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Chapter 12

Psychology 2075 Chapter 12: Attraction, Love, and Sexuality
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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2075
Professor
William Fisher
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 12: Attraction, Love, and Sexuality Tuesday, February 28, 2017 2:35 PM Attraction • The Girl Next Door o Mere-exposure effect: tendency to be more attracted to those we have been exposed to repeatedly • Birds of a Feather o Homophily: tendency to have contact with those of equal social status • Homogamy: when two people of equal social status get married o The more they like their partner, the more they assume the other person is similar to them o We may be attracted to those with dissimilar interpersonal styles (dominant vs. submissive) o Couples are similar in age, race, and education, but not attitudes or personality o Similarity of attachment style associated with marital satisfaction, not similarity in attitudes • Physical Attractiveness o Light skin as more attractive (even African-American) o Physical attractiveness is more important to men evaluating women than women evaluating men o Give partner higher rating than themselves o Women would rather have man with attractive face than body, but men are the opposite • The Interpersonal Marketplace o Matching phenomenon: tendency for men and women to choose as partners people who match them (similar in attitudes, intelligence, and attractiveness) • Social exchange theory • Women's worth based on physical beauty, men's worth based on success From the Laboratory to Real Life • o Perceived similarity is more important • Extent to which individual believes his or her partner is similar on important characteristics • Actual similarity important in studies involving no or short interaction, while perceived similarity was more important in those interactions as well as existing relationships o Self-worth predicts level of physical and social attractiveness of choice • Low self-worth = selecting less desirable partners o Initial attraction • Agreeableness most important • Status least important o Attractiveness affected by ovulation • Attraction Online o Growth due to • Growing proportion of single population • Career and time pressures • Highly mobile • Workplace romance less acceptable o Used by 74% of single internet users o Allows those of other sexual orientations/sexual interests to meet people o Advantages and Disadvantages of Online Dating • Can facilitate finding person with a lot in common • Start with lower relational intimacy • Imagination heavily influences impressions • Lack of reliable information about the person you are talking to o The "Science" of Online Dating • Only 2/3 of people using them actually meet someone face to face • 27% of people formed a relationship with the person, 3% got married • 3 classes of influence on relationship success ▪ Personal characteristics, individual exchange, and external, uncontrollable events ▪ Online dating only provides information about the first group • Explaining Our Preferences o Reinforcement Theory: Byrne's Law of Attraction • We like people who give us rewards, and dislike people who give us punishments • Attraction proportionate to number of reinforcements that person gives us relative to total number of reinforcements plus punishments the person gives us • Have good times together to associate each other with rewards; give them lots of positive reinforcement • Implicit egotism perspective ▪ We are attracted to people similar because they activate our positive views of ourselves o Sociobiology: Sexual Strategies Theory • Physically attractive people are more likely to be healthy and fertile ▪ Physical attractiveness considered more important by residents in societies with greater prevalence of pathogens • Fluctuating asymmetry ▪ Asymmetry of bilateral features that are on average symmetrical in the population ▪ Reflect developmental instability • Inability of developing body to buffer itself against random perturbations ▪ Studies show that correlation between symmetry and health and fitness is small • Women prefer men with resources more than looks ▪ But women are now relying less on men ▪ Wealthier women have the most to offer Intimacy • Importance of long-term intimate relationship o Desire to have children in the future o Benefits of mutual trust and reciprocal recognition by another person • Important for coping with stress • Defining Intimacy o Perlman & Fehr • Openness, honesty, mutual self-disclosure ; caring, warmth, protecting, helping; being devoted to each other, mutually attentive, mutually committed; surrendering control, dropping defenses; becoming emotional, feeling distressed when separation occurs o Prager • Intimate interactions = intimate experiences + intimate behaviours • Intimate experiences: the meaning a person gives to their interactions with another person • Intimate behaviours: eye contact, smiling, physical closeness, sexual activity, verbal self-disclosure • Intimate relationships: relationship in which intimate interactions occur on regular and predictable basis; characterized by affection between partners, mutual trust, and partner cohesiveness ▪ Result of many intimate interactions o Intimacy: quality of relationships characterized by commitment, feelings of closeness and trust, and self-disclosure • Emphasis on closeness and partner responsiveness ▪ Affective, cognitive, physical • Intimacy and Self-Disclosure o Self-disclosure: telling personal things about