PSYCH253 Lecture Notes - Lecture 12: Ellen Page, Ostracism, Symmetry In Biology

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16 Oct 2011

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Chapter 11
Attraction and Intimacy I: Liking and Loving Others
In-Class Exercise
Which face is most attractive?
Mystery: Charlotte and Harry
Clip Sex and the City Charlotte dumps “perfect guy” because she still loves Harry “bald guy”
Why were they attracted to each other?
Evolutionary theory Harry is a lawyer (high social status and income), Charlotte is young and
Need to Belong
Humans are social in nature
Fundamental human need to belong to a group
Evolutionarily adaptive big group of people can hunt big animals, build shelter, increase
chance of survival
Ostracism is painful because need to belong is so fundamental
Hard-wired brain processes social pain the same as physical pain
Clip 2 confederates leaving out a participant (in game, or conversation) shows actual physical
upset (stress) because of it
Ostracism in the Lab
Researchers use cyberball participant plays a computer game with two others, eventually they
are completely excluded from the game
Feels like physical pain
Ostracism as physical pain
Physical pain alerts us to physical injury, leads us to attend to injury
Social pain alerts us to injury to social connections, leads us to restore social
When excluded from group, how do you restore a sense of belonging?
Conformity accommodating to group standards increases a chance of acceptance, (to
restore sense of belonging)
Study of conformity
o 2 conditions:
1. Inclusion condition: received ball for 1/3 of throws
2. Exclusion condition: did not receive the ball
o Then group perception task (a new group) told that this study did not have
anything to do with last study
o Identify a correct figure with 5 other “participants” who respond first
o At the beginning, confederates would pick right figure, than they would all pick
the same wrong one
o DV: giving wrong answer when they know it’s wrong
o Also a control group who did not participate in cyberball at all
o People who were excluded were more likely to conform, no difference between
included peole and control group
o Social exclusion increased conformity
Other reactions of social exclusion:
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Chapter 11
Underperformance on an aptitude test (because supressing negative emotions of
ostracism takes a lot of cognitive resources
Decrease self-regulation (ex. binge eating)
Increase aggression (ex. school shooting)
What Leads to Friendship and Attraction?
Proximity breeds liking (ex. classmates, roommates)
Availability low cost for interaction
Mere exposure effect when people are exposed to something a lot, they tend to like it
o Study Moreland & Beach, 1992
o Female confederates sat in on a college class
o Frequency of visits: 0, 5, 10, or 15 times during the semester
o DV: evaluate how much they like the confederate
o The more the people were exposed to the confederate, the more people liked
o Mere exposure effect is “hard-wired”
o People tend to categorize things outside their awareness - familiar stimulus is
safe; unfamiliar stimulus may be dangerous
o Stronger when people are not aware of the stimulus
Evolutionary Theory and Physical Attractiveness
Behaviour is shaped to increase chances of survival as a species or as individuals
Gender differences in mate selection are based on biological differences
Ex. men seek fertile (young, healthy) women because men’s main task is to pass their genes on
to the next generation
Ex. women seek wealthy (high social status) men because women must make sure that their
offspring will survive
Clip Seinfeld Jerry and Elaine trying to set up George and Cynthia “The fix-up”: man asks about
body, personality, intelligence, career; woman asks/talks about career, personality, looks
George asks about looks/beauty first, Cynthia asks about his career
Support for the evolutionary theory:
1. Signs of youth and health
o Physical attractiveness
o Hair length and quality is associated with youth and health
o Study physical attractiveness in females
Male undergrads rated women’s faces
Combination of baby face adn signs of maturity was perceived attractive
Look feminine and youthful, not too childish
Ex. baby face large eyes, small nose, large lips (ex. Ellen Page)
Ex. maturity features high eyebrows, large smile, prominent cheekbones
(ex. Julia Roberts)
Comination of baby face and maturity:
Men preferred to date
Men showed sexual interests
Perceived as less likely of medical problems
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Chapter 11
Perceived as liking to raise children
2. Signs of healthy genes
o Average faces are perceived as attractive
o Bilateral symmetry is seen as unattractive
o Average has: development under ideal condition, absence of mutation, pathogens
or stressors in the womb, less likely to contain genetic abnormalities
o Average faces tend to look “familiar” which people tend to like more
o Study attractiveness of other races
Do people perceive faces of other races attractive?
Caucasian and Asian participants rated male and female “average faces”
(composite faces)
a. Caucasian faces
b. Asian faces
c. Combination of the two
Results people rated the combination of Asian and Caucasian as most
Combination of Asian and Caucasian together represents the total average
of all faces seen
Combination was perceived as healthier than Caucasian or Asian average
faces alone
3. Signs of reproductive potential
o Standard of attractiveness has changed throughout time
o However the waist-to-hip ratio has not changed over time
o Low waist-to-hip ratios is associated with reproductive success
o Married women with higher ratio reported more difficulty becoming pregnant
o Low ratio is associated with absence of major diseases
o Ratio increases while women are pregnant status of being married, not eligible for
single men to date/marry
o Study Waist-to-hip ratio
Investigated whether attractiveness was a function of weight or waist-to-hip
Showed men pictures of women with different weights and waist-to-hip
Indicated 3 bodies they found most attractive and least attractive
Counter Point to Evolutionary Theory: Matching Phenomenon
Couples, friends, and spouses tend to share the same values, attitudes, and beliefs
Why do opposites not attract? (ex. an attractive partner may be intimidating for an unattractive
person; non-depressed people tend to like happy people)
Study Montoya, 2008
Men and women of similar attractiveness are drawn to one another
Why? Are people “settling” for whatever they can get? NO!
Attractive people and unattractive people have different standards
Highly attractive people tend to have a higher standard than less attractive people
Less attractive people tend to have a lower standard; they still perceive moderately or
not attractive partner as attractive
Research has shown that regardless of the level of physical attractiveness, people
generally rate their spouses as attractive (average of 8.06 on a 10-point scale)
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