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Lecture: Interpersonal Attraction and Love

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Psychology 2035A/B
Doug Hazlewood

INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION AND LOVE October 18, 2010 Q: Why are people attracted to other people? Examples of why socialization/contact with other people is so important to us:  In the 60s, the dean of Indiana University sailed a 10m boat off the east coast of the US across the Atlantic Ocean, and arrived in Ireland 51 days later. He was very LONELY! He said he would NOT do it again b/c it was too much of an ordeal b/c he was too lonely even though he always thought he was self-sufficient. He realized that he had the need of having someone to talk to after not being able to communicate with other people for such a long time  In 1959 a psychologist offered students 50$/day to stay in a room alone without any contact with the outside world. He found that no one was able to stay in the room for longer than 8 days, 1 only lasted 20 min Q: Why are we NOT attracted to everyone b/c of out instinctive need to be with other people? What makes us selective in the people we care about? Interpersonal Attraction - Part 1: specific factors (241-247) o Initial Encounters  Proximity- we like our neighbours more than people who are not near us  Familiarity-we like people that we see often rather than someone we’ve never seen  Physical attractiveness- we like people who are more physically attractive o When getting acquainted, some factors include:  Reciprocal liking- we like people who we know like us in return  Similarity- we like people with whom we share similar interests  Personal characteristics- we can like someone based on certain personality characteristics that they possess - Part 2: general theories of attraction 1. The Reinforcement-Affect Model o Basic idea: rewards lead to positive affect (feelings); punishment lead to negative feelings o Theory predicts that we’ll like people who reward us and we won’t like people who punish us INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION AND LOVE October 18, 2010  You are more likely to like someone who is especially kind to you rather then rude o But that’s not all, this theory ALSO says:  We’ll like/dislike people even when they don’t cause our positive or negative feelings - they simply have to be present when we experience positive or negative affect; thus our feelings towards someone can have nothing to do with the person themselves but simply the situation in which we met them in  STUDY: hot rooms- people were put in rooms that were either normal temperature or uncomfortably hot with other people that they didn’t know. They were then asked of their impression of the stranger and the results showed that they liked people in normal rooms than the uncomfortably hot room because they experiences bad feelings towards the environment which translated to the person even though they did NOT CAUSE the heat • Same concept applies if they heard bad news on the radio in the presence of another person; we’d like the person more if we heard GOOD news in their presence • AND with also works with pleasant vs. unpleasant music 2. Social Exchange Theories o They focus explicitly on attraction in relationships which makes them more complex o A relationship exists whenever people interact on a regular basis e.g. marriage, a dating couple, family members but ALSO according to this definition being in a study group/classroom and a car pool is a relationship b/c we interact with these people on a regular basis o Satisfaction with a relationship depends on : 1. Rewards (what a person “receives” from the relationship) affection, intimacy, respect, sex, someone to lean on rewards of being in a relationship 2. Costs (what a person “contributes” to the relationship) time, effort, compromise, suffering in times of conflict, can’t date other people o Rewards and costs can be expressed in terms of a ratio: R/C (rewards/costs); described both as a DIFFERENCE and RATIO in the text, both are right but the lecture refers to the ratio  Theories say it’s good to get at least as many rewards as costs out of a relationship (R=C) INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION AND LOVE October 18, 2010  So when rewards equal or exceed costs, we will be satisfied with the relationship  But when the costs exceed rewards, we’ll be dissatisfied with the relationship  Carpool- cheaper, avoid buses, people to talk to in the morning BUT can’t sleep in, less flexible if a class is cancelled according to the theory if the rewards exceed the costs you’ll be satisfied in this relationship o The above are the 2 basic ideas that are the basis of all social exchange theories (rewards and costs, and which one outweighs the other) o Research shows that costs become important only after about 3 months in a dating relationship. After 3 months you balance both rewards/costs whereas at the beginning it’s all about the rewards Equity Theory - Relationships are satisfied when rewards outweigh the costs but ALSO considers the rewards and costs of both people in the relationship - “equity” exists when one person’s ratio of R/C = the other person’s ratio of R/C - EXAMPLES: Relationship Satisfaction You Partner equitable relationship- 10/10 10/10 both ratio are equal Still an equitable 1/1 1/1 relationship even though it’s shitty REWARDS ARE NOT EQUAL 10/10 1/1 B/C YOUR COSTS ARE 10x AS MUCH BUT YOUR RATIO IS THE SAME b/c your also getting 10X more out SO YOUR STILL SATISFIED - Newspaper vender/him had a satisfying relationship when he wasn’t talking but he was NOT interested in talking to the guy before his more coffee so he was no longer satisfied until the guy shut up **equity is not the same as equality the actual rewards and costs don’t have to be the same, it’s only important that the ratio is the same! - Inequity exists when one person’s ratio of r/c does not equal the other person’s ratio INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION AND LOVE October 18, 2010 Ratio explanation You Partner Inequitable because ratios 2/8 8/2 are NOT equal; you are “under-benefited” and your partner is “over- benefited” – makes the relationship unpleasant FOR BOTH PEOPLE – you are likely to feel anger/resentment, and they are likely to feel guilty So people will attempt to restore equity, how? - Attempt to alter the actual rewards/costs; the UNDER-benefited person is more likely to try to alter r/c o If you put less into the less so your rewards are still 2 but yours costs are not 0.5 it makes the relationship equitable again - Psychologically alter the perceived rewards/costs; most likely to be used by the OVER- benefited person. This person will feel less guilty by concluding that you are not really putting that much into the relationship so they don’t feel bad, or concluding that you are in fact getting a lot more out of the relationship the 2 people end up having very different views of the other person’s costs and contributions If equity can’t be restores? - Leave the relationship (2) Interdependency Theory - Makes 2 new prediction that equity theory doesn’t make: o Satisfaction ALSO depends on the ratio of r/c that we EXPECT to receive not only what we ARE receiving   Expectation can be based on: o Our own experiences in prior relationships o What we know of others’ relationships o Different people have DIFFERENT expectations; makes it very subjective ** There expectations define the “comparison level” [CL]  Different people can have different comparison levels b/c they’ve had different experiences so they expect different things Persons- each are in the relationship with somebody else A B C Current R/C 5/5 5/5 5/5 ** They may NOT necessarily all be satisfied b/c we need to know what their expectations are (equity
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