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Lecture 16

Psychology 2075 Lecture 16: Lecture 16 Attraction and Love I

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Psychology 2075
William Fisher

Lecture 16 Attraction and Love I/II Attraction, Love, and Sexuality • Assumed Linear Model o Attraction  Love  Sex • “Sex is a natural expression of love” • “Sex is justifiable only in the context of love” • But there are alternative adjustments… o Nonsexual acts as natural expressions of love o Love as a natural excuse for sexual expression o Love without sex, sex without love Attraction • Liking and positive evaluation of other • Platonic or sexual What Drives Attraction? • Byrne’s Law of Attraction Attraction = f • Positive Reinforcements o Positive + Negative Reinforcements • Basic lawof attraction is that we are attracted to those who provide us with positive reinforcements – make us feel emotionally positive, can shape our behavior • Evaluate positively people who are the source of positive reinforcements What is Interpersonally Reinforcing? • Attitude similarity—interpersonal agreement –is strongly positively reinforcing • Attitude similarity provides consensual validation concerning critical but otherwise unverifiable issues o Should I stay at Western? o Should I study psychology? o Should I go to graduate school? • Attitude similarity drives interpersonal attraction because it is reinforcing Laboratory Study of Interpersonal Attraction: Byrne’s Bogus Stranger Technique • Similar or dissimilar bogus stranger and interpersonal judgement scale • Attitude similarity drove interpersonal attraction Laboratory Study of Interpersonal Attraction: Similarity and Dissimilarity of Sexual Attitudes • Attraction to Same-Sex or Opposite-Sex Bogus Stranger, as a function of similar or dissimilar sexual attitudes • Sexual attitude similarity especially important in opposite sex heterosexual dyads • A dissimilar stranger is liked much less than a similar stranger “Real Life” Study of Interpersonal Attraction: Computer Dating • 420 couples responded to measures of attitudes and personality • 44 maximally similar (N = 22) or maximally dissimilar (N = 22) couples were matched and sent on a 30- minute “Coke Date” to the student centre • Interpersonal Judgment Scale, physical proximity, and follow-up measures of attraction were assessed Attraction to Coke Date as a Function of Attitude Similarity and Physical Attractiveness • Always an effect of attitude similarity • Similar others liked more especially when they are attractive • Dissimilar couples stood further apart (below) Similarity is Not Always Reinforcing: Attitude Similarity to an Emotionally Troubled Person • Standard stranger technique but with a twist – person you are similar to has a stigmatized condition • For people who didn’t say they had a breakdown and were hospitalized, dissimilar others, you wanted to avoid them • When you were similar to someone who indicated psycho you wanted to avoid, even though they are similar • So the main driver is positive reinforcement, not attitude similarity • Attitude similarity reinforces things positively – but there are cases in which it can be negative (like above) Physical Attractiveness and Sexual Attraction • Evolutionary psychologists emphasize the value of physical attractiveness as an indicator of youth and fertility • Physical attractiveness should be more important to men than women (fertility cues) • Buss (1989) confirmed this in each of 37 cultures studied • In every single culture, men rated physical attractiveness as more important than women did Mate Selection Preferences in a Representative US National Sample • Low scores mean I don’t want to marry them • Women don’t care about not good looking as much • Women want to marry older men What Physical Features are Attractive to Men • Breasts, waist to hip ratio, facial features Why are Breasts Attractive to Men? • A physical feature should be perceived as attractive in women only when that feature is reliably linked with youth, health, and the ability to conceive and sustain a pregnancy • Estrogen levels are low before puberty and following menopause, but are relatively high between these two periods of life • Pregnancy, lactation, fertility? Does Breast Size Cause Tips? • Does it show unequivocally that larger breasts are more attractive? • Could be a day in the week effect • Confidence; maybe she felt more confident so had a more bubbly personality • at Christmas, the salvation army sit there; prediction on social modelling • how do you define what’s appropriate? • But here we are on pretty good grounds that breast size does make a difference • Females tipped more than men did when breast size increased • Women may be tuned in to the potentially unwanted attention directed at the woman General Sociobiology of Mate Preferences: Attractiveness, Provisioning, and Genetic Fitness • What we would be looking for at a party or class is mate quality o for there to be more of us we need quality mates • A quality mate is healthy o fertile • A