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Lecture 17

Psychology 2075 Lecture 17: Attraction, Love, and Sexuality

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Psychology 2075
William Fisher

Assumed Linear Model • Attraction -> love -> sex • Sex is the natural expression of love • Sex is only justifiable in context of love • But there are alternatives and adjustments Byrne's Law of Attraction • Attraction = f • We are attracted to individuals who provide us with positive reinforcements • Reinforcement leads to positive affect and positive evaluations: liking and loving What is Interpersonally Reinforcing? • Hedonically positive experiences associated positive evaluations: under the right circumstances (cues), this leads to platonic or sexual and romantic attraction • Attitude similarity - interpersonal agreement - is strongly positively reinforcing • Attitude similarity provide consensual validation concerning critical but otherwise unverifiable issues • Attitude similarity drives interpersonal attraction because it is reinforcing Sexual attitude similarity especially important in opposite-sex heterosexual dyads 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) • Most cultures plump women regarded as most attractive (fertile, healthy), we're outlier • Buss (1989) confirmed this in each of 37 cultures studied Why are breasts attractive to men? • A physical feature should be perceived as attractive in women only when the 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 Why is waist to hip ratio in women attractive to men? • Women with waist to hip ratios around .70 high 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 .70 should be most attractive to men as this is a health and fertility signal as are adult non-pregnant breasts Facial Feature Attractiveness: An Evolutionary Psychology Perspective • Facial attractiveness is a "health certificate" • Evenly coloured 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 • Departures from facial symmetry, called fluctuating asymmetry, may indicate maldevelopment and poor genetic quality • Males and females were asked to rate high to low symmetry faces • Males and females rated high symmetry faces as more attractive and as better long term males • Males ratings of long term mate suitableness was more affected than women's ratings, by degree of facial symmetry • Male facial features serve as sex hormone markers o Testosterone affects male facial features • Cheekbones • Jaws • Chin • Eyebrow ridges • Central face • Lower facial bones o Large size is dominance cue o Large size is signal of ability to engage in intra-sexual completion o Female preference for male facial characteristics increases during fertile phase of menstrual cycle and for short term-mating preferences • Female facial features as sex hormone markers o Estrogen in pubertal females caps growth of bony structures that are relatively large in male faces o Estrogen also results in enlargement of lips and cheeks via fat deposition o Do facial estrogen related features function as a fertility cue? o Attractiveness of female faces is greatest with smallness of bony feature of the lower face, large lips, and width and height of the cheeks Men's and Women's Preference for Partner's Age Across the Lifespan • Male continue to want someone younger and younger until they reach 60 • Females continually want someone between their own age to 10 years older Physical Attractiveness: Different Payoffs for Men and Women • Most attractive women o 10x more likely to marry o Younger age at marriage o Most educated husbands o Highest income husbands • Least attractive men o Highest high school math score o Highest years of education o Highest socioeconomic status o Highest age of marriage o Most well educated wives o Least premarital intercourse --------------------------------------------------- POWERPOINT PART 2 Attraction • Liking and positive evaluation of other • Sexual or romantic or both What Drives Attraction • "Big Theories" o Reinforcement theory o Sociobiological theory Similarity is not always reinforcing: attitude similarity to an emotionally troubled person • Similar stranger technique -- with a twist o I don’t know if this is relevant or not, but last fall I had kind of a nervous breakdown and I had to be hospitalized for a while. I've been seeing a psychiatrist ever since" • Prediction o Positively reinforcing events drive attraction o Attitude similarity is usually but not always reinforcing o In this case, attitude similarity is punishing and will drive avoidance General Sociobiology of Mate Preferences: Attractiveness, Provisioning, and Genetic Fitness Gendered Sociobiological Hypothesis • Gender differences in cues for attraction o "genetic fitness" for and in men and women differ o Fertility cues crucial in women o Provisioning cues crucial in men Does Breast Size Cause Tips? • Men increased 30% but women increased 40% Men's and Women's Preference for Partner's Age Across the Lifespan: Fertility versus Resources • Personal's ads studied for men's and women's preference for age of desired partners • Men should desire youngers female partners (fertility), women should care less about youth and fertility and might want similar age partners (resource provision) What Characteristics in Men are Attractive to Women? • Ability to provision offspring (status, resources, dominance) • Does men's occupation, resources, cause attraction? o Better job = increased attractiveness Dominance in Men: An Attractive "Meta-Trait"? • Dominance might be a "meta-trait" that signals men's 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-dominate opposite sex other • Rates opposite sex other's sexual attractiveness and dating desirability • 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 Minimal Mate Standards as a Functioning of Short-Term vs Long-Term Mating • Do you have different standards when looking for a short-term fling vs 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 • Women o Women desire slightly about average intelligence for a single date o Women wanted more intelligence in a partner with increasing commitment • Men o Men have similar criterial for single date o Men have similar criteria as women do at higher levels of commitment o 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 also quite 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 • 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 • Things people do to make others of their same sex undesirable to members of the opposite sex • Derogation of a female competitor, by a female to a male. Females: o Spread rumors o Derogated her intelligence • Call her airhead o Called her promiscuous • She is a tramp • She sleeps around o Derogated her 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: o Derogated his achievements • He is a loser • Has no goals • Lacks ambition • Scoff at achievements o Derogated his strength • Wimp • Physically weak • Bad at sports o Derogated his sexuality • Unfaithful • Got women pregnant • Might be gay Intra-Sex Derogation Tactic: Common and Effective • Derogation tactics used by men which were thought to be common and effective in minimizing competitor males' attractiveness: o Derogate competitor's financial resources o Derogate competitor's achievements o Say competitor has no aspirations o Derogate competitor's strength • Derogation tactics used by women thought to be common and effective in minimizing competitor women's attractiveness: o Call competitor as tease o Call competitor promiscuous o Question competitor's fidelity o Derogate competitor's appearance • Big win for sociobiology Intra-Sexual Competition on Physical Appearance: Intolerance of Sexy Peers • Intolerance for physically attractive peer: I o Women interacted with a conservatively dressed or sexily dressed women confederate (same women) o Women coded videotape of participants for "bitchy behaviour" • Negative facial expressions • Once over and death stares • Eye rolls and looks of disgust • Sarcastic tone of voice • Fake smiles o Women viewed photographs of conservatively dressed or sexily dressed confederate, and rated willingness to do the following • Sexy thin: would not introduce to boyfriend, would not allow boyfriend time alone, would not be friend What Drives Attraction? • Small theories o Propinquity • The almost mechanical effect of accessibility upon intimacy o Familiarity • Meer exposure to objects increases liking for them • How about for people? • Different female confederates of the researcher attended psychology classes 0, 5, 10, 15 times during the semester • Attraction to t
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