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Week 7 - Interpersonal Relationships.docx

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University of Waterloo
Igor Grossmann

Week 7: Interpersonal Relations - On her return trip from the local watering well, a married woman is asked for a cup of water by a male resident of the village. Her husband, resting on the porch of their dwelling, observes her wife giving the man a cup of water. Subsequently, they approach the husband and the three of them enjoy a lively and friendly conversation into the late evening hours. - Eventually the husband puts out the lamp, and the guest has sexual intercourse with the wife. The next morning the husband leaves the house early in order to catch fish for breakfast. - Upon his return he finds his wife having sex again with the guest. The husband becomes violently enraged and mortally stabs the guest. - At what point in this story do you expect the husband to be jealous? th Pawne Indian Tribe -19 Century - Husband would bewitch any man who dared to request a cup of water Ammassalik Eskimo - Offering his wife to a guest by means of a culturally sanctioned game of “putting out the lamp” - Incredibly jealous, if wife copulated with a man outside of the lamp agreement Toda of Southern India - Polyandrous - Husband would not be upset at all, if the man were at his wife’s mokhthodvaiol - This custom allows husbands or wives to take lovers, after consent from the spouse 1 Attractiveness Physical Attractiveness - Is physical attractiveness universal or culturally variable? Change of Attractiveness Standards 2 Universals of Physical Attractiveness - Some aspects of physical attractiveness have been found to be universal: - Clear Complexion o People are attracted to healthy mates o Skin signals health more directly than any other visible aspect o The cosmetics industry provides people with ways to make their complexion look clearer o People have strong aversive reactions to skin conditions - Bilateral Symmetry o Another market of health is bilateral symmetry o When an organism develops under ideal conditions, its right and left sides will be symmetrical o Genetic mutations, pathogens, or stressors in the womb can lead to asymmetrical development o On average, asymmetrical faces are viewed as less attractive - Average Features o Faces with averagely proportioned features are more attractive than faces that deviate from average o Average features are less likely to contain genetic abnormalities and are more symmetrical o We can process any kind of stimulus that is closer to a prototype easier than one that is further from a prototype  Easy processing is associated with a pleasant feeling that gets interpreted as attractive o Which male and female is most attractive?  Researchers found that, when averaging Japanese faces with Australian faces together (creating Eurasian faces), these Eurasian faces were seen as more attractive than their component faces 3 Cultural Variability of Physical Attractiveness - Body Weight o It is noteworthy that “average is attractive” does not apply to aspects beyond facial features  This is seen with people’s weight, height, muscles, boobs, and hips  For such aspects, it’s bodies that depart from average that are seen as more attractive o The kinds of body weights that are perceived to be most attractive vary considerably across cultures - In 1951, anthropologists concluded that heavier women were universally found to be more attractive o E.g., in Western Africa, the term “fat” is often viewed as complimentary, indicating strength and beauty - In many ways, in the West, women who are usually thin fit the ideal body weight o These ideals for thinner women have been more prevalent during the past few decades, while actual average body weights have increased 4 Value of Attractiveness - Much research, largely conducted with Westerners finds that physically attractive people receive many other kinds of benefits – Tyranny of the Beautiful - Physically attractive Canadian election candidates received 3x as many votes as unattractive ones - More attractive MBAs earned more money than less attractive MBAs - Attractive defendants in misdemeanor cases are assigned lighter sentences than less attractive ones Anderson, Adams, and Plaut (2008) - This study investigated the role of physical attractiveness to life outcomes in the US and in Ghana - Participants indicated how satisfied they were with various life outcomes (e.g., their career, friendships, abilities, etc.) -
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