PSY424H1 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Balance Theory, Speed Dating, Endangerment
ProfessorGeoffrey Mac Donald
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Chapter 3: Attraction Summary
•The first big step towards a relationship is always interpersonal attraction, the desire to
The Fundamental Basis of Attraction
•Fundamental assumption is that we are attracted to others whose presence is rewarding to
•Two different types of rewards influence attraction:
1. Direct rewards – all evident pleasures people provide us
2. Indirect rewards
•In general, the more direct rewards we get from others, the more attracted we are to them.
•People are more likely to fall in love with someone whose name resembles their own
•Indirect rewards can be in the form of successful children stemming from the
•Attraction involves the perceived characteristics of the person who appeals to us, but it
also depends on our individual needs, preferences, and desires, and on the situation we
find ourselves in.
Proximity: Liking Those Near Us
•Relationships are more rewarding when they involve people who are physically and
psychologically close to them.
•Proximity often determines whether or not we actually meet others.
•Classic study: Friendships among students in college dorms at MIT were looked at. The
closer two rooms were, the more likely to know and like those in there. Also occurred
between housing complexes, the closer complex was more liked.
Convenience: Proximity is Rewarding, Distance is Costly
•When others are nearby, it is easy to enjoy whatever rewards they have to offer.
•There is more effort needed to interact with someone far away, making it more costly
than one closer to home.
•When a relationship that enjoys the convenience of proximity becomes inconvenient due
to distance, it may suffer more than anyone expected.
Familiarity: Repeated Contact
•Proximity makes it more likely that paths will cross, making it more likely that
familiarity will occur.
•Mere exposure to someone usually increases our liking of them.
•Study: Females students attended class 5, 10, or 15 times (did nothing during class). The
more familiar ones got a better reaction from the real students than the unfamiliar ones
•Proximity Familiarity Liking More attractive
The Power of Proximity
•Familiarity may increase attraction, but overexposure does not.
•Suggested that proximity increases the strength of our initial feelings. So if we dislike
them, it will make us dislike them more.
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•We tend to be attracted to those who are near us, but if our contact with them is
disappointing, we may like them less than we would had they kept their distance.
Physical Attractiveness: Liking Those who are Lovely
•Physical attractiveness has a substantial influence on the first impression that people form
of one another. Good-looking people tend to be more likeable.
Our Bias for Beauty: “What is Beautiful is Good”
•Studies on first impressions come to find that attractive people are presumed to be
interesting, sociable, and likely to be successful in love/life.
•We assume attractive people have desirable traits that complement their desirable
appearance. This is an automatic assumption.
•The more attractive, the more promiscuous we see them.
•In collectivistic cultures, attractive people are also seen as being more caring of others.
Therefore, our stereotypes about attractiveness are influenced by culture.
•Your intelligence is likely to influence your future earnings more than your appearance,
but your appearance does play a part.
•If you are attractive, you are less-likely to have a high fine in court cases.
•Consensus of who is pretty existed across ethnic groups.
•Newborn infants show preferences for faces that are deemed attractive.
•For women: Large eyes, small nose, small chin, full lips, prominent cheekbones, narrow
cheeks, and a broad smile are deemed attractive.
•For men: Strong jaws, broad foreheads, strong/dominant in appearance, etc. Though more
variable for men.
•The kind of man a women is attracted to vary depending on her cycle; rugged men are
attractive when they are fertile and just before ovulation, youthful boyishness is more
•Average faces are deemed attractive.
•Facial symmetry is attractive.
•Men are attracted to normal weight women. Also, they prefer when their waist is
noticeably narrower than their hips. Most attractive is a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7, where
the waist is 30% smaller than the hips.
•Size of breasts is less important than size compared to the rest of the body.
•Men more attractive when their waists are slightly narrower than their hips. Broad
shoulders and muscles are also attractive. A man’s WHR only affects women is he earns a
•Both prefer the man to be taller.
•On average, taller people earn more at work.
•Symmetrical, attractive people tend to have a better body odour to them when doing the
•Women are more attracted to men with longer compared to shorter hair. Men prefer
longer hair on women.
•Women prefer less hairy guys. Women prefer smart guys.
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