Interpersonal Attraction 1 PSYG2504 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY

Interpersonal Attraction 1 PSYG2504 SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY Lecture 9 + Sources of interpersonal attraction – Internal sources – External sources  Proximity  Familiarity  Similarity  Personal attributes + Triangular theory of LOVE (Sternberg, 1986) 2 3 WHY people like or dislike each other?

 Internal sources 1. Need for affiliation (i.e. association with others) • Cooperation is important for survival • Individual and situational factors 4  Internal sources 2. Effects of emotions and arousal • General physiological arousal • Attribution to a target person (misattribution?) • Dutton & Aron (1974) Capilano Suspension Bridge 5 • Dutton & Aron (1974) • An interviewer ask male participants just crossed the suspension bridge VS a sturdy bridge to write a brief story based on a picture • Afterwards gave each participant a phone number in case “they wanted to talk further.” • With female interviewers… • With male interviewers? Suspension bridge Sturdy bridge Participants called the interviewer WHY people like or dislike each other?

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o External sources 1. Proximity 2. Familiarity 3. Similarity 4. Personal attributes 6 + The best single predictor of whether two people will be friends is how far apart they live 7 + Priest & Sawyer (1967) – Studied students in dormitory after a full academic year – Roommates twice as likely as floormates to be friends – Floormates more than twice as likely as students in same dorm to be friends 8 + Why does proximity have an effect?

– Availability – Allows repeated exposure – Lower cost in terms of time, money, forethought (social exchange theory) o Long -distance relationships require time, planning and money o Do you have any good friend move to other countries? – Cognitive dissonance pressures us to like those with whom we must associate – Anticipation of interaction o We prefer the person we expected to meet 9 – Can happen indirectly through social media too 10 + The mere (repeated) exposure effect : simply being exposed to a person (or other stimulus) tends to increase liking for it – Subtle but powerful and general (occurs for people, places, words, objects…) 11 + Moreland & Beach (1992) – 4 equally attractive assistants silently attended a large Social Psychology lecture for 0, 5, 10 or 15 times – Students were asked to rate these assistants – Results? 12 + Limits to Mere Exposure – Most effective if stimulus is initially viewed as positive or neutral – Pre -existing conflicts between people will get intensified, not decreased, with exposure – There is an optimal level of exposure: too much can lead to boredom and satiation (Bornstein et al., 1990) 13 + We like others who are similar to us in attitudes, interests, values, background & personality (AhYun, 2002) + Friendship, dating and marriage 14 15 + Newcomb (1961) – assigned roommates to be either very similar or very dissimilar in attitude and values – measured liking at the end of the semester – those who were similar liked each other and became friends whereas those who were dissimilar disliked each other 16 + In romantic relationships, the tendency to choose similar others is called the matching principle + People tend to match their partners on a wide variety of attributes – Values, attitudes, physical appearance, social background and personality (e.g. Schoen & Wooldredge, 1989) – Age, intelligence, education plans, religion, physical attractiveness, height (Hill & Peplau, 1998) + But friendship and love can transcend differences in background 17 + Why do people prefer similar others?

