Attraction “Absence is to love as wind is to fire; it extinguishes the small and kindles the great.” Roger De Bussy-Rabuti
Introduction Love is elusive, both as a subject of study and as the ideal level of attraction. It cannot be defined easily, it cannot be measured easily, in fact, love is difficult to understand regardless of the approach. It is a universal phenomenon for human beings to develop a need for affiliation; a need “for connection attachment and love.” Two factors that contribute to attachment are proximity and similarity
Theories of Attraction Ellen Berscheid and Elaine Hatfield were two pioneers in the study of attraction. They proposed that love be characterized by two different types of attraction: passionate love and companionate love Passionate love is defined by complete and utter absorption with another being, and includes feelings such as sexual desire and intense agony and ecstasy. Companionate love is characterized by a deep, warm; trusting affection towards somebody formed a long-lasting connection with another.
Triangular Theory of Love Robert Sternberg built on the idea of different “ types” of love and formulated his triangular theory of love. The different types of love can be categorized into the Triangular Theory of Love, which consists of a combination of passion (euphoria and sexual excitement) intimacy (feeling free to talk about anything, feeling close to and understood by the loved one) and commitment (needing to be with the other person, being loyal). Most people agree that a healthy relationship is a mix between all three.
Triangle Theory Cont’d Research shows that men and women equally feel the need for love and attachment they just demonstrate it differently. In most Western societies men express themselves through actions while women use their words to communicate.
Physical Appearance and Attraction Physical appearance has proven to be a principal factor in forming romantic attachments. Those who are deemed physically attractive tend to flock together with other physically attractive individuals. Most often they are the most sought after, and tend to be successful in romantic endeavors
Physical Appearance and Romantic Success… Conversely, people who are considered less attractive, often find less success in the dating world, and therefore will accept less attractive partners. However, it is important to note that unattractive individuals do not delude themselves into believing that a lesser attractive mate is more physically appealing than they actually are. There appears to be an acceptance of the limits of their appeal to other people and therefore they do not attempt to date individuals who are considered “hotter” than they are.
The Importance of Appearance Recently, a study was conducted on the importance of attractiveness. It was found that men regarded the attractiveness of women’s bodies to be more important in short-term relationships than in long-term relationships. For long-term relationships, however, it was shown that facial attractiveness was more important to men than physical attractiveness. Furthermore, the results of the study indicate that facial attractiveness is again more important that physical attractiveness but in regards to mate selection. Women did not show a preference for attractiveness between short-term and long-term relationships. These results indicate that the attractiveness of the face and body signal different information to men and thus men regard the face or the body as more important depending on the type of relationship he wants to pursue with the woman.
“Whoever said, ‘It's not what's on the outside, but what's inside that counts,’ was probably married to someone with a really nice personality” The initial reaction of a many young men is to check out a woman’s breast and butt; this however is different for each individual due to their idea of the perfect woman. Men also have a double standard when it comes to the physical features of a woman. In general, men value the importance of an attractive body more than a women does when it comes to a mans body. Men are motivated by sex while women tend to be motivated by the idea of a successful relationship.
Face and Body cont’d The debate over which is more important, the face or body was put to the test and results showed the 69% of men chose a woman’s face over her body. These results are due to a variety of different factors. Over the year’s societies idea of the perfect woman has changed, Marilyn Monroe was considered a sex symbol in the 1960s, yet she was much curvier when compared to a typical model or actress today. It is important to note that if you have been in a relationship for a long time the body becomes less important. For example if the women gets pregnant many men love how their partners body changes. Another point to consider is that the face stays relatively the same throughout a woman’s life. The face is the first thing men notice; the features most noticeable are a woman’s eyes, lips and hair.
Studies in Speed Dating In a study on speed dating participants were asked how they choose mates: Both sexes agreed that they would chose according to compatibility. This however, was untrue as modern human mate choices do not reflect predictions of tradeoffs from evolutionary theory but instead follow a ‘‘likes-attract’’ pattern, where people choose mates who match their self-perceptions. Furthermore men appeared to be attracted to every second female target, whereas women chose every 3rd male – suggesting that women are pickier than men.