second trait is Neurophysiological Efficiency = how smart are they o reaction time closely related to intelligence • Thirdly - interested and capable of provisioning and providing resources • Capacity for cooperative relationships - more likely to be capable of caring for a child to their reproductive capacity • Cues to these sought out traits o Health and Fertility: Height - average height, male superior to female (dominance and ability to provision) ▪ Facial symmetry, waist to hip ratio o Neuro-physiological efficiency: Vocabulary Size: clue to intelligence ▪ Wit/Humour: subtle indication of the ability to think of things o Provisioning ability/Resources: education, job status, income, fashion o Capacity for cooperative relationship: Kindess, adaptability, generosity, morality o * Some of these things ought to be more important to men, others more important to women Why is Waist to Hip Ratio in Women Attractive to Men? • Women with waist to hip ratios around 0.70 have more estrogen than women with higher waist to hip ratios • Women with higher waist to hip ratios have more health problems, independent of how heavy they are • Women with waist to hip ratios around 0.70 should be most attractive to men as this is a health and fertility signal as are adult non-pregnant breasts • Singh (1993) obtained measurements from all of the Miss America winners (1923-1987) and Playboy centerfolds (1955-1965, 1976-1990) • Waist to hip ratio of the women, regardless of year and weight, was ~0.70 Facial Feature Attractiveness: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective • Facial attractiveness is a “health certificate.” • Evenly colored skin, supple skin, clear eyes, shiny hair certify health and fertility • Facial symmetry and averageness is a signal of genetic quality • Male and female facial attractiveness also certify hormonal status Gendered Sociobiological Hypothesis • Gender Differences in Cues for Attraction o Genetic fitness for and in men and women differ ▪ Fertility cues crucial in women ▪ Provisioning cues crucial in men Men’s and Women’s Preference for Partner’s Age Across the Lifespan: Fertility vs. Resources • Personal’s ads studied for men’s and women’s preference for age of desired partners • Men should desire younger female partners (fertility), women should care less about youth and fertility and might want similar age partners (resource provision) • The evolutionary psychology lens would hypothesize that men gravitate to younger because of the possibility of fertility • and older men for women because they may have become more capable of provisioning and stable evidence of it Personal’s Ad Age Preference What Characteristics in Men are Attractive to Women • Ability to provision offspring (status, resources, dominance) Does Men’s Occupation and Resources Cause Attraction? • Why doesnt every male marry a large breasted woman? • These are preferences, not reality and are modulated by social factors • Assess where we are and then assess where we can go - must match various assets • There are recent developments that are changing things • What about higher earning women? are the male’s resources less important? Dominance in Men: An Attractive “Meta-Trait” • Dominance might be a “meta-trait” that signals overall ability to provision offspring • Dominance should be an attractive trait for women but not for men • Men and women exposed to dominant or non-dominant opposite sex other • Rated opposite sex other’s sexual attractiveness and dating desirability • How do you express dominance? o knodding = not dominant o dominance in your posture and stance • Dominant opposite sex other: o Relaxed o Leans backward o Nods very little o Gestures a lot o Not too attentive • Non-dominant opposite sex other: o Head bowed o Leans forward o Nods constantly o Listens to other person speak • Men rating a woman o Woman found high dominant men significantly more attractive even though it was the same guy just showing different dominance o Females prefer high-dominant man Minimal Mate Standards • Do you have different standards when looking for a short-term fling versus a long-term relationship? • Short-term relationships— less investment, particularly for men • Long-term relationships—a great deal of investment, for both men and women Importance of Mate Characteristics Differs According to Relationship Intensity and for Males versus Females (Sometimes) • What is the minimum percentile of intelligence you would accept in considering someone for: o A date o A sexual partner o A one night stand o A steady dating partner o A marriage partner? Minimum Intelligence Desired • Women desired slightly above average intelligence for a single date • 70% of the men and women were above average when they rated their own intelligence • women wanted more intelligence in a partner with increasing commitment • men have similar criteria for a single date as well as for higher levels of commitment • But men’s criteria are much lower than women’s are when it comes to sexual partners o Male-female differences are most