ch. 9 - interpersonal attraction

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Ingrid L.Stefanovic

Chapter 9: Interpersonal Attraction Major Antecedents of Attraction A central human motivation is self expansion the desire to overlap or blend with another person, so that you have access to that persons knowledge, insights, and experiences By incorporating the other into yourself, you acquire new resources and deepen you own experience of life The absence of meaningful relationships with other people makes people feel lonely, worthless, hopeless, helpless, powerless, and alienated The Propinquity Effect One of the determinants of interpersonal attraction is proximity so the people who we see and interact with most often are most likely to become our friends and lovers The thing about proximity and attraction, or propinquity effect as social psychologists call it, is that it works on a micro level Propinquity effect: the finding that the more we see and interact with people, the more likely they are to become our friends in a study with people in an apartment: o just like the propinquity effect predicted, 65% of the residents mentions people who lived in the same building even though the other building werent far away o it was found that 41% of the next door neighbours indicated that they were close friends, 22% of those who lived 2 doors apart did so, and only 10% of those who lived on opposite ends of the hall did so attraction and propinquity rely not only on actual physical distance but also on the more psychological, functional distance o functional distance is the certain aspects of architectural design that make it likely that some people will come into contact with each other more often than with others o those living at the foot of the stairs saw a lot of upstairs residents o residents in apartments 1 and 5 had more friends upstairs than did those just in the first floor the propinquity effect works because of familiarity, or the mere exposure effect mere exposure effect: the finding that the more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more we like it if you feel negatively toward the person then the more exposure you have to him/her, the greater your dislike unless our feelings towards someone are negative, familiarity generally breeds attraction and liking ex. of propinquity and mere exposure effect in your classroom: o when you see the same people throughout the semester does it increase your liking for them? yes o this was tested by putting a female confederate in a classroom o the girl did not interact with the professor or other students; she just walked in and sat in the first row where everyone could see her o the students were shown slides of her at the end of the semester and asked to rate on many measures of liking and attraction o even though they never interacted, the more often the students seen her in class, the more they liked her familiarity can occur without physical exposure because of internet where you can get to know a stranger through chat room on the computer its been shown that people report being more comfortable revealing their true self to a partner over the internet compared with face-to-face interaction people also tended to report more liking for an internet partner than a partner they met in person, even though without them knowing, they were the same person research is showing that relationships formed over the internet resemble those developed face-to- face in terms of quality and depth Also, the break up rates were similar for relationships formed over the internet and face-to-face All these research was done on people who interacted were not setting out with the intention of forming a relationship Therefore, because of computers, propinquity may soon no longer be a prerequisite for the formation of relationships Similarity Although propinquity does affect friendship choices, its also the case that we dont become good friends with everyone who is near us in physical space The fuel is similarity: attraction to people who are like us Complementary: attraction to people who are opposite to us Our common sense might suggest that opposites attract but research evidence shows that similarity is the things that gets people together and not complementary Ex. if all you know about a person whom youve never met is their opinions on several issues, the more similar those opinions are to yours, the more youll like them In an experiment, male students were randomly assigned to a roommate o So would similarity predict friendship? yes o The men become friends with those who were demographically similar (eg. Shared background) and with those who were similar in attitudes and values Similarity in terms of attitudes and values is an important predictor of attraction in both friendships and romantic relationships but similarity in other domains also matter o For ex. we are more likely to be attracted to someone who enjoys the same kinds of leisure activities that we do o For some people, similarity in terms of activity preferences is a strong predictor of attraction than is similarity of attitudes o Were also attraction to people who are similar to us in terms of interpersonal style and communications skills Why is similarity so important?: o We tend to think that people who are similar to us will be inclined to like us So with this assumption, we take the first steps and initiate a relationship o People who are similar provide us with important social validation for our characteristics and beliefs so they provide us with the feeling that we are right in contrast, when someone disagrees with us on important issues, we tend not to like the person o we are more likely to feel understood by those who are similar to us in a study with couples, the greater the similarity they perceived, the more understood they felt by their partner feelings of understanding predicted relationship satisfaction o the rewards of interaction explanation offers another reason why similarity leads to attraction if a person feels the same way we do on important issues, we assume it would be enjoyable to spend time with them its not very pleasant to interact with someone who disagrees with you on everything o therefore, the desire to be liked, understood, validated and the desire to have an enjoyable interaction plays a role in boosting the attractiveness of a likeminded person and diminishing the attractiveness of someone who is dissimilar o theres also evidence that attraction can lead to perceptions of similarity so in other words, the more attracted we are to someone, the more similar we assume that person is to us Reciprocal Liking reciprocal liking: when you like someone and that person also likes you o this is one of the determinants of interpersonal attraction liking is so powerful that it can even make up for the absence of similarity o in an experiment, when a young woman expressed interest in male research participants simply by maintaining eye contact, leaning toward them, and listening attentively, the men expressed great liking for her despite the fact that they knew she disagreed with them on important issues also, reciprocal liking can come about because of a self-fulfilling prophecy o the individuals who were told that their partners liked them behaved in more likeable ways with their partner; they disclosed more about themselves, disagreed less about the topic under discussion and generally behaved in a warmer, more pleasant manner than did those individuals who thought they were disliked o as a result of this, the partners ended up liking them more so than did the partners of
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