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Chapter 10

PSYC 231 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Social Comparison Theory, Physical Attractiveness, Normative Social Influence

Course Code
PSYC 231
Carrie Kobelsky

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need to belong: a motivation to bond with others in relationships that
provide ongoing positive interactions
-satisfying the need to belong, to feel autonomy, & competence results
in a deep sense of well-being, & happier & healthier lives
-people respond to ostracism with depressed mood, anxiety, hurt
feelings, efforts to restore relationship, & eventual withdrawal
-those who are led to feel excluded are not only more likely to engage in
self-defeating behaviours (ex. underperforming on a skill test), but are also
less likely to regulate their own behaviours
-exclusion hurts longest for anxious people
-ostracized people exhibit heightened activity in the brain cortex area that
is also activated in response to physical pain
social pain, like physical pain, also increases aggression
pain-relieving Tylenol can help reduce social pain
people remember & relive past social pain more easily than past
physical pain
-those who have experiences exclusion become more attentive to smiling,
accepting faces, & triggers increased mimicry of others’ behaviour as a
non-conscious effort to build rapport
what leads to friendship & attraction — factors that nurture liking & loving:
-proximity: geographical nearness
powerful predictor of whether 2 people are friends
close proximity can breed hostility, though more commonly liking
functional distance: how often people’s paths cross
due to availability, there are more opportunities to interact with
one another & to get to know someone if they are in closer proximity
anticipating interactions increases liking
-anticipatory liking: expecting that someone will be pleasant &
compatible, increasing the chances of a rewarding relationship
mere-exposure effect: the tendency for novel stimuli the be liked
more or rated more positively after the rater has been exposed
repeatedly to them
-predisposes our attractions & attachments
-unless the repetition is never-ending, familiarity doesnt breed
contempt, but rather increases liking
-exposure to a stimulus without awareness has an ever stronger
effect than when people are aware
-we like ourselves better when we are the way we are used to
seeing ourselves (mirrored versions)
-physical attractiveness — good looks do predicts how frequently
someone will date, despite the belief that “looks are unimportant”
the more attractive someone’s date is, the more likely it is they the
partners will have liked each other & want to date them again
matching phenomena: the tendency for men & women to choose
partners who are a “good match” in attractiveness & other traits
-those who are more physically similar are more likely to fall
deeper in love
-when couples differ significantly in attractiveness, it is usual the
case that the less attractive person has compensating qualities
physical-attractiveness stereotype: the presumption that
physical attractive people possess other socially desirable traits
-why adults tends to be biased towards attractive adults, & young
children are biased towards attractive children
-adults show similar bias too when judging children
-attractive people do tend to be more relaxed, outgoing, popular &
socially polished — probably the result of self-fulfilling prophecies
attractive people are more valued & favoured, so may then
develop more social self-confidence
attractiveness also influences our first impression
-it can be perceived so quickly by exposure to an attractive face,
too brief to actually discern, & then prime positive processing
what is considered “attractive” varies by any given place & time
-to be really attractive though it too ironically just be average
-perfectly symmetrical faces are most attractive
evolution of attractiveness is the theory that attractive partners
signal health, youth & fertility — key reproductive signals
contrast effect: being recently exposed to highly attractive people
makes us view ourselves & others as being less appealing
social comparison leaves us feeling more dissatisfied with ourselves
than we would have been if we were surrounded by people who were
“natural” like us
we perceive likeable people as also being more attractive, & discovering
someone’s similarities to us makes them seem even more attractive
-the more in love someone is, the less attractive they find members
of the other sex
-similarity — people who are together are more likely to share common
attitudes, beliefs & values, & the greater similarity between then, the
happier they tend to be
likeness leads to liking — the more similar someones’s attitudes
are to your own, the more likeable you will find them
dissimilarity breeds dislike — dissimilar attitudes depress liking
more than similar attitudes enhances it
attitude alignment: close people become more similar over time in
their emotional responses to events & in their attitudes, helping to
promote & sustain close relationships
-can also lead to partners overestimating their attitude similarity
culture racism: exist when people regard another group as
“others”, who they think are significantly different from them
-complementary: the popular supposed tendency in a relationship
between 2 people, for each to complete what is missing in the other
not actually generally true — opposites don’t usually attract
-liking those who like us — one person’s liking for another predicts
they other’s liking in return
finding out that an attractive person likes you seems to awaken
romantic feelings
adding a dash of uncertainty can make you like them even more
-ingratiation: the use of strategies, such as flattery, by which people seek
to gain another’s favour
thus, we tend to perceive criticism as more sincere than praise
if there is not apparent alternative motive, we then accept flattery
people with low self-esteem are less likely to attribute compliments to
caring & affection
-self-esteem — those whose self-esteems have been temporarily shattered
are more eager to seek social approval
those with low self-esteem believe they will be less accepted than high
self-esteem individuals, resulting in them to behave less warmly &
friendly, which ultimately leads them to really be less accepted
low self-esteem people tend to do underestimate how much their
partner values them, & therefore tends to be more unhappy in their
if low self-esteem people focus on their strength though, they feel
more secure in their relationships
-authenticity — constant approval looses its appeal, & so after initial/
prior disapproval, positive evaluations become even more potent
-reward theory of attraction: the theory that we like those whose
behaviour is rewarding to us, or whom we associate with rewarding events
conditioning creates positive feelings towards things & people linked
with rewarding events
explains why proximity is rewarding — it requires less time & effort
explains why liking is usually mutual — we all want to be liked, so we
like those who like us
love — what is love & what are its different components:
-view love as a triangle, composed of 3 parts:
(i) passion (infatuation)
(ii) intimacy (liking)
(iii) commitment (empty love)
-results in different types of love
(a) passionate love: a state of intense longing for union with another
passionate lovers are absorbed into one another & feel ecstatic
when they attain their partner’s love, but depressed when lose it
the psychological experience of being biological aroused by
someone we find attractive & is expressed physically
2-factor theory of emotion: arousal × its label = emotion
(ii) companionate love: the affection we feel for those with whom our
lives are deeply intertwined with
the result of the passion-love causing hormones settling down
(testosterone, dopamine, adrenaline) & the hormone responsible
for feelings of attachment & love (oxytocin) emerging
is deep, affectionate attachment, unlike the wild emotions of
passionate love
-men tend to fall in love more readily & fall out of love more slowly
-men more likely to say the first “I love you” & less likely to break-up
-once in love, women are just as emotional involved as their partner
-men more likely to think about playful & physical aspects of relationship
close relationships — what enables close relationships:
-attachment — loving attachments consist of mutual understanding,
giving & receiving support, valuing & enjoying being with the loved one
passionate love is involved in very close relationships (ex. between
lovers, parent & child)
PSYC 231: Chapter 10 - Attraction & Intimacy
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