present in the individual faces.


What does "averaged" mean?

“Averaged” here refers to features that appear to be of average size and dimension, and not “average-looking”


When Japanese and UK participants were shown composite faces, what was found?

Researchers found that the composites of highly attractive faces were rated as significantly more attractive than the composites of average attractiveness faces.
Japanese and British participants showed the same pattern when judging the faces, reinforcing the idea that similar perceptions of facial attractiveness exist cross-culturally.
But studies should be carried out on people from other cultures too (don’t generalise findings).


What is a crucial variable that determines attraction? Why?



Why is "averaged" faces deemed as more attractive?

“Average” faces together produces one face that looks typical, familiar and physically attractive.

Familiarity is the underlying concept behind propinquity, similarity and reciprocal liking. All these factors predicting attraction may be thought of as different examples of our basic preference for the comfortable, familiar and safe over the unknown and unfamiliar.


Do people like people who look like them?

Researchers have also uncovered an even more startling familiarity effect: When participants rated the attractiveness of faces, they preferred those faces that most resembled their own.
The researchers morphed a picture of each participant’s face (without the participant’s knowledge) with one of a person of the opposite sex
When presented with this photo of their opposite-sex “clone”, participants gave it high ratings of attractiveness.


Give evidence about how physically attractive have it better at life.

1) The more attractive the infant, the more quickly he/she gained weight and the shorter his/her stay in hospital. Neonatal nurses responded more to the “prettier” infants and gave them better care.

2) People on above-average looks tend to earn 10-15% more than those of below-average appearances.

3) College professors perceived as attractive tend to receive higher student evaluation ratings. CAN I HAVE A GOOD LOOKING PROF IN PSYCH PLS :(

4) Attraction even helps one to win elections.
Study: Presented photographs of Finnish political candidates to research participants in many other countries, who would have no prior knowledge of these candidates.
Asked them to rate the politicians on a variety of attributes, including attractiveness.
Found that ratings of attractiveness were the best predictors of the actual number of votes each candidate had gotten in the real elections
A higher beauty rating predicted an increase of between 2.5-2.8% points in the vote total for female participants and between 1.5-2.1 points in the vote total for male participants, amounts that could tip the balance of close election.


For less attractive people, how can they compensate for their lower level of physical attractiveness?

Social factors are important in determining how physically attractive other people perceive you to be
Eg: Smile more. Even if you are attractive, if you smile less (aka have a strong RBF), people will still judge you as less attractive.


What is the halo effect and "what is good is beautiful" stereotype?

Halo effect: A cognitive bias by which we tend to assume that an individual with one positive characteristic also possess other (even unrelated) positive characteristics, which then extends to a what-is-beautiful-is-good stereotype: The belief that physically attractive individuals also have desirable personality characteristics.


Give evidence about the halo effect and "what is good is beautiful" stereotype.

Meta-analyses have revealed that physical attractiveness has its largest effect on attributions related to social competence: the beautiful are often seen to be:
More sociable, extroverted and popular than the less attractive
More sexual, happier and more assertive
Halo effect extends to the online realm too: one study of dating websites found that those users who posted more attractive photos were also rated as having written more attractive profile descriptions


Discuss cultural differences in determining what traits beautiful people have.

Study: College students in South Korea were asked to rate a number of yearbook photographs
Both male and female participants thought the more physically attractive people would also be more socially skilled, friendly and well-adjusted - the same group of traits that North American participants thought went with physical attractiveness.
However, Korean and North American students differed in some of the other traits they assigned to be beautiful, highlighting differences in what is considered important in each culture.
North American students who live in more individualistic cultures: Their culture values independence and individuality and self-reliance → their “beautiful” stereotype included traits of personal strength, but such traits were not part of the Korean “beautiful” stereotype.
For Korean students who live in more collectivistic cultures: Their culture values harmonious group decisions, their “beautiful” stereotype included integrity and concern for others.


What is the self-fulfilling prophecy when applied to beautiful people?