yourself • Leads to reciprocity ▪ Makes us like and trust that person more ▪ Simple modelling and imitation may occur • Relates closely to satisfaction with overall relationship and sexual aspects of relationship ▪ The less self-disclosure, the greater the likelihood of breakup o Self disclosure of emotion more closely related to intimacy than self disclosure of facts • Measuring Intimacy o Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships Inventory (PAIR) • Ex: My partner listens to me when I need someone to talk to. My partner really understands my hurts and joys • Ex: how often are you able to understand his or her feelings? How important is your relationship with him or her in your life? Theories of Love • Triangular Theory of Love (Sternberg) o Three Components of Love • Intimacy (emotional) ▪ A sense of mutual understanding with the loved one ▪ A sense of sharing one's self ▪ Intimate communication with the loved one, involving a sense of having the loved one hear and accept what is shared ▪ Giving and receiving emotional support to and from the loved one • Passion (motivational) ▪ Physical attraction and drive for sexual expression ▪ Physiological arousal ▪ Differentiates romantic love from other types of love ▪ Fastest to arouse but fades most quickly • Decision or Commitment (cognitive) ▪ Short-term aspect: decision that one loves the other person ▪ Long-term aspect: commitment to maintain the relationship • Causal sex = passion without intimacy o The Triangular Theory • Consummate love = intimacy + passion + commitment • When there is a match between the two partners' love, both tend to feel satisfied with the relationship • Each of the three components of love must be translated into action ▪ Intimacy: communicating person feelings and information, offering emotional and financial support, expressing empathy for the other ▪ Passion: kissing, touching, making love ▪ Commitment: "I love you", getting married, sticking with relationships through times when it is not convenient o Evidence for Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love • Sternberg Triangular Love Scale ▪ Good measures for passion and commitment ▪ Stable for up to 2 months • Commitment scores increases over time, intimacy decreases as familiarity increases, behavioural intimacy decreases • Intimacy most closely related to sexual behaviour and sexual satisfaction • Attachment Theory of Love o 4 attachment styles based on our perceptions of ourselves and on our expectations of how others will respond to us • People with positive model of self are self-confident • People with negative model of self are anxious about relationships • People with positive model of others seeks others out • People with negative model of others avoid intimacy o Types of lovers • Secure lover: sense of their own lovability and the expectation that other people are generally accepting and responsive (49%) • Preoccupied lover: sense of their own unlovability but a positive evaluation other people (12%) ▪ Try to achieve self-acceptance by gaining acceptance of people they value ▪ Want to get close to partner but worried that partner does not love them • Fearful lover: negative expectation of both themselves and other people (21%) ▪ Expect to be rejected by others and avoid romantic relationships ▪ Uncomfortable feeling close to, trusting, or depending on another person or having them feel close to them Dismissing lover: feel that they are worthy of love but have negative views of other • people (18%) ▪ Protect themselves against disappointment by avoiding close relationships and maintaining independence o Person's perception of quality of relationship with each parent, and childhood/adolescent friends predicts adult attachment o Securely attached children (12 months) were more socially competent by school, which meant more secure friendships and more positive daily emotional experiences in relationships o Important implications • Earned-secure attachment ▪ Some people have insecure attachment with family and secure attachment with romantic partners • Relationship conflict can be due to mismatch of attachment styles • Preoccupied lovers feel jealously because of early experience of feeling anxious about attachment to their parents • Women with insecure attachment styles engage in sexual intercourse at younger age and have more partners o Potentially destructive behaviour by partner • Secure attachment responded constructively with efforts to discuss and resolve problem • Fearful attachment responded with avoidance or withdrawal o Attachment avoidant do not expect partner to engage in commitment behaviours, and will engage in behaviours that signify absence of commitment, assuming the relationship will end o Insecure attachment style report lower levels of satisfaction and commitment over time, and lower sexual satisfaction • Insecure attachment interferes with effective sexual communication = negatively affects sexual satisfaction o When either partner is avoidant attachment, they have sex less frequently and have lower sexual satisfaction • Love as a Story o Stories shape our beliefs about love and relationships, and our beliefs influence our behaviour o Love story: story about what love should be life, including characters, a plot, and a theme o Falling in love: meet someone with whom you can create a relationship that fits your love story o Derive their power from the fact that they can be self-fulfilling • Because they are self-confirming, they can be very difficult to change o Ex: •
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