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Lecture 2

PSY424H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 2: Intrusive Thought, Eharmony, Speed Dating

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Geoffrey Mac Donald

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Lecture 2
Definition: increased energy and focused attention on a preferred mating
partner… feelings of exhilaration, intrusive thinking about the love object, and a
craving for emotional union with this partner
A physical “cocaine-like” rush, idealization, want to touch them
When people are first falling for somebody, they have trouble fully processing
the information about them
Got people who are in relatively new relationship, got a scale to rate their
partner and fill in the positive and negative aspects of the people
o Able to evaluate that their partner had negative qualities
o Negative qualities didn’t predict whether they were happy in the
relationship or not
Chemistry (more in the sexual sense)
More variance in evaluations of “mate value” is idiosyncratic than consensual
(Eastwick & Hunt, 2014)
o Consensual: some sort of shared perception on how attractive you are
o Idiosyncratic: each individual has their own take on how attractive you are
Uniquely shared
o Chemistry is important that idiosyncratic feeling you have plays a big role;
but going to talk mainly about consensual evaluations in this class
o Successful reproduction may be more about forming a strong pair bond
rather than finding the “best” mate (Lykken & Tellegen, 1993)
What strong pair is will vary from person to person
The experience of chemistry (Leiblum & Bresnyak, 2006)
o Subjective
o Strong physical attraction
o An interpersonal process
Special combination of people
Unique dynamics emerge from the combination of two personalities
(not additive)
o Feeling out of control (feel swept off your feet, fall in love)
Looks like it’s important in terms of who’s attracted to who
May be impossible to predict, at least at the moment (Joel et al., 2017)
o Haven’t had the tools to look, statistics
o Maybe it’s not even possible to predict – there may not be an answer
o Machine learning not able to predict
o Claims by eharmony special algorithm to find someone who has chemistry
with you”; the problem they say that they can solve may not even be
o Speed dating, look at people’s dating history
o Finding the right variables

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What Leads to Attraction?
Situational factors
o Geographic proximity
Friend/family networks; all things that require geographic proximity
o Readiness (Hadden, Agnew, & Tan, 2018)
Who is in a place to get in a relationship with someone else
E.g. financial stability, finishing education, emotional maturity
Interpersonal factors
o Similarity/complementarity
Complementary: opposites attract e.g. introversion-extroversion
If anything, similarity is more important
Similarity when it comes to demographic factors, it’s particularly
important e.g. educational background, income level, religion
E.g. Hollywood movies, there are lots of people working on set, but
it’s always the actors getting together
Some findings that personality-wise, it’s kind of random
Perceived similarity more important than actual similarity for long-
term relationships (Montoya et al., 2008)
Some findings show that objective similarity more important at the
beginning of a relationship
Humour and Complementarity?
No gender difference in value placed on sense of humour (Feingold, 1992)
Gender differences in use and appreciation of humour
o Men use more humour in online dating ads; women more likely to request
someone who is funny (Wilbur & Campbell, 2011)
o Men using humour in self-descriptions rated as more attractive by women
(Bressler & Balshine, 2006)
Not true of men rating women, women rating women, or men rating
o Degree of women’s laughter in an interaction, but not men’s, predicts
interest in dating (Eibl-Eibesfeldt, 1990) -> if women laugh, probably
interested; but if men laugh, might not suggest so
Good sense of humour
o Men: producing jokes
o Women: appreciating jokes
o Complementary relationship between men and women wrapped within the
general similarity domain (no gender difference in value placed on humour)
Sociosexual Orientation (Simpson et al., 2004) -> on a personality-level rather than
current state
Are you looking for a short-term or long-term relationship?
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