Psychology 2070A/B Chapter Notes - Chapter 9-12: Stereotype

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13 Apr 2014
Chapter 9 – Interpersonal Attraction
From First Impressions to Close Relationships
Major Antecedents of Attraction
- The absence of meaningful relationships with other people makes people feel lonely, worthless,
hopeless, helpless, powerless, and alienated
The Person Next Door: The Propinquity Effect
- The people who, by chance, you see and interact with most often are most likely to become you friends
and lovers
-Propinquity effect: the finding that the more we see and interact with people, the more likely they are to
become our friends
- Attraction and propinquity rely not only on actual physical distance, but also on the more psychological,
functional distance
-Functional distance is defined as certain aspects of architectural design that make it likely that some
people will come into contact with each other more often than with others
- The propinquity effect works because of familiarity, or the mere exposure effect: the finding that the
more exposure we have to a stimulus, the more apt we are to like it
- Of course, if you feel negatively toward the person in question, then, nor surprisingly, the more exposure
you have to him or her, the greater your dislike
- Unless our feelings toward someone are negative, familiarity generally breeds attraction and liking
Forming Relationships Online
- Participants also tended to report more liking for an Internet partner than a partner they met in person
- “Rich get richer:” people who are extroverted ad have good social skills use the Internet as a way of
acquitting even more friends  among girls
- Social compensation hypothesis: online friendships are more likely to be formed by lonely, introverted
people who may lack the social skills required to form relationships in person  among boys
- Very common for relationships that have formed online to move to offline modes of communication
- People report opening up more and being more satisfied with their offline than their online friendships
- People are increasingly relying on texting, IM, and the like even with their offline friends
- Internet does play important role in maintaining friendships regardless of whether they were formed
online or offline
- People often disclose more personal information more quickly when interacting with a potential dating
partner online
- Online relationships may form more quickly and become intimate sooner than offline relationships; can
fizzle just as quickly
- The “fuel” is the match between our interests, background, attitudes, and values and those of the other
-Similarity: attraction to people whoa re like us
-Complementarity: attraction to people who are opposite to us
- Research evidence proves that it is similarity, not complementarity, that draws people together
- Similarity in many domains is an important predictor of attraction in both friendships and romantic
- Similarity in personality was strongest for reciprocated friendship pairs
oSame kinds of leisure activities
oFor some people, stronger predictor of attraction than is similarity of attitudes
- Similarity effects seem to be strongest in individualistic cultures
- Why is similarity so important in attraction?
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o1. We tend to think that people who are similar to us will be inclined to like us  take first steps
and initiate a relationship
o2. People who are similar provide us with important social validation for our characteristics and
beliefs  feeling that we are right in our views and thinking
o3. Rewards-of-interaction explanation  if a person feels the same way we do on important
issues, we assume it would be enjoyable to spend time with him or her
- Also evidence that attraction can lead to perceptions of similarity
- The greater the similarity they perceived, the more understood they felt by their partner
- Feelings of understanding, in turn, predicted relationship satisfaction
- In long-term relationships, “perceived” similarity predicted liking and attraction better than “actual”
- Feeling similar to another is so important that we will create beliefs about the similarity between
ourselves and intimate others
- Liking is so powerful it can even make up for the absence of similarity
Reciprocal Liking
- Liking is so powerful it can even make up for the absence of similarity
- Reciprocal liking can come about because of a self-fulfilling prophecy
- Reciprocal liking effects can occur only if you like yourself in the first place
The Effects of Physical Attractiveness on Liking
- Determined whether they liked each other… the overriding determinant was physical attractiveness
- Most interested in dating and forming a long-term relationship with men who were portrayed as
attractive, participated in sports, and were high-status
- Automatic first impressions were influenced by the mans looks, not his other qualities
- Attractiveness strongest predictor or desirability
- We are aware of the value we place on looks—but as long as we can get away with it, we won’t admit it
What is Attractive?
- Females: small, pert noses, big eyes, shapely lips, blemish-free complexions
oLarge eyes, a small nose, a small chin, prominent cheekbones and narrow cheeks, high eyebrows,
large pupils, and a big smile
- Males: large eyes, prominent cheekbones, a large chin, and a big smile
- Baby face features are thought to be attractive because they elicit feelings of warmth and nurturance in
- Beauty in the female, more so than the male, is associated with childlike qualities
- Visual point of view may affect what you find most attractive
- Low 2D:4D ratio is associated with masculinity (higher levels of prenatal exposure to male hormones);
high ratio associated with femininity
Cultural Standards of Beauty
- Even though racial and ethnic groups do vary in specific facial features, people from a wide range of
cultures agree on what is attractive in the human face
Assumptions about Attractive People
- Neonatal nurses responded more positively to cuter babies and gave them better care
- Attractiveness and income also are positively correlated
- Good-looking political candidates get more votes
- One reason that physically attractive people get preferential treatment has to do with the assumptions
that we make about attractive individuals
- The “what is beautiful is good” stereotype… after a mere three minutes of interaction
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- Older men seem to perceive that what is beautiful and younger is good
- Physical attractiveness has the largest effect on both men’s and womens attribution when they are
making judgments about social competence
- The beautiful are thought to be more sociable, extroverted, and popular than the less attractive
oAlso seen as more sexual, happier, and more assertive
oIntelligence and liberal attitudes
- Beautiful people, from a young age, receive a great deal of social attention that helps them develop good
social skills, which, in turn, may lead to other positive outcomes, such as interpersonal and occupational
success  self-fulfilling prophecy
- The men who thought they were talking to an attractive woman responded to her in a warmer, more
sociable manner
- If a man thought he was talking to an attractive woman, the spoke to her in a way that brought out her
best and most sparkling qualities
- Across cultures? Yes.
- Physical attractiveness stereotyping occurs cross-culturally, although more so in individualistic societies,
which place greater weight on qualities of the individual, including his or her appearance
Attraction and the Misattribution of Arousal
-Misattribution of arousal: the process whereby people make mistaken inferences about what is causing
them to feel the way they do
- If you are on a high, scary bridge, you will be considerably aroused and will mistakenly think some of
this arousal is the result of attraction to the beautiful woman
- In summary, four major determinants of attraction: propinquity, similarity, reciprocal liking, and
physical attractiveness
Forming close Relationships
Defining Love
- Feelings of intimacy, attachment, and passion; distinct from liking
- Four basic kinds of love: passionate or romantic love, companionate (friendship-based) love,
compassionate love, and attachment love
Companionate versus Passionate Love
-Companionate love: feelings of intimacy and affection we feel toward someone with whom our lives
are deeply intertwined
-Passionate love: feelings of intense longing, accompanied by physiological arousal, we feel for another
person; when our love is reciprocated, we feel great fulfillment and ecstasy; but, when it is not, we feel
sadness and despair
- Giddy, euphoric, full or energy, and close of obsessed with your new beloved
- These powerful emotions, experienced by people in many different cultures, suggest that
passionate/romantic love may have evolved as a primary component of the human mating system
- Two specific areas deep within the brain were activated when participants looked at photographs of their
romantic partner and were not activated when they looked at the photographs of their acquaintance
- Higher levels of passionate love showed greater activation in these areas
- Ventral tegmental area (VTA) and caudate nucleus
“Ordinary” Peoples Definition of Love
- Included both companionate features (warmth, intimacy, caring) and passionate features (heart rate
increases, sexual attraction, thinking about the other person all the time)
- Found that companionate love was seen as capturing the meaning of love more so than passionate love
- Participants reported that they relied on the level of companionate love, rather than the level of
passionate love, when deciding whether a relationship was progressing or deteriorating
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