– Similar others are more rewarding  e.g. agree more with our ideas or share activities – Interacting with similar others minimizes the possibility of cognitive dissonance  To like someone and disagree with that person is psychologically uncomfortable – We expect to be more successful with similar others  Even we all like to date someone who is attractive, rich, and nice…  But having a similar partner gives a relationship that has a higher chance to survive and mutually desired 18 + Limits to Similarity – Differences can be rewarding – Differences allow people to pool -shared knowledge and skills to mutual benefit  e.g. a Social Psyc group project  Note: when we say “opposites attract”, we are often referring to complementary roles rather than dissimilar values and goal 19 + Proximity causes liking – Once we like someone, we take steps to be closer + Similarity causes liking and liking increases similarity – Gruber -Baldini et al. (1995) followed married couples over a 21 -year period – Spouses were similar in age, education, and mental abilities at the initial testing – Over time, they actually became more similar on several measures of mental abilities 20 + There are large individual and cross -cultural differences in the characteristics that are preferred + Within the U.S., the most -liked characteristics are those related to trustworthiness – Including sincerity, honesty, loyalty and dependability + Two other much -liked attributes are personal warmth and competence (Anderson, 1968) 21 + Warmth – People appear warm when they have a positive attitude and express liking, praise, and approval (Folkes & Sears, 1977) – Nonverbal behaviors such as smiling, watching attentively, and expressing emotions also contribute to perceptions of warmth (Friedman, Riggio, & Casella, 1988) 22 + Competence – We like people who are socially skilled, intelligent, and competent – The type of competence that matters most depends on the nature of the relationship  e.g. social skills for friends, knowledge for professors 23 + Physical attractiveness – Other things being equal, we tend to like physically attractive people more (Hatfield & Sprecher, 1986) – People who are obese are stigmatized and face discrimination in the workplace  College students evaluated an obese woman as less sexually attractive, skilled, and warm than an average -weight woman  There is no such difference between over – and average – weight men (Regan, 1996)  Heavier college woman were less likely than were their slimmer counterparts to receive financial support from their parents (Crandall, 1995) 24 – Who is Attractive?  There’s cultural difference  However, some features that are seen as more attractive: 1. Special facial features (Cunningham, 1986) = Childlike features : large, widely spaced eyes and a small nose and chin – “cute” = Mature features with prominent cheekbones, high eyebrows, large pupils, and a big smile 25 2. Statistically “average” faces are seen as more attractive (Langlois and Roggman, 1990) 26 o The 32 composite faces on the right are generally rated more attractive than the 4 composite faces on the left + “Benefits” of physical attractiveness – Well -liked by peers even early in nursery school (Dion & Berscheid, 1971) – Babies prefer attractive faces (Langlois et al., 1987) – give better impressions in job interviews (Cash & Janda, 1984) – receive more help (Benson, Karabenick, & Lerner, 1976) – receive more lenient punishments (Mazzella & Feingold, 1994) 27 + WHY do we like more attractive people?

– Schema/stereotype: attractive people are believed to possess other good qualities  They are believed to be more intelligent, dominant, & mentally healthy (Jackson, Hunter, & Hodge, 1995)  A lecture by a female teacher was rated as more interesting and she was judged to be a better teacher when she wore make up to look attractive (Chaikin et al., 1978)  In fact, there is NO empirical link between looks and intelligence, happiness, or mental health (Feingold, 1992) 28 – Biological disposition  According to evolutionary theory, attractiveness may provide a clue to health and reproductive fitness (e.g.

Kalick et al., 1998) – Social psychological influence  Social gains: Being associated with an attractive other leads a person to be seen as more attractive him or herself  “radiating effect of beauty” 29 + The Halo Effect ( 光環效應 ) – the tendency for positive impressions of a person, company, brand or product in one area to positively influence one’s opinion or feelings in other areas – A cognitive bias 30 + A few negative attributes can be associated with physical attractiveness – beautiful women are sometimes perceived as vain and materialistic (Cash & Duncan ,1984) – although handsome male politicians are more likely to be elected, an attractive woman is not helped by her appearance (Sigelman et al., 1986) 31 + Good news for the plain people – as we acquire more specific individuating information about a particular person, our perception and judgement are less affected by the stereotypes (Eagly et al., 1991) – We not only perceive attractive people as likable, we also perceive likable people as attractive  Gross and Crofton (1977) found that after reading description of people portrayed as warm, helpful, and considerate, these people looked more attractive 32 – Lee et al. (2008):  Users evaluated about 144 pictures (on attractiveness)  Their pictures rated by >5000 people  Users decide whether to accept the invitation to meet if the others offer to date  Users’ probability of acceptance levels off and drops when the others are much more attractive than themselves 33 + Gender differences – For both sexes, characteristics such as kindness and intelligence are necesssities – Men rank physical attractiveness higher (Feingold, 1990; Jackson, 1992)  Women were more willing than men to marry someone who was NOT “good -looking” (Sprecher et al., 1994) – Women places financial resources higher – Men prefer younger partners, while women prefer older partners  Applicable to many other cultures (Buss, 1989)  Evolutionary explanation ÷ Young and physically attractive are cues to women’s health and fertility (Johnson & Franklin, 1993)  Social cultural explanation ÷ Traditional distinct social roles: Men as the bread -winners; Women were economically dependent and poorly educated than men 34 35 Sternberg (1986) + “Beauty is only skin deep”? What do you think? + What do you seek in an intimate relationship? + How much are you aware of the factors that bring about your previous/current intimate relationship(s)? + What kind is your love relationship according to Sternberg’s (1986) theory of love? Does it apply well to our culture?

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