Social Psychology- Chapter 9: Attraction and Close Relationships.
Being with Others: A Fundamental Human Motive
• People need people
• The need to belong is a basic human motive, a pervasive drive to form and maintain at
least a minimum quantity of lasting, positive, and significant interpersonal relationships.
• The need to belong runs deep, which is why people are distressed when they are
neglected by others, rejected, excluded, stigmatized, or ostracized - all forms of social
• Care deeply about what others think of us.
• Social anxiety: intense feelings of discomfort in situations that invite public scrutiny.
• Our need to belong is a fundamental human motive - people who have a network of
close social ties - in the form of lovers, friends, family members, and co workers - tend to
report being happier with their lives, and have higher self esteem, than those who live
more socially isolated.
The Thrill of Affiliation
• Need for affiliation: The desire to establish and maintain many rewarding interpersonal
• Have a built in sociostat - meaning each of us craves interaction with our species and
time alone also varies with different individuals.
• People want to celebrate together rather than alone.
• One condition that strongly arouses our need for affiliation is stress.
• Stanly Schachter theorized that external threat triggers fear and motivates us to affiliate -
particular with others who face a similar threat. (in an experiment where people would
experience a painful electric shot people preferred to sit with others who were going
through the same thing opposed to being alone)
• Rofe argued that stress increases the desire to affiliate only when being with others is
seen as useful in reducing the negative impact of the stressful situation.
• People facing an imminent threat seek each other out in order to gain cognitive clarity
about the danger they are in.
• Help us cope with an impending threat.
• Misery loves the company of those in the same miserable situation. The Agony of Loneliness
• People need other people - to celebrate with, share news with, commiserate with, talk
to , and learn from- some people are painfully shy and socially awkward.
• Shyness is a pervasive problem.
• Toddlers observed to be inhibited, shy, and fearful at age 3 were more likely than
toddlers who were more outgoing to be socially isolated and depressed at age 21.
• Shy individuals are overly sensitive to social cues, therefore more reactive to any
emotional expression; their fear of making an error then leads them to avoid social
• Shyness has painful consequences - evaluate themselves negatively, expect to fail in
social interactions, and blame themselves when they do.
• Leads them to self imposed isolation and makes them, feel lonely. This stems from the
paralyzing fear of rejection.
• Loneliness: is a sad and heart wrenching emotion- to be lonely is to feel deprived about
the nature of one's existing social relations.
• loneliness is triggered by a discrepancy between the level of social contact that a person
has and the level he or she wants.
The Initial Attraction
• Affiliation is a necessary first step in the formation of a social relationship.
• People are attracted to others with who a rewarding relationship seems possible.
• Rewards may be - provide us with attention. support, money, make us feel smart, funny.
• Human beings all over the world exhibit patterns of attraction and mate selection
that favour the conception, birth, and survival of their offspring.
Familiarity: Being There
• The best predictor of whether two people will get together is physical proximity, or
nearness- our most impactful interactions occur among people who are in the same
place at the same time.
• Proximity does not necessarily spark attraction, but to the extent that it increases
frequency of contact.
• Zajonc- found that the more often people saw a stimulus - whether a foreign word or a
human face - the more they came to like it. • Mere exposure effect: The phenomenon whereby the more often people are exposed
to a stimulus, the more positively they evaluate the stimulus.
Physical Attractiveness: Getting Drawn In
• In a wide range of social setting, people respond more favourably to men and women
who are physically attractive.
• Symmetry is what we find attractive in faces
• Symmetry is naturally associated with health , fitness, and fertility - qualities that are
highly desirable in a mate.
• Young infants spend more time tracking and looking at attractive faces than at
unattractive ones.- regardless of whether the faces are young, old, male or female, black
• Researchers argue that physical attractiveness is subjective, point towards cultures and
the circumstances of our perceptions. - What people find attractive in one part of the
world is often seen as repulsive in another part of the world.
• People often see others as more physically attractive if they have non physical qualities
(e.g. respectful) that make them more likeable.
• The more in love people are with their partners the less attracted they are to others of
the opposite sex.
Why are we blinded by Beauty?
• It is inherently rewarding to be in the company of people who are aesthetically
appealing- that we derive pleasure from beautiful men and women the same way that we
enjoy a breathtaking landscape or a magnificent work of art. - or perhaps the rewards
are more extrinsic- expect their beauty to rub off on us.
• People tend to associate physical attractiveness with other desirable qualities -
known as the what - is beautiful- is - good stereotype
• What-is-beautiful-is=good stereotype: The belief that physically attractive individuals
also possess desirable personality characteristics.
• What is beautiful is good: but what is good is, in part , culturally defined.
• If this stereotype is true only in part why does it endure - It does this because we might
support the bias via the self-fulfilling prophecy.
• Men who thought they were interacting with a women who was attractive 1) formed more
positive impressions of her personality and 2) were friendlier in their conversational behaviour 3) The female students whose partners had seen the attractive picture were
later rated by listeners to the conversation as warmer, more confident, and more
animated - fulfilling the prophecies of their own expectations.
• One reason physically attractive people are not happier is that they often discount the
praise they get for non social endeavours.
• Another problem with having beauty as a social asset is that people, notably women,
feel pressured to keep up their appearance and are often dissatisfied with how they look.
First Encounters: Getting Acquainted
• Proximity increases the odds that we will meet someone one, familiarity puts us at ease,
and beauty draws us in like magnets to a first encounter.
• People tend to associate with others who are similar to themselves.
• Four types of similarity are relevant 1) demographic- people sit beside people who look
like them - hair length, race, age...
• Cupid's arrow is aimed by society.
• Knowing that someone shares our ideals may have the greatest effect before an
interaction, and increase the likelihood of initiating an interaction in the first place rather
than it really determining whether we eventually come to like someone.
• People like others better when they perceive their attitude as similar to their own.
• Bird of a feather flock together.
• dissimilarity triggers repulsion- the desire to avoid someone.
• Byrne- made a two step model- claims that we avoid associating with others who are
dissimilar; then among those who remain, we are drawn to those who are most similar.
• Matching hypothesis: the proposition that people are attracted to others who are
similar in physical attractiveness.
• Reciprocity: A mutual exchange between what we give and receive- for example liking
those who like us.
• hard to get effect: The tendency to prefer people who are highly selective in their social
choices over those who are more readily available.
Mate Selection: The Evolution of Desire
• Men desire sex more than women. • According to Buss women must be highly selective- because they are limited to the
amount of children they can produce in a lifetime. Women are therefore attracted to men
who are older, financially secure, have ambition, intelligence, stability, and other traits
such as protectiveness.
• Men can father an unlimited amount of children, men seek out women, who are young,
physically attractive, stuff that signals good fertility.
• Men value physical attractiveness- Women value social status - they both value
• For jealousy men most upset by sexual infidelity while women more upset by emotional
• Cross cultural studies then to support these predicted sex differences, but critics note
that many results are not that strong and can be viewed in terms that are more
psychological then evolutionary.
• Intimate relationships involve three basic components 1) feelings of attachment,
affection, and love 2) the fulfilment of psychological needs and 3) interdependence
between partners, each of whom has a meaningful influence on the other.
• It's a close relationship betw