pronounced for one-night stands compared to sexual relations in general Take Home Messages • These results suggest that females increase their selectivity as the probability of pregnancy and offspring increases • Males are selective for long term relationships where they commit resources • Males are less selective if given the opportunity for a low investment reproductive encounter. • Criticism: This and most research based on young university students with relatively little life experience o What you like is not what you get • Criticism: this and most research deals with preferences not actual mate selection outcomes or relationship success or failure which are moderated by individual and social factors Intra-sex Competition: Men Derogate Competitor’s Resources, Women Derogate Competitor’s Looks • Imagine you are at a bar with your boyfriend • An girl puts their arm around your boyfriend • This might be a situation where there is a desire to guard your mate and the sociobiologist would say you would do this • “In this study, we are interested in the things people do to make others of their same sex undesirable to members of the opposite sex. Please think of specific individuals you know of your own sex, including yourself, and write down five things that they have done to make members of their own sex undesirable to members of the opposite sex.” • Derogation of female competitor, by a female, to a male: o Spread rumors o Derogate intelligence ▪ Call her airhead o Call promiscuous ▪ She is a tramp ▪ She sleeps around o Derogate appearance ▪ Laugh at her hair ▪ Make fun of her body ▪ Denigrate her clothing ▪ Mention makeup slutty • Derogation of a male competitor, by a male, to a female: Males would… o Derogate achievements ▪ He is a loser ▪ Has no goals ▪ Lacks ambition ▪ Scoff at achievements o Derogate strength ▪ Wimp ▪ Physically weak ▪ Bad at sports o Derogate sexually ▪ Unfaithful ▪ Got woman pregnant ▪ Might be gay o *These are the tactics of mate guarding Intra-Sex Derogation Tactic: Popularity and Effectiveness • Derogation tactics used by women thought to be common and effective in minimizing competitor women’s attractiveness: o Call competitor promiscuous o Derogate competitor’s appearance o Call competitor a tease o Question competitor’s fidelity • Derogation tactics used by men which were thought to be common and effective in minimizing competitor men’s attractiveness: o Derogate competitor’s financial resources o Derogate competitor’s achievements o Say competitor has no aspirations o Derogate competitor’s strength • Sociobiologically targeting them • Tease - dont waste your time on her • Appearance - health and fertility • These are not recommended to use but a sociobiological win Intolerance for Physically Attractive Peer: I • Women interacted with conservatively dressed or sexily dressed woman confederate • Women--blind as to condition-- coded videotape of participants for “bitchy” behavior o Negative facial expressions o Once over and death stares o Eye rolls and looks of disgust o Sarcastic tone of voice o Fake smiles • Women viewed photographs of conservatively dressed or sexily dressed confederate, and rated willingness to do the following: • More likely to say yes when conservative than when sexy thin • Heavy sexy was in the middle • women and men are in tune with sociobiological traits that should be attractive What Drives Attraction? • Small Theories: o Propinquity o Familiarity o Menstrual Cycle o Desperation Propinquity • “The almost mechanical effect of accessibility upon intimacy…” • Physical Proximity as a driver of attraction • Accessibility • Students were seated alphabetically and he assessed individual’s attraction to people they sat near to and far from • Boy next door effect Familiarity • Meer exposure to objects increases liking for them • How about for people? • Different female confederates of the researcher attended psychology class 0, 5, 10, 15 times during the semester • Attraction to the female was assessed at the end of the year • Every metric of attractiveness was elevated as a function of mere increased familiarity • The women who came in did not say a word Menstrual Cycle Phase: Effect on Women’s Attractiveness to Men • Do women become more attractive to men during the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle? • 18 strip club dancers charted menstrual cycles and tips each day for 60 days, for a total of 296 work shifts involving 5,300 lap dances • Strippers who were normally cycling got greater tips during the fertile phase of the cycle; this didnt happen in pill users since they don’t ovulate • Nature of the lap dance was more attractive and alluring • Another possibility is pheromones - chemical scent that might have been registered in the male brain resulting in this desire to bring the woman closer by way of tips Menstrual Cycle Phase: Effect on Men’s Attractiveness to Women • Do men become more attractive to women during the fertile phase of women’s menstrual cycle? • Women sni
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