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?
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): HotorNOT.com 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?