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Chapter 11

PSYC14 Chapter 11

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Sisi Tran

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Chapter 11: Interpersonal Attraction, Close Relationships and Groups Interpersonal Attraction - There is a great deal of cultural variation in what is viewed as attractive, but there are also numerous commonalities across culture in what is perceived as attractive. - Commonalities in Attractiveness Across Cultures:  Complexion: free of blemishes, blotches, and rashes are viewed as more attractive. ○ People should be attracted to healthy mates who would likely produce healthy offspring that would survive (evolutionary reasoning). ○ Blotches and blemishes could be indicators of parasites/diseases.  Bilateral Symmetry: most attracted to people whose left sides of their faces and bodies look identical to their right sides. ○ It is an indicator of developmental stability. ○ Genetic mutation, pollution, pathogens and stresses encountered in the womb can lead to development in asymmetrical ways. ○ Even more symmetrical scorpion flies are perceived more attractive.  Tend to be Average: facial features that are close to the average in size and in configuration are perceived more attractive. ○ Average-size features are less likely to have genetic abnormalities than people with deviant features, reflecting genetic health. ○ We can process quickly something that resembles a prototype and quick processing is associated with good feelings and feelings of attraction. ○ People found biracial averaged faces the most attractive of all. ○ Only applicable to facial features and not our perception to bodies because the kinds of bodies that tend to be most attractive are often those that depart from average (weight, height, muscles, breasts, etc). - Cultural differences in standards of beauty for female bodies differ not just across historical context but across current cultural ones too.  Some cultures view the ideal female body to be far heavier (Africa) than what is typically preferred among Westerners. - Propinquity Effect: people are more likely to become friends with people with whom they frequently interact (universal across cultures).  Our friendships are not so much chosen by us but are chosen by the situational forces that bring us together (alphabetical order arrangement, people beside you are more likely to become your friend).  Mere Exposure Effect: the more we are exposed to a stimulus the more we are attracted to it (foreign words, music and people). ○ Due to the pleasant associations that we develop through classical conditioning when we learn that a stimulus is not threatening to us and to the pleasant affect associated with easy-to-process stimuli. ○ It is culturally universal. - Similarity-Attraction Effect: people tend to be attracted to those who are more like them (similar attitudes, economic background, personality, religion, etc).  North Americans and Japanese exhibit some form of similarity-attraction effect 1 but it is consistently stronger among North Americans than Japanese.  The similarity-attraction effect may be a functional universal because the relation between self-esteem and liking similar partners is the same across cultures; however, the cultural variation in the magnitude of the effect demonstrates that it is not accessibility universal. Close Relationships - Our relationships with others are concerns that dominate our lives (culturally universal). - Friends and Enemies  Quality of one’s friendships is one of the best predictors of happiness.  People with a more independent view of self perceive themselves as being fundamentally disconnected from others and the only reasons such people would form connections is because they would choose to do so (advantage in friendship). ○ Choosing a relationship is a mutually voluntary basis; one can choose to make efforts to start a relationship or to dissolve a relationship.  People with a more interdependent view of self are defined primarily on the basis of close relationships, exist by default and have no choice. ○ Relationships appear to be viewed in less conditional terms, having a fixed interpersonal network.  Americans report having a larger number of friends than do Ghanaians because the thought of someone having many friends is different across cultures. ○ Ghanaians emphasized that friends were people who would provide practical support while Americans do not really emphasize on this. ○ For Ghanaians, a person with many friends is a person who has many obligations and this would seem to underlie their relatively smaller friendship networks.  26% of Americans reported that they had enemies but 71% of Ghanaians claimed that they were the target of enemies. ○ Americans are more likely to view their enemies as from outside their group and Ghanaians were more likely to view their enemies as coming from within their ingroups like friends, neighbours or relatives. ○ This may be because Ghanaians’ relationships are natural and “given” to them by birth while Americans have a choice about their relationships. - Love  Parents who did not feel especially strong love for their children were less likely to have their children survive the tenuous circumstances of a subsistence lifestyle; hence, those parents did not pass on as many surviving genes as did those who felt strong feelings of love for their children.  Romantic love would become more important in cultures as the strength of extended family ties become weaker and powerful feelings of romantic love could be somewhat irrelevant for marriage in cultures with strong extended family ties.  Marriages based on love were more likely in cultures with nuclear family 2 structures than they were in cultures with extended family systems.  Individualism appears to be related to the likelihood that one emphasizes romantic love in marriages.  When partners are viewed in ways that distort undesirable behaviours to more positive qualities (from angry and hot-headed to emotional and carefree), the relationship can be buffered against any ugly truths that might threaten it and romantic love will thrive.  Idealizations of one’s romantic relationships appear to be more pronounced among people from more individualistic cultures and idealization doesn’t predict relationship longevity among people in collectivistic cultures.  Arranged marriages have traditionally been very common in the world, although they are currently declining in popularity. Groups - Relations with Ingroups and Outgroups  The boundary distinguishing ingroups from outgroups would be salient for members of interdependent cultures.  For independent cultures, new relationships can be formed and old relationships can be dissolved without having a large impact on an independent person’s perception of his/her identity.  Actor-Observer Bias: the tendency to see one’s own behaviour as best explained by situational factors whereas the behaviour of others is better explained by dispositional factors.
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