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Lecture on Interpersonal relationships.docx

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Virginia K Walker

Interpersonal Attraction March 14 , 2013 Overview • What attracts us to another person? • What is love? • Why do we love? • How do we maintain relationships? • Why do relationships end? Factors that Influence Attraction • Proximity- geographical nearness; closer you are to someone, more likely it is that you will be attracted to them • Similarity • Reciprocal liking • Relationship rewards • Physical attractiveness Proximity • Sometimes called propinquity • Propinquity effect • the finding that the more we see and interact with people, the more likely they are to become our friends • Ex. Festinger, Schachter & Back (1950) • Leon Festinger- got together with Schachter and Back and they studied formation of friendship in 2 floor apartment building and found that people more likely to become friends if they live on the same floor (see each other more often and more likely to interact) • Those who live around stairs or mailboxes more likely to be friends with others (more opportunity to have interaction with others) • Actual physical distance • Functional distance • certain aspects of architectural design (i.e. building) that make it likely some people will come into contact with each other more often than others • Ex. location of rest room, stairs, elevator, or mailboxes • Why does this happen? • Availability- by virtue of coming into contact with someone, it places them in place where they choose who to be friends/in a relationship with; those you come in contact with are those that become available for you to choose from • Anticipation of interaction • More contact you come in with someone, the more you expect you will interact with them in the future • Anticipatory liking- expecting we will like those with who we have to interact with in the future • Adaptive • Mere Exposure • The more we see certain people around, the more familiar they become, the more familiar they are, the more we like them • I.e. new song playing over and over again and you slowly start to like it • Proximity influences how often you come in contact with certain people • Can occur in the absence of physical exposure • Ex. Internet relationships- the more you chat on the internet, looking at their Facebook picture, it can increase your liking for that person, because of mere exposure • Overexposure deceases liking Similarity • Attraction to people who are like us- same beliefs, personality traits, interests, attitudes • Why is similarity important? • People who are similar to us… • Will be inclined to like us- i.e. someone who likes to do the same thing as you, you believe that you will get along with that person • Provide us with important validation for our characteristics and beliefs- someone likes to do what you like so you assume it must be a good thing that you are doing • Will be enjoyable to spend time with • Note that the more attracted we are to someone, the more similar we assume that person is to us • Dissimilarity can increase disliking • False consensus bias- when you assume that people share your beliefs/attitudes/positive characteristics • To the extent to which you believe others believe what you do, you interact with them and discover otherwise • Attitude alignment- become similar overtime; we align our behaviour and attitudes with individuals to whom we feel close • Can opposites ever attract? • Little evidence that opposites attract • Complementarity- i.e. you might be outgoing but you are attracted to those who are quiet/reserved and they are attracted to extraverts • By interacting with someone who compliments you (what you don’t have) gives you access to the opposite side (i.e. your extravert friend takes you out to parties which you wouldn’t go to otherwise) • Some empirical evidence for complementarity; evidence not consistent Reciprocal Liking • When you like someone and that person also likes you • Can come about via a self-fulfilling prophecy (when you hold initial belief/expectation and your belief influences how you behave which in turn elicits responses in others which you use to confirm your initial belief) • Ex. Curtis & Miller (1986) • Flattery & favours • Depends on attributions • Ex. Ingratiation • Effects of low self-esteem • Ex. Focus on literal meaning • Ex. Rebound relationships- deprivation means need will be more satisfying • Ex. Underestimation of how much partner values you • Self-fulfilling prophecy Relationship Rewards • Reward Theory of Attraction • The idea that we are attracted to others who reward us, who we find rewarding, and who we associate with reward • How you feel when you are with that person; associate person with good feelings if you feel good around them • Evaluative conditioning • The idea that stimuli take on the valence of the surrounding situation • If the surrounding situation is positive, the stimulus takes on a positive valence; • If the surrounding situation is negative, the stimulus takes on a negative valence. Physical Attractiveness • Most important for most people but least likely to admit so • Women • Large eyes • Small nose • Small chin • Full lips • Prominent cheekbones • Narrow cheeks • WHR of 0.7 (larger hips than waist) • Men • Masculinized • Strong jaw • Broad forehead • Broad shoulders • WHR of 0.9 (only when he has sufficient resources) • Feminized • Prominent cheekbones • Moderately broad features • Universality in standards of beauty • Symmetry- more symmetrical an individuals’ facial features, the more