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Chapter 7

PSY220H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 7: Interpersonal Attraction, Fusiform Face Area, Physical Attractiveness


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY220H1
Professor
Heather V.Fritzley
Chapter
7

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PSY220: Chapter 7 - Interpersonal Attraction (Lecture 7)
Affiliation need: a need to associate with our fellow humans in a friendly, cooperative way we make
distinctions
Evaluating everything and everyone we encounter is a very basic human characteristic
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
Generally determined by one’s affective state (mood)
Repeated exposure to people we come into contact with is likely to result in favourable evaluations
INTERNAL DETERMINANTS OF ATTRACTION: NEED TO AFFILIATE AND BASIC ROLE OF AFFECT
The need to affiliate with others and to be accepted is thought to be as basic to our psychology as being
hungry and thirsty
Human infants are born with the motivation and ability to seek contact with their interpersonal world
Newborns are predisposed to look toward faces in preference to other stimuli and will prefer the face
of their mother over a female stranger
There are also regions in the brain that are specialized for processing faces:
FFA fusiform face area
OFA occipital fusion area
pSTS posterior superior temporal sulci
We also automatically respond to facial cues such as smiles and frowns
Individual Differences in the Need to Affiliate
Need for affiliation: the basic motive to seek and maintain interpersonal relationships
People differ in the strength of their need for affiliation and this is a relatively stable trait.
There are explicit needs to affiliatewhich are captured on self-report questionnaires (asked
about how much they want to affiliate)
Students that score high on this tend to be sociable and affiliate with many people
Implicit needs to affiliateprojective measures, ask respondents to tell stories in response to
ambiguous pictures
E.g. Thematic Apperception test (TAT)test takers shown ambiguous pictures, and
asked to tell a story reflecting their interpretation
Students scoring high in need for affiliation on this type of test tend to interact primarily
in limited, close, two-person situations
Ostracism: when an individual is ignored by others or excluded from a social group
When our affiliation needs are not met sad and angry, increased sensitivity to
interpersonal information and also less effective cognitive functioning
Naomi Eisenberger et al (2003) social ostracism evokes a brain response similar to that
triggered by physical pain in the anterior cingulate and right ventral prefrontal
Situational Influences on the Need to Affiliate
External events can elicit temporary states reflecting an increase in the need to affiliate
E.g. when people are reminded of their mortality, or when there is a natural disaster/threat
(people like to affiliate with those who are experiencing the same negative event)
Schacter (1959)participants in an experiment who were expecting 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 shock preferred to be alone or didn’t care
‘Misery doesn’t just love any kind of company, it loves only miserable company’
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Affiliation provides the opportunity for social comparisonpeople want others to
communicate what they’re experiencing and compare mood reactions
AFFECT AS A BASIC RESPONSE SYSTEM
Emotional state at any given moment influences what you perceive, thought processes, motivation and
decisions you make and interpersonal attraction
Affect emotion/feelings; the two most important characteristics of affect are:
Intensitythe strength of the emotion
Directionwhether the emotion is positive or negative
There is an evolutionary factor that offer explanation regarding why affect is a basic component of
human behaviour animals must be able to discriminate hostile from hospitable events (to survive)
Positive affect motivates us to seek out and explore novel aspects of the environment, negative affect
simultaneously warns to be vigilant, to watch out for possible danger
AFFECT AND ATTRACTION
The presence of positive affect leads to positive evaluations (liking) of other people, while negative affect leads
to negative evaluations (disliking)
The Direct Effect of Emotions on Attraction
Emotions have a direct effect on attraction you tend to like someone who makes you feel
good, and dislike someone who makes you feel bad
The Associated Effect of Emotions on Attraction
This effect occurs when another person is simply present when one’s emotional state is aroused
by something or someone else
The individual toward whom you express like/dislike is not responsible for what you are feeling,
you tend to evaluate them based on how your motions are (positive and negative)
General explanation this effect on attraction is based on classical conditioningwhen a neutral
stimulus is paired with a positive stimulus, it is evaluated more positively than a neutral stimulus
that is paired with a negative stimulus.
Laughter and Liking
Laughter helps strengthen bonds between people a social ‘lubricant’
Sharing a humorous experience increases the likelihood of a positive interaction between
individuals -
In infancy, earliest interactions likely to be some form of play that evokes laughter
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EXTERNAL DETERMINANTS OF ATTRACTION: PROXIMITY AND OBSERVABLE CHARACTERISTICS
THE POWER OF PROXIMITY: UNPLANNED CONTACTS
Proximity: in attraction research, the physical closeness between two individuals with respect to where
they live, where they sit in a classroom, where they work, and etc. (physical proximity)
Propinquity effect: an effect that occurs when your chances of meeting another person are increased
because of nearness or proximity in physical space
The smaller the physical distance, the greater the probability that two people will come into
repeated contact, experiencing repeated exposure to one another, positive affect and
development of mutual attraction
Why does Proximity Matter?
Proximity effect (Back and colleagues)repeated contact with specific people simply on the
basis of physical arrangement of a class, workplace or dwelling place leads to recognition, an
increasingly positive evaluation and greater likelihood that two people will be acquainted
This experiment manipulated seating in first-year psych class, found that students that
sat closer to one another had more intense friendships
Repeated exposure: Zajonc’s finding that frequent contact with any mildly negative, neutral or
positive stimulus results in an increasingly positive evaluation of that stimulus
Mere exposure effect: another term for the repeated exposure, emphasizing the fact
that exposure to a stimulus is all that is necessary to enhance the positive evaluation of
that stimulus
Patricia Pliner (1982)UofT study that found even tropical fruit juice can be liked more with
repeated exposure
Moreland & Beach (1992) in a college course, one female assistant attended class 15 times
during the semester, a second assistant attend 10 times, and a third 5 times, and fourth did not
attend the class at all
None of the assistants interacted with the other class members students shown slides
of the 4 assistants at the end and indicated how much they liked each one
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