Personality Goes a Long Way Often the first information we process when meeting another person is their physical appearance, because of this, a person’s physical appearance becomes an important factor in forming an attraction. Physical appearance forms part of the basis for person perception; for instance, “good-looking” people are often associated with more positive character traits, treated more favourably and are lusted after more frequently. However, there is evidence to support the effect that personality has on the perceived attractiveness of an individual. For example, a study revealed that if a positive personality trait is associated with someone, than their perceived attractiveness is considerably higher than if they are associated with a negative personality trait. This is an important piece of information in a society that puts an increased emphasis on physical attractiveness: Personality goes a long way in determining just how beautiful someone is.
What do Men and Women Want? Research shows that men judge women according to their physical attractiveness whereas women judge men based on their socio-economic status. A question could be: Does a women’s occupational success affect her chances at love? There is evidence to support the idea that men prefer a woman with a lower SES, not a medium or a high SES. Moreover, the results indicated that men’s preference was based not on her income level but on her educational level. A woman with a high educational level was viewed as being less likeable and less faithful. The study showed that men and women have different preferences in partner preferences. Whereas men prefer a woman with a low SES women prefer a man with a high SES.
Tyra Banks Tyra Banks is respected, idolized and is considered one of the most beautiful people in the world. In a segment on her talk show “ Tyra” She attempted to understand the torment obese women had to undergo in day to day life. She clothed herself in a fat suit, giving her the appearance of a 350 pound woman. During this experiment, she noticed how much of a difference physical appearance makes in terms of public opinion. She was subject to verbal assault and emotional abuse. To find out more about Tyra’s social experiment see the “useful links” page at the end of this slideshow.
A Typical Date: Adventures in the Dating World Rules According To Ask Men: Go the extra mile….or two Be polite, not pushy Be complimentary Be curious Be assertive, not aggressive For more “Rules” see the “useful links” page at the end of the slideshow
First Date Scripts A recent study looked at how men and women behave in a first date situation and what factors influenced the first date script. The findings gave evidence to the gender roles of both men and woman: Men’s scripts were more active, which included paying for the date and driving the woman home at night. Women’s scripts, on the other hand, were more passive. The women’s activities included responding to the man’s actions, such as having the door opened for them. The results were seen as even, in that the participants identified with egalitarian views, as opposed to traditional views.
First Date Cont’d This study also showed that men and women behaved differently depending on who the initiator of the date was. If the initiator was male the female was more likely to give a goodnight kiss. If the initiator was a female however the women were less likely to give a kiss. In addition to this--- found that men believed that more sexual relations would occur if the initiator was a female. Therefore, for men their sexual script includes more than kissing and they interpret the date in a more sexual way. For women their script includes only a kiss and they view the first date to be more romantic.
Romance in the Modern World Dinner and a movie doesn’t cut it anymore: the changes in dating in the modern world have made it difficult for some relationships to be defined. For example, the line between friends and lovers has blurred considerably. Friends that you are intimate with but are not dating form a type of relationship called "friends with benefits." This situation is like relationship purgatory and can cause resentment and confusion.
About 37% of users who are looking for a romantic partner have gone to a dating web site. The Web is now the fourth most popular strategy in finding a date or a romantic partner, after “work or school” (38%), “family or friends” (34%), and “nightclubs, bars, cafés, or other social gatherings” (13%). Positive features of online dating include the ability to pick and choose based on similarity, and the issue of distance is negated as the romance is formed online. Help from friends is unnecessary and dating sites can be constantly accessed, whereas going out seven days a week with friends is hectic and unrealistic. It has been theorized that people who are considered socially inadequate, who have difficulty finding an relationship offline, turn to online dating.
Who visits online dating sites cont’d In the 1990’s, it was commonly thought that internet attracted shy and anxious people, who usually feel nervous in engaging in social interactions. This is no longer the case, as the people those who use to internet for social networking no longer fit into a small stereotype. There are two hypotheses of the type of people who enter the online dating world. The “Rich get richer hypothesis” predicts the internet benefits people who don’t have dating anxiety, have strong dating skills, and typically use the internet as just another strategy to find a partner. The “Social compensation” hypothesis states that dating sites will benefit people with high dating anxiety whom are too timid to create a relationship face to face. A surprising fact is divorcees are more than three times as likely to use a dating website compared to an average internet user. They make up 27% of dating sites and 8% of the adult internet users.
