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Lecture 6

Lecture 6.docx

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Emily Impett

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Attraction and Close Relationships (Lecture 6) - Four Factors that InfluenceAttraction: - 1) Proximity o How close we are in physical distance from someone. The people you choose to interact with. o “Contrary to popular beliefs, I do not believe that friends are necessarily the people you like best; they are merely the people who got there first”. - Sir Peter Ustinov. o Westgate Housing Study  Married MIT students randomly assigned to one of 17 buildings in a housing complex isolated from the rest of the city.  Virtually no one knows anyone in the complex  Simple question: who ends up liking whom?  Results: 65% of the residents had at least one friend who lived in their own building. But those living in the same building represented only 5% of all residents. The people had more friends that lived next doors than two doors away, or end of the hall, respectively.  How does it work? • We have increased opportunity to meet people who live close to us. Proximity makes contact more likely. • We tend to like novel stimuli more after we have been repeatedly exposed to them (mere exposure) o Mere Exposure Effect  The tendency for novel (new) stimuli to be liked more after we have been repeatedly exposed to them.  Correlational Examples • Correlation between frequency of exposure and how much we like items in a given domain. • We like apples more than grapefruits and broccoli more than leeks because we are more exposed to apples and broccoli in North America. • Does exposure lead to liking? Or liking lead to exposure?  Better Correlational Evidence • People prefer letters in the English alphabet that appear more often in words. o Hard to imagine that there are so many Es and Rs because people like those letters. (more words have Es and Rs) • We tend to prefer letters in our own names o The name came first (from our parents), then the preference for the letters.  Experimental Evidence • Randomly assigning people to view one stimulus (Chinese alphabets) more than the other, they like the stimulus they were exposed to more.  Dog Study • Do we select dogs that look like us? • 45 dogs and their owners photographed separately • Judges shown one another, that owner’s dog, and one other dog. • Task for participant: pick the true match. • Results: o Observers were better able than chance to match the owner with their dog o Observers correct 64% of the time o Results due to selection, not convergence; not due to becoming more similar over time (ability to pair a person with their pet was not associated with length of dog ownership) - 2) Similarity - Do opposites attract or do birds of a feather flock together? - Empirical Evidence: o 1000 married couples provided information about themselves on 88 characteristics. o Average similarity of couples compared to similarity of random “couples” o Actual couples more similar on 66/88 characteristics o Most similarity for social class and religion. o Interracial and interethnic couples are more similar to each other in personality traits than couples of the same race and ethnicity. o Possible compensation for dissimilarity on one dimension by seeking out similarity on others. - How does it work? o Similarity facilitates smooth interactions (similar attitudes, less conflicts of interest). o We expect similar others to like us o Similar others have qualities we like; dissimilar others are “unreasonable”. - 3) Physical attractiveness - What is beautiful? o Facial symmetry: Preference for symmetrical faces (seen across cultures, ethnic groups, etc). (1.618-1 ratio exists in all beautiful faces) o Women: Large eyes, small nose, small chin, prominent cheekbones, high eyebrows o Men: large eyes, small nose, large chin - Halo effect: the common belief (accurate or not) that attractive people possess a host of positive qualities beyond their physical appearance. (attractive people tend to benefit from the halo effect; very positive stereotype) - We think attractive people: o Are happier o Are more extraverted and sociable o Are more popular o Are more intelligent o Make more money - Kernel of Truth o Highly attractive people do develop good social interaction skills and report more satisfying interactions with others o They are treated differently (due to the beauty is good stereotype) o This creates a self-fulfilling prophecy - Benefits of Attractiveness o School work evaluated more favorably o Earn more money (especially men) o Receive more help from others (especially women) o Receive lighter prison sentences - Starts Early in Life o Nurses are more responsive to “cuter” babies (cuter babies gained weight more quickly and were discharged from the hospital faster). o Attractive infants receive more playful attention from their mothers o Attractive children are more popular in nursery school - Don’t forget the power of situation! o Lady in Red: there is a notion that red might make a woman more sexual. Red is a symbol of love and passion. o The Beer Goggle Effect: assumption that people increase in physical attractiveness the more alcohol they drink. o Bar Study:  103 women and men recruited from local bars near a university in the southern U.S.  Asked to rate other people’s attractiveness as three time points • 9:00 pm
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