The stereotype that the beautiful are particularly gifted in the area of social competence has some research support → highly attractive people do actually develop good social interaction skills + report having more satisfying interactions with others than do less-attractive people


Elaborate on the self-fulfilling prophecy (4)

1) Expectation
Sees that they are physically attractive
Halo-effect at work: Makes use of the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype and expect that they are more socially proficient

2) Behave
Behaves in a more sociable way - being more attentive, being a more fun and interesting conversation partner

3) React
Attractive person receives a great deal of attention from you (and other people who treat them in a similar way to you)
Sees that you are behaving in a friendly manner to them and would thus reciprocate
Reciprocation: A form of practice that allows them to develop good social skills → such people have ample opportunities to actually develop superior social skills

4) Fulfilled
Ends up having superior social skills due to many opportunities to practise, which arise from how people treat them


Can a “regular” person be made to act like a “beautiful” one through the self-fulfilling prophecy?

Yes. as long as you don't see their face.

Gave college men a photo and a packet of information about a woman with whom they were about to have a phone conversation with
However, the photo was rigged; at random, the men were either given a photo that the previous group had judged to be attractive or one that the previous group rated as unattractive. In both cases, the photo was not of the actual women they were about to speak with.
The experimental purpose of the photograph was to invoke the men’s stereotype that “what is beautiful is good” - to test the possibility that a woman would be more likable, more poised, and fun to talk to if her male conversation partner believed she was attractive.

The men who thought they were talking to an attractive woman responded to her in a warmer, more sociable manner than the men who thought they were talking to an unattractive woman.
The men’s behaviour actually influenced how the women behaved:
When independent observers listened to a tape recording of only the woman’s half of the conversation (without knowing anything about the photograph the men had seen), they rated the women whose male participants thought they were physically attractive as more confident, animated and warm than they rated those women whose male participants thought they were unattractive.
Because the male partner thought he was talking to an attractive women, he spoke to her in a way that brought out her most sparkling qualities.

Subsequent studies have found similar results with the gender roles reversed → physical attractiveness also affects how women treat men, not only the other way round.
Meta-analyses have found that physical attractiveness is also an important factor how men are treated and perceived.


Explain, from an evolutionary perspective, how people choose their mates.

The basic tenet of evolutionary biology is that an animal’s “fitness” is measured by its reproductive success (i.e its capability to pass on genes to the next generation)
This biological concept has been applied to social behaviour by some psychologists, who define evolutionary psychology as the attempt to explain social behavior in terms of genetic factors that have evolved over time according to the principles of natural selection.
Eg: Helps to explain why people find symmetry in faces beautiful → acts as a indicator of positive health and “good genes”


What do females look out for in a mate (evolutionary perspective -5)?

1) Reproduction is costly and a long-term investment
Costly in terms of time, energy, and effort: have to endure the discomforts of pregnancy, the risks of childbirth. Traditionally, they hold the primary responsibility for caring for the infant until maturity.
Thus, females must consider carefully when and with whom to reproduce.

2) Reproductive success is measured by quality of offspring (successfully raising each of their offspring to maturity)
Prioritise survival of offspring
Pair less frequently and only with carefully chosen males, because the cost of them raising and ensuring the survival of each offspring is so high

3) Will look for a partner who can provide resources and support what she needs to raise a child
Will respond to the economic and career achievements of men because these variables represent resources they and their offspring need.

4) Values money, power, career achievement in a partner (ambitiousness, industriousness and earning capacity)

5) Tend to view emotional cheating as worse than physical cheating
You can no longer be assured that these resources aimed at raising your child will go to you.


What do males look out for when selecting a mate (evolutionary -5)

1) Reproduction is a low-cost and a short-term investment.

2) Reproductive success is measured by quantity of offspring
Prioritise dissemination of genes
Pursue frequent pairings with many females in order to maximise their number of surviving progeny

3) Will look for a partner who is capable of reproducing successfully
Use physical appearance to judge if partner can reproduce successfully as age and health denote reproductive fitness

4) Values physical attractiveness in a partner

5) Tend to view physical cheating as worse than emotional cheating
If she cheats, you cannot be sure that the baby she’s carrying is yours
Cannot be sure that your genes will be disseminated


What is the relationship between a woman’s menstrual cycle, her perceptions of potential mates and how potential mates view her?