Virtual Intimacy Can we really find true love online? Dating websites promote themselves by promising the user that their service will help them establish a romantic relationship. It is suggested that the ability to form intimate relationships in adulthood is closely linked to the negotiation of childhood and adolescent developmental milestones. This can be applied to face-to-face and computer-mediated romantic relationships. Overall, individuals who face challenges in face-to-face relationships may be more inclined to turn to the Internet as a safer alternative. However, A study was done on “Rapid Communication” and revealed that virtual communication compared to face to face communication is significantly lower intimacy scores and the chances of romance online is slim.
The relationship between college dating and social anxiety was examined in regards to the affect it has on young adults when they enter post secondary education. Many college students will turn to the Internet in search of romantic relationships. Research found that, “the positive effect of internet use was larger for extroverts than introverts; specifically, extroverts who had high Internet use were more likely to report great community involvement, while introverts with high internet use were more likely to report less community involvement.” Studies have also found that the lonelier the person is the more likely they are to use the Internet to communicate than more out going people.
Dating and Anxiety Cont’d Social anxiety can be defined “as a fear of negative evaluations by others in social situations, while dating anxiety is defined as apprehension and discomfort in interactions with a potential romantic partner.” (Stevens, S., & Morris, T. 2007). This type of fear and anxiety can lead people to become more introverted and more likely to avoid social (dating) situations. It is interesting to look at the level of accuracy and honesty that goes into creating a dating profile. Often time’s individuals who are insecure about their height or weight will opt to be inaccurate in their dating profile in the hope of continuing their online relationship. Donn and Sherman “found that 7.7% of college students and 19.7% of graduate students had taken steps to meet a potential romantic partner online.
According to Ask Men, there are five main reasons as to why women are more attracted to taken men. The first reason is the belief that people want what they can’t have. Everyone admires the one of a kind jewel or expensive designer shoes because they are hard to get. The more tantalizingly out of reach the object is, the more appealing it becomes. Another possible reason is that, to women, taken men are considered safe: they can talk, seek advice and flirt without fear of repercussion, because, since he’s off the market, he must be harmless. But then, she falls in love with him and begins to try and out do his current girlfriend. Thirdly, when you date a guy, you tend to brag to your friends about what a great catch you have. The friends, seeing how amazing he is, evidently want to steal him away from you. Another reason for taken men being so highly thought of, is that they don’t have a desperate need to meet woman, they are in a established relationship, and carry a certain confidence that single men do not.
Why women like taken men cont’d When a woman is in a committed relationship, their behavior changes towards other women and the sexual intentions are removed. Therefore, women lower their guard. It is important to note that girls want what other girls have. The fact that a certain guy is someone’s favourite, makes him worth a try... A guy in a relationship is wanted by at least one person (the girl he is with) who has confirmed that he is boyfriend material, therefore attracting the buzz of many others!
Love, Marriage, and “The One” The term “Soul Mate” has poetic connotations, it is seen as the highest ideal in a potential mate; a pairing between two people who are compatible in their point of view, sensitivity, and sense of romance. A soul mate is often referred to as “The One”. A study revealed that an astounding 94% of young single men and women participants agreed that when they marry, above all else, they want their spouse to be their soul mate.
Soul Mates Cont’d Most recently, the search for a soul mate has expended into the field of internet dating. If a soul mate is viewed as a partner who is compatible in many respects, internet dating has the potential to be a useful tool in the search as many sites ask for information regarding interests, beliefs, hobbies and provide matches based on compatibility. However at this point it time, it appears that the internet is no more effective at finding “ the one” than any other dating method.
The Evolution of Dating and Marriage In the 19th century, most often marriage was the result of a an arrangement between parents rather than the outcome of a long and romantic courtship. It was very unlikely that one would date their future husband/wife, the union of two people relied heavily on social tradition and propriety. Parents arranged a meeting with the girl or boy they had in mind and if their social class and family relations were in order, a wedding would follow. In the 1900’s, parental permission was often required before courtship could ensue . Not only was an approval necessary, the parents often supervised the date. In the 21st century the rules and regulations of courting have become much more lax. Clubs, bars, online chat-rooms and coffee shops have replaced the once formal setting of a first date. Parental permission of often not required and the term dating can imply anything from a quick “hookup” to a casual relationship to a commitment between two lovers.
