Sociology 2234E Lecture Notes - Equity Theory, Positive Tone, Umber
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Unit 18: Interpersonal Attraction
Major Antecedents of Attraction
The values that predict why people will be attracted to each other – factors that cause us to be drawn
to someone else
The Propinquity Effect
o One of the simplest determinants of interpersonal relationships is proximity, or propinquity
o The more we see and interact with people, the more likely they are to become our friends
o The propinquity effect works because of familiarity, or the mere exposure effect: the finding
that the more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more apt we are to like it
o Attraction and propinquity rely on:
Functional distance: aspects of architectural design that make it likely some people will
come into contact with each other m ore often than other (e.g. location of rest room, stairs,
elevator, or mailboxes)
o We can be attracted to people who are:
Like us (similarity)
Opposite to us (complementarity)
o Similarity is a stronger predictor of attraction than complementarity – we tend to think that
people who are similar to us will be more enjoyable to be around
Boosts their attractiveness – tend to find people more similar to us more attractive
o Reciprocal linking is:
Liking someone who likes us in return
One of the prime determinants of interpersonal attraction
Effects only occur if you like yourself in the first place
o Can make up for the absence of similarity in some cases
o What is attractive?
Both sexes prefer larger eyes (baby face feature), and prominent cheekbones
Males prefer a female face with a small nose and chin
Females prefer a male face with a large chin and a big smile
Emphasized more in men than women – men more likely to rely on physical attraction when
finding a mate/long term relationships
o Emotions and attraction
Positive and negative influences
Reinforcement-affect model: some people are attractive because they supply us with
rewards, praise or benefits, which makes us associate them with pleasurable experiences
o The need to from attachments with others is termed affiliation
o Affiliation motives:
Social comparison – validate our own behaviours or beliefs by comparing them to others
Positive stimulation – prefer to be with other people because of the comfort they provide
Other Antecedents of Attraction
Social skillfulness: people rated as being more physically attractive are also rated as being more
socially skillful and likeable
External events stimuli
Observable characteristics of the other
o Cognitive disregard: who is memorable to whom
o The attraction of attractiveness
o The matching hypothesis: people are more likely to form long standing relationships with
someone who is as equally attractive as they are
Familiarity: underlying preference for the familiar (faces similar to our own, those we are exposed
to, people similar to us) vs. that which is unfamiliar
Forming Close Relationships
o Companionate (familial) love: the feelings of intimacy and affection we feel for another person
when we care deeply.
o Passionate love: the feeling of intense longing accompanied by physiological arousal we feel for
Gender and love
Fall in love more quickly than women and are more likely to endorse romantic beliefs such as
„true love lasts forever‟.
Report that they experienced love at first sight more than women .
Hold a more practical, friendship-based orientation to love (i.e. a companionate view of love).
Culture and love
o While love is universal, there are cultural differences in definition and experience of love.
People who live in individualistic cultures are more likely to emphasize passionate love
In collectivist cultures, companionate love is valued more.
Sternberg's Triangular Love Model: Intimacy, Passion, Commitment
o Intimacy: encompasses feelings of attachment, closeness, connectedness, and bondedness.
o Passion: encompasses drives connected to sexual attraction and romantic attraction
In the short term; the decision to remain with another
In the long term; the shared achievements and plans made with another.
Forming Close Relationships: Why do we Fall in Love?
Evolutionary explanations of love
o Men and women are attracted to characteristics that maximizes reproductive success
Men are attracted to a woman‟s appearance
Women are attracted by men‟s resources
o Our behaviour in adult relationships is based no our experiences as infants with our parents or
o **Attachment styles are the expectations people develop about relationships with others
o Based on the relationship they had with their primary caregiver when they were infants
o Secure attachment style is characterized by:
A lack of concern with being abandoned
The view that one is worthy and well liked