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Chapter 14

PSYC 2310 Chapter Notes - Chapter 14: Breakup, Color Wheel Theory Of Love, Facial Symmetry


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSYC 2310
Professor
Jeffrey Yen
Chapter
14

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Chapter 14: Interpersonal Attraction and Close Relationships
People in close relationships are happier and live longer
Wegner: special allure of “secret relationships”; increase relationship excitement because
people have to exert time and energy suppressing their desire to talk about the
relationship to others; secrets with one’s partner leads to increased attraction
General preference for objects that they find attractive
People from diverse backgrounds and cultures generally agree on what is physically
attractive which is associated with many benefits
The benefits of physical attractiveness
Greater likelihood of being hired for a job, higher starting salaries, and bigger raises,
better job security
Why does physical attractiveness lead to attraction?
Biological explanations
Preference for physical features that indicate health or reproductive body; symmetrical
face and well-proportioned body; likely to be more healthy; genetic superiority in terms
of vulnerability to disease and reproductively fit
Area of the brain that is activated in the same area that is associated with other types of
rewards
What people find beautiful is quite consistent
People prefer faces that are average as opposed to distinct; find composite photos more
attractive than the individual faces that make up the composite
Preference for average faces is not unique; people even find average dogs and birds more
attractive than unique ones
Average is more familiar and resemble internal face prototypes that we form from
experience and are more familiar to us than faces that are more distinct and unique
Tend to like what is familiar to us
More symmetrical more attractive because they average the slight differences between
people
Women’s ability to detect facial symmetry increases when they’re menstruating,
suggesting that they may be more susceptible to attractive (symmetrical men at this time)
Socio-psychological explanations
Lead to social profit
Standing with others who are attractive you do seem more attractive than those who are
standing with unattractive people; attractive people get more dates and sexual
experiences

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Sigall and Landy: both male and female participants rated a man who was with an
attractive girlfriend more favourably then when he was with an unattractive woman
Sigall and Landy: others had an enhanced impression of them in terms of confidence,
talent, and sociability then when they were associated with an unattractive women
“What is beautiful is good” stereotype: attractive is associate with a variety of other
positive traits; attractive people = higher in intelligence and social competence and seen
as better adjusted and more extroverted/dominant, have better lives and is more
persuasive
Attractive people possess greater social skills, more fun; consistently treated better; more
positive interactions; get more help, attention, rewards
When interacting with an attractive person, people elicit nurturing and sociable
behaviour; leads to behaviour by the target individual confirming the stereotypes
Frequent and positive interactions=attractive individuals develop greater social skills,
more self-disclosure
Attractive people have more desirable characteristics: less lonely, less anxious, more
popular, more sexually experienced, even smarter, and feel better about themselves
Men and women have evolved different mate preferences to maximize their reproductive
success
Women need to have men with resources and this likelihood of preference may vary
depending on their likelihood of getting pregnant
Men’s short-term goals is to have many mates and looks for women displaying sexual
cues
Critiques of evolutionary perspective
Gender differences are much more pronounced when you ask people for their preferences
in short-term and casual dating situations
No real gender difference in long-term and more committed ones and no difference in the
desirability of a potential mating partner based on sexual experience
Women valued men more highly who had moderate sexual experience
Men placed the highest value on women with high sexual experience
Both men and women prefer physical attractiveness in a short-term mate and are more
selective when selecting a long-term partner than a short-term one
actual interest in real-life partners shows no gender differences on the importance of
attractiveness and earning potential
How different are men and women in sex-related behaviours?
Differ in the extent to which they prefer attractive partners that are younger than them
Men = more importance on attractiveness

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Women = give more weight than men to traits that signify resources, more education, and
older; attracted to confident men
Men and women for their desired number of lifetime sexual partners: men more
interested in having multiple partners
Women do not generally prefer men with stereotypically masculine traits and high levels
of resources; androgynous dating partners as more desirable; feminine characteristics as
better than masculine ones
Barclay: desirability of altruism for both genders; does not address the relative
importance of altruism vs other traits like attractiveness, dominance, or status
Women don’t just want men with resources, they want men with particular character
traits which may in turn lead to the acquisition of resources
Eagly and Wood: preferences reflect long-standing gender differences in societal roles;
men have more opportunity than women
As women gain power and resources, they’re less focused on choosing mates who also
have power and resources
Contrast Effect
Attractiveness depends on the attractiveness of those whom we compare them to
A particular dating partner might look very attractive when comparing to others but seem
unattractive compared to others
Consequences for relationship longevity: the commitment of men who are in dating
relationships decreases when they see a group of attractive women
Women’s commitment to their current relationship decreases once they see a group of
dominant men (who might have resources)
How attractive based not only of the target’s desirability but also the desirability of other
people in the environment during comparison
Similarity
We like people who are similar to ourselves, share attitudes, values, interests, share
demographic characteristics
Matching hypothesis: tend to seek and find partners who are at roughly our own level of
physical attractiveness
Believe that similar others will like us, greater in satisfaction
Reduces potential for conflict
Complementarity
Little research that shows that people are attracted to those who are fundamentally
different from themselves
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