APCO 2P01 Lecture Notes - Timothy Leary, Interpersonal Attraction, Physical Attractiveness
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Interpersonal attraction – refers to a person’s desire to approach another individual. To get to
know them better. Not necessarily physically, but socially. This is a process that occurs very
quickly, not uncommon to meet someone and talk to them for less than 5 minutes and form a
opinion about them. are they well educated? Interesting? We make a lot of inferences from a
little bit of information, how they dress, how they talk, what they talk about. We are inference
making machines. Turns out that there is one thing that is very important – physical
attractiveness. We act more positively, favorable to better looking people. Why do we consider
physical attractiveness to such a degree??
a. Aesthetic appeal – one idea is that we enjoy being with good looking people, because
their physical beauty gives up aesthetic enjoyment. People consistently spend longer
looking at a person if they are physically attractive.
b. Social rewards – another reason we are attracted to physically attractive people is because
we benefit from how they are treated. We treat good looking people a lot better than
average looking people. Indirect social rewards. There are also direct social rewards.
Either way you benefit from being associated with a good looking person.
c. Positive stereotypes – what is beautiful is good stereotype. Refers to the fact that there are
a lot of stereotypes of good looking people that are thought to be good in every way. An
example would be attractive people would be more kind, sexually warm, stronger,
outgoing, poised, better character, ect. Especially when men and women are rating people
of the same or different sex. More prestige, happier marriage, more social and
professional success, more fulfilling life are also some stereotypes that are thought of
good looking people.
d. Self-fulfilling prophecies – general definition: occur when someone believes something is
true and then they act in such a way to make it true.
e. Have better social skills – there is evidence that good looking people have better social
skills than most people. The idea is that you have been good looking for your whole life
and have more positive social interactions. They are experienced. They are given the
benefit of the doubt more often. They have a lot of smooth interactions and are extremely
confident in meeting new people. Especially true when there are social awkward
moments. More social rewards.
The downside to being physically attractive – in many ways, good looking people have a social
advantage over most of us. Good looking people have more same sex friends than average, and
more opposite sex friends, better sex lives, more romantic partners, ect. When you ask for one’s
optimism for living a fulfilling life: there is often a negative relationship for this between good
looking people and optimism. Meaning despite all the advantages, good looking people are less
confident and optimistic to accomplish what they want. Why is this the case?
a. Flattery must be discounted – general idea is how attractive people interpret the social
rewards that they receive. How do they interpret that? They become sensitive to how
their attractiveness affects how they are treated and their kinds of friends.
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b. Negative stereotypes – there are some negative components to the stereotypes that are
made. Men- not sure how dedicated, smart, dependable. women – egotistical, conceited,
undeserving. People think that everything is handed to goodlooking people, think they are
obsessed with their beauty, shallow.
c. Pressure to maintain appearance – attractive people often feel under tremendous pressure
to maintain their appearance. Fearfull of rejection if their beauty is lost. What would
happen if I lost my beauty?? Their physical beauty comes the central part of their self.
Everything is true for men and women. Much more true for women then men. When
people are making judgments of attractiveness, people use cues related to face and body
to rate attractiveness. Men are concerned about their hair, and how buff they are. Men
are more comfortable with their body. Women are much more concerned with slimness,
more critical of own body, more likely to diet. More likely than men to gain substantial
amounts of weight. Why is this true? Women are so critical that they put themselves on
diets that are way too strict. Much more prone to eating disorders. 95% of all anorexics
are females. Cosmetic surgery – primarily a female endeavor, breast enlargement ect. All
women are responding to messages that say that your beauty is really important. There is
no relationship at all between attractiveness an happiness with one’s life.
Complementarity- we are attracted to people who are similar to us. Interactions are a lot
smoother. Birds of feather flock together. They keep us on our toes, keep the relationship
exciting. Interpersonal attraction – theory – timothy leary – dominance, hate, submission, love.
Similarity drives attractions, but also complementary drives attraction as well. Primary:
dominance- submission is complementary, because they are behavioral styles. You are going to
be attracted to the opposite. In this case if you are dominant, you are going to be attracted to
someone who is submissive. True for the short term, and partially the long term. These are
dimensions, so there is a strength element to these ideas. What this means is that if you are a
little dominant, you are attracted to someone who is a little submissive. Love- hate similarity.
You are attracted to someone like you. If you are on the love end of the dimension, then you will
seek someone else who has the love dimension. Same on the hate dimension. It is same with the
strength element, as in you will seek someone who is similar in your level of love or hate.
A. Behavioral – styles that each of us have. Personality variable – nurturance – metaphorical
mother role, they like to take care of everyone. You will be most attracted to people who
want to be taken care of. Opposites attract, complement each other.
B. Abilities or areas of achievement – the self evaluation maintainance model – each of us
has an identity that is tied up in certain areas or abilities. According to the model, all else
being equal, we would be most attracted to other people whose own success does not
undermine our identity as a successful competent good person. Would be more attracted
to people who can achieve in areas that have no implications to what I do, or my abilities.
C. Resources offered- the most beautiful women are expected to marry rich powerful men.
And vice versa for men. Men and women write different kinds of ads when advertising
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