Interpersonal Attraction and Love
Chapters Nine and Ten
October 7th, 2013
In the early 1960's the dean on Indiana University set out in a ten foot boat and in 51 days he arrived in
Ireland. He was haggard and he was extremely lonely. He would NOT do it again. The loneliness of the
second month was excruciating. He found himself very self sufficient but without people life had no
A psychologist at Columbia wanted to study this in more detail. He offered students $50 a day to stay in
a room by themselves all day with absolutely no contact with the outside world. No one lasted more
than eight days. One student lasted twenty minutes.
Part One: Specific Factors (text 274-280)
A. In initial encounters:
- physical attractiveness
B. When getting acquainted:
- reciprocal liking
Part Two: General Theories of Attraction
i) The Reinforcement-Affect Model
A. Rewards lead to positive affect (feelings); Punishments lead to negative affect.
B. We'll like people who reward us and dislike people who punish us.
But, that's not all:
C. We will like or dislike people even when they don't cause our pos/neg feelings.
--> They simply have to be present when we experience positive or negative affect!
e.g. When strangers were placed in an uncomfortably hot temperature or a regular room, people liked
the stranger more in the normal room.
e.g. People like strangers more after hearing good news on the radio or listening to pleasant music.
ii) Social Exchange Theories (relationships)
A relationship exists whenever people interact on a regular basis.
A. Satisfaction with a relationship depends on
1. Rewards (what person "receives")
2. Costs (what person "contributes")
B. Rewards and Costs can be expressed in terms of a ratio: R/C
C. When rewards equal or exceed costs, we will be satisfied with the relationship
D. When costs exceed rewards, we will be dissatisfied e.g. When you are a part of a car pool. You avoid overcrowded busses and you have someone to talk to
but, you can't leave whenever you want and you can't just sleep in. This would be ok but if someone in
the car has bad breathe and talks nonstop then maybe costs would be too high to continue.
--> In a dating relationship costs only become important after three months, according to research.
(1) Equity Theory (another social exchange theory)
a. Considers rewards and costs of both people in the relationship.
b. "Equity" exists when one person's ratio of rewards to costs equals the other person's ratio of rewards
to costs (-> satisfying)
YOU = YOUR PARTNER
R/C 10/10 = 10/10 relationship is equitable and satisfying
1/1 = 1/1 relationship is equitable and satisfying
10/10 = 1/1 relationship is equitable and satisfying
2/8 # 8/2 relationship is inequitable and not satisfying
The actual rewards and costs don't have to be the same, just the ratio. Equity is not the same thing as
c. "Inequity" exists when one person's ratio (of rewards to costs) does not equal the other person's
- you are being "under-benefitted"
- your partner is "over-benefitted"
d. Inequity makes the relationship unpleasant:
- under-benefitted person feels "angry"
- over-benefitted person feels "guilty"
e. So, people will attempt to restore equity.
- attempt to alter the actual rewards/costs (mainly done by the person whom is under-benefitted).
- psychologically alter the perceived rewards/costs.
f. What if equity can't be restored?
--> leave the relationship.
(2) Interdependency Theory
a. Satisfaction depends not only on our current ratio of rewards to costs but also on the R/C ratio that
we expect to receive.
b. Expectations can be based on:
--our own experiences in prior relationships,
--what we know about others' relationships
--> The "Comparison Level" a.k.a. CL c. Different people can have different comparison levels:
A B C
Current R/C 5/5 5/5 5/5
Expected R/C (CL) 5/5 5/10 10/5
Result OK OK! NOT OK
d. Whether we leave the relationship depends on the Comparison Level of Alternatives;
- If there is an alternative that provides a better R/C ratio, then we will leave the current relationship;
- If not, we will stay.
--> Note: being in no relationship is an "alternative" with R's and C's
Epilogue: Francine and Mickey Hughes A True Story
They were married in 1963 and at the time she was 16 and he was 18. They were reasonably