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Chapter 7 Psyc 2040

by OneClass281606 , Fall 2014
8 Pages
Fall 2014

Course Code
PSYC 2040

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Chapter 7: Interpersonal Attraction: Meeting, Liking, Becoming Acquainted
Interpersonal attraction- a person’s attitude about another person; attraction is expressed along a
dimension that ranges from strong liking to strong feelings of dislike
Internal Determinants of Attraction: The Need to Affiliate and the Basic Role of Affect
The Importance of Affiliation for Human Existence:
oHuman infants are apparently born with the motivation and the ability to seek
contact with their interpersonal world, and even newborns are predisposed to look
toward faces in preference to other stimuli
Individual Differences in the Need to Affiliate:
oPeople differ in the strength of their need for affiliation- the basic motive to
seek and maintain interpersonal relationships
oThese differences, whether based on genetics or experience, constitute a
relatively stable trait (or disposition)
oPeople tend to seek the amount of social contact that is optimal for them,
preferring to be alone some of the time and in social situations some of the time
oWhen affiliation needs are not met (when we are “left out” by others), it hurts, it
leaves you with a sense that you have lost control, and makes you feel both sad
and angry because you simply don’t belong
Social exclusion leads to increased sensitivity to interpersonal information
and actually results in less effective cognitive functioning
Situational Influences on the Need to Affiliate:
oExternal events can elicit temporary states reflecting an increase in the need to
oUnderlying reason for responding to stress with friendliness and affiliation was first
identified by Schachter (1959). His work revealed that participants in an
experiment who were expecting to receive an electric shock preferred to spend
time with others facing the same unpleasant prospect rather than being alone.
Those in the control group not expecting the shock, preferred to be alone or didn’t
care whether they were with others or not
oSocial comparison- people want to be with others, even strangers, in order to
communicate about what they were experiencing and to compare their affective
oArousing situations lead us to seek “cognitive clarity” in order to know what is
going on and “emotional clarity” in order to make sense of what it is that we are
oContact with other humans is likely to include both conversations and hugs – both
can be comforting
Affect as a Basic Response System:
oYour emotional state (happy, sad, fearful, etc.) at any given moment influences
what you perceive, your thought process, your motivation, the decisions you make,
and interpersonal attraction
oAffect- a person’s emotional state – positive and negative feelings and moods
The 2 most important characteristics of affect are intensity- the strength of
the emotion- and direction- whether the emotion is positive or negative
oThe affect system is responsible for guiding our behavior toward whole classes of
oThe presence of 2 separate kinds of affect means that we can feel both positively
and negatively at the same time; that is, we often respond to situations with
oDepending on the specific circumstances and on individual predispositions,
positive and negative affect can be equally important in determining out
Affect and Attraction:
oThe presence of positive affect leads to positive evaluations of other people
(liking), while negative affect leads to negative evaluations (disliking).
The Direct Effect of Emotions on Attraction:
oEmotions have a direct effect on attraction when another person says or does
something that makes you feel good or bad
oYou tend to like someone who makes you feel good, and you tend to dislike
someone who makes you feel bad
The Associated Effect of Emotions on Attraction:
oA phenomenon that is perhaps more surprising than the direct effect of emotions
on attraction is the associated effect of emotions on attraction
oThis effect occurs when another person is simply present at the same time that
one’s emotional state is aroused by something or someone else. Though the
individual toward whom you express like or dislike is not in any way responsible for
what you are feeling, you nevertheless tend to evaluate him or her more positively
when you are feeling good and more negatively when you are feeling bad
Additional Implications of the Affect-Attraction Relationship:
Laughter and Liking:
oBecause people like one another better when affect is positive, it is reasonable to
suggest that laughter helps humans interact
oOne of the ways in which people can feel most comfortable when dealing with one
another is to laugh together
oHumor is not only pleasant, it also provides a nonthreatening way for people to
deal with one another
oLaughter helps strengthen social bonds and serves as a social “lubricant” that
makes interpersonal behavior function more smoothly
oIf humor is a social lubricant, it follows that strangers who share a humorous
experience are more likely to interact in a pleasant way
o“laugh box”- a simple toy containing a recording of raucous laughter that was
activated whenever the box was picked up most people found the experience
funny, most laughed, and most liked the stranger with whom they shared the
experience positive affect leads to attraction
oThe shared experience was hypothesized to act as a distraction from the
discomfort of interacting with a stranger and to create the perception that one has
a new perspective on the situation (a feeling of self-expansion)
Manipulating Affect to Influence Behavior:
External Determinants of Attraction: Proximity and Observable Characteristics
The Power of Proximity: Unplanned Contacts:
oMany seemingly unimportant details of the setting in which we live, work, and go to
school can have a powerful influence on our interpersonal lives
oTwo people are likely to become acquaintances if external factors such as the
location of their classroom seats, dorm rooms, office desks, or whatever brings
them into repeated contacts; such contacts occur on the basis of physical
oPeople ordinarily become aware of one another and begin to interact in settings
than bring them into close proximity
Why does Proximity matter? Repeated Exposure is the Key:
oRepeated exposure- frequent contact with any mildly negative, neutral, or
positive stimulus results in an increasingly positive evaluation of that stimulus
oThis finding is sometimes called the mere exposure effect because the
positive response to a stranger, a drawing, a word in an unknown language, or
whatever that is observed multiple times occurs simply on the basis of exposure

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