attractive they are to others • “Average” features • Contrast effects- i.e. looked at magazine then you will find ordinary people less attractive (comparing them to physically attractive people in contrast) • Matching phenomenon • The tendency for men and women to choose as partners those who are a “good match” in attractiveness and other traits • Overtime, our partners seem more physically attractive to us • “What is beautiful is good” • Mostly applies to social competence • Attribute good social skills to good looking people; in fact, good looking people have good social skills but it’s not because they are good looking • Misattribution of arousal • The process whereby people make mistaken inferences about what is causing them to feel the way they do • Ex. Dutton & Aron (1974) • Ex. “Love on the dance floor”- being at a club with loud music, heart racing and you’re really aroused; seeing someone at this moment and assuming you like them misattributed as attraction to another person • Ex. “Make up” sex- angry at each other so you are aroused What is love? • Definitions of love • Companionate love, the feelings of intimacy and affection we feel for another person when we care deeply • Passionate love, the feeling of intense longing accompanied by physiological arousal we feel for another person • Sexual attraction that distinguishes companionate and passionate love • Cultural differences but good within culture agreement- individuals see/experience love in similar way within same culture • Sternberg’s triangular theory of love • The idea that different kinds of love comprise varying degrees of three components: intimacy, passion and commitment; represent emotional aspect (intimacy), motivational (passion) and cognitive aspect (commitment) • Intimacy, feelings of being close to and bonded with a partner • Passion, feelings of arousal and sexual attraction • Commitment, consisting of two decisions: • the short-term one to love your partner • the long-term one to maintain that love and stay with your partner Types of Love (KNOW FOR EXAM) • Non-love • (-) Intimacy, (-) passion, (-) commitment • Casual interactions with people , superficial, uncommitted relationship • acquaintances type of relationships represent non-love • Liking • (+) intimacy, (-) passion, (-) commitment • Friendships with real closeness and warmth- talk to person, spend time, like being around them but no sexual attraction, no longing • Do not expect to spend the rest of your lives together • Infatuation • (+) passion, (-) intimacy, (-) commitment • I.e. crush on someone (sexually attracted, want to be with them but no interaction with them, no commitment) **feeling from sexual attraction but from afar** • Empty Love • (+) commitment, (-) intimacy, (-) passion • Burned-out relationships – spouses committed to remain in relationship but no communication, sexual attraction, etc. • Ex. Arranged marriages- at the beginning can be an example of empty love; commitment to stay in marriage that exists before intimacy and passion develops later on • Romantic love • (+) intimacy, (+) passion, (-) commitment • Liking + infatuation • Feelings of longing and sexual attraction • Ex. Summer fling • Companionate Love • (+) intimacy, (+) commitment, (-) passion • Closeness, communication, sharing • Substantial investment • i.e. Deep, long-lasting friendship; share your inner most feelings, spend time, committed to making friendship last but no sexual attraction • relationship you are committed to make last so you invest resources (emotions, time) but no feelings of passion/sexual attraction • Fatuous Love • (+) passion, (+) commitment, (-) intimacy • Whirlwind courtships based on intense passion • Consummate Love (ultimate form of love according to Sternberg) • (+) intimacy, (+) passion, (+) commitment Gender & Love • Gender differences rare and if they exist then they are small • Men fall in love more quickly compared to women • more likely to endorse romantic beliefs (i.e. life conquers all) • But evidence that both men and women rate several kinds of companionate love as being more important than romantic passionate kinds of love (both men and women value intimacy more important than sexual attraction) Culture & Love • Individualistic (individual is the primary focus) vs. collective (primary focus on interrelationships between individuals and those factors that bind people together) cultures • Cultures that individualistic, romantic love valued more because it is more focused on the self • Western cultures value romantic love more • Eastern cultures… • Value romantic love less than Western cultures • In Western cultures romantic love is a highly personal experience • Often leads to neglect of family and friends for a time • In Eastern cultures emphasis is on social relationships • But… • Love is universal, the differences are in the definition and experience Why do we love? • Two major explanations • Evolutionary explanation of love • Attachment theory • Evolutionary Explanation • Reproduce fitness is our capacity to pass our genes to next generation; produce offspring and keep them safe long enough that they can reproduce and pass on our genes • is derived from evolutionary biology • states that men and women are attracted to each other’s characteristics, which maximizes reproductive success • men/women evolved different strategies in maximizing their reproductive fitness • Accordingly: • men are attracted to a woman’s physical appearance • men produce a lot of sperm and continue to do so, they are interested in getting as
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