As a woman near ovulation and peak fertility, she tends to exhibit greater preference for men who exhibit outward signs of reproductive success: a symmetrical face, a masculine face and a muscular physique


Despite all these differences, what do both sexes look out for when chosing a partner?

honesty, trustworthiness and a pleasant personality.


Can it be argued that females do gain from having multiple sexual partners?

YES. With multiple partners, females would increase the odds of getting resources for their offspring, as well as benefit from genetic diversity.
Females could choose an attractive male with “good genes” with whom to procreate and another male with whom to raise that offspring.


Is there another explanation as to why male care about physical attractiveness?

It might also be the case that men value physical attractiveness in a partner not because of evolved tendencies, but simply because they have been taught by society to value it - conditioned by decades of advertising, media images and other cultural messages to value beauty in women and to have a more recreational approach to sex than women do.


How do situational factors determine the extent to which females will value physical attractiveness?

Research has also found that in some situations, women value physical attractiveness just as much as men - specifically when they are considering a potential sexual partner as opposed to a potential marriage partner.
Also, around the world, women typically have less power, status, wealth and other resources than men do.
Thus, in many societies, women need to rely on men to achieve economic security, and they must consider this characteristic when choosing a husband.
The more economic power women had in a given culture, the more highly women prioritized a man’s physical attractiveness.
When discussing human mate preferences, it is often difficult to disentangle “nature” (inborn preferences) from “nurture” (cultural norms and gender roles).
Many of the sex differences related to mate selection and attraction can be attributed to both evolutionary factors and also situational factors.


When females sat while males approached them in a spped dating situation, what happened?

Research indicates that women are significantly more discriminating about who they’ll go out with than men are.
Makes sense from an evolutionary perspective: women have to be picky because they can’t afford to make mistakes; unlike men, their fertility window is relatively narrow across the lifespan, and each decision to reproduce requires more time and resources.
Eg: College students had brief conversations with a dozen different opposite-sex individuals.
In these speed-dating sessions, the women remained seated while the men in attendance rotated in a circle, spending 4 minutes with each prospective dating partner before moving on.
At the end of the speed dating event, all participants completed a questionnaire assessing their attraction to these potential mates and whether they’ll be interested in each person again
Women were found to be more selective than men, reporting lower levels of romantic desire and identifying fewer prospective mates that they’d like to get to know better.


When the reverse occurred, what happened?

In this case, the female participants now reported more chemistry with their partners and identified more prospective mates that they wanted to see again.
Results suggest that sex differences in mate selectivity do not simply reflect evolution or biology, but are also attributable to the established dating paradigm in most societies, in which men are the approachers and women the approachees.
Being approached gives you control in the world of dating, regardless of sex or gender.
Being approached also means feeling in demand and having options.
Need both “nature” and “nurture” explanations to fully understand the psychology of attraction and mate selection.


Is there a causal link between presence of a mobile device and decreased social connection?


Bringing pairs of strangers into their lab for a 10-minute conversation
Half of these conversations took place with a mobile phone or tablet sitting on the small table between them; the other half had no phone present.
Found that the mere presence of the mobile device decreased participants’ feelings of trust, closeness and empathy with their conservation partner.
These effects were particularly pronounced when the pairs were instructed to discuss a personally meaningful topic, a scenario that, in the absence of a phone, would be expected to foster a sense of closeness among strangers meeting for the first time.
Shows that our mobile devices can be very distracting, and it is good to take breaks from it at times.


How do you study the propinquity effect in online dating?

(hint: related to a title of a song by The Script!)

Examined “degrees of separation”: A measure of social distance between people: You are one degree away from everybody you know, 2 degrees away from the people they know and so on
Analysed an instant-messaging network to see how many different people in a “chain” it would take, on average, to connect 2 random users to each other.
Average length of chain: 7, and 90% of pairs could be connected in no more than 8 “hops”
Demonstrates what many of us take for granted now: in the modern world, there aren’t nearly as many degrees of separation between strangers as there once were, putting a whole new spin on the relationship between propinquity and attraction that we discussed earlier.