True Love No More Given this evolution, it seems natural that the rate of divorce has skyrocketed in the latter half of the 20th and 21st century. This is coupled with the fact that the most commonly cited reason for divorce is “incompatibility”. A partner who appears to be a soul mate in the early years of courtship and marriage could prove to be incompatible as the years spent together wear away at the passionate love, and if a companionate love is not formed, then the relationship is irrevocably altered and could end in divorce.
The Future Of Love Despite the recent rise in divorce rates, there need be no fear of remaining single forever. Many divorcees are turning to their computers to find new mates. In fact, a study revealed that those who have been previously married are three times more likely to engage in internet dating. Those who are over the age of 40 have been reported to be the most active online daters, suggesting that the internet may be a useful tool to those who have been previously married or are of an age where more “ traditional” dating practices are uncomfortable or inconvenient with their current lifestyle e.g. if they have children, or a busy career etc... The availability of websites designed to get people together provides the opportunity to become a jack of all trades but master of none. In other words, the establishment of intimacy with one person is superseded by having several relationships of less substance. Also, since there is no typical dating relationship anymore, the question "Are you dating anyone?" is becoming hard to answer. Despite the fact that there is no typical relationship anymore, it appears that most of us are searching for “ the one”, and if that person is found, then it is worth all the confusion that the dating world has to offer.
Useful Links Copy and paste these useful links useful links into your browser; they are both amusing and informative, so give them a look. Speed dating: This clip is a brief explanation on speed dating and how it works. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNkb0Om-7bw
Hot or Not. This site is for viewers to rate a picture 0 being ugly (not) to ten being beautiful (hot) http://www.hotornot.com/m/?state=votebrand&brandIdQ=7942
This show involves two random people being paired up by a tv host in hopes to find true love http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLeBjpgh17I
Darwin Dating Acceptance Rules. This is a list of rules that determine whether or not you are good looking enough to be on this dating website. In other words, it’s goal is to eliminate who they think are ugly http://www.darwindating.com/content?page=rules
Live links. This is a commercial on dating over the phone. Pretty much you base your attraction through conversation and the sound of their voice. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lsCPhJrAlc Supermodel in a fat suit. More information of Tyra’s day in the life of a 350lb woman http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1125542,00.html
Even More Useful Links Copy and Paste this into your browser: Dating Rules According to “Ask Men” http://ca.askmen.com/dating/heidi_100/108_dating_girl.html “Realistic” Hollywood Sex-Scene http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evDAi77IDhY How to create an effective dating profile: http://video.about.com/dating/Choose-and-Take-Profile-Pics.htm http://video.about.com/dating/Create-a-Dating-Profile.htm
References Anthony C. L., & Thomas E. C. (2009). The relative importance of the face and body in judgments of human physical attractiveness. Evolution and Human Behavior, 30, 409-416. doi:10.1016/j.evolhumanbehav.2009.06.005
Ariely, D., Hong, J., Lee, L, Loewenstein, G., & Young, J. (2008). If i'm not hot, are you hot or not? Physical-attractiveness evaluations and dating preferences as a function of one's own attractiveness. Psychological Science, 19(7), 669-677. doi: 10.1111/j. 1467-9280.2008.02141
Aron, A., Gee, J., & Lewandowski, G. (2007). Personality goes a long way: The malleability of opposite-sex physical attractiveness. Personal Relationships, 14(4), 571-585.doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2007.00172
References Aufiero, B. (n.d.). How has dating changed from the past? Retrieved January 27, 2010 from Ehow: http://www.ehow.com/about_4604945_how-has-dating-changed-past.html
bagunholee. (2009, August 11). Dating in the dark season 1 episode 4 part 1 of 4………. 08/10/2009 [Video]. Retrieved January 26, 2010 from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KthbtSmYYQk
Cape, A. (n.d.). Do you prefer a woman’s face or body? Retrieved January 27, 2010 from Askmen.com: http://www.darwindating.com/
Chenoholic88. (2008, November 26). 2003 Live Links Commercial with Evangeline Lilly [Video]. Retrieved January 26, 2010, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lsCPhJrAlc
References collegehumor. (2009, July 6). 2003 Live collegehumor originals / Realistic hollywood sex-scene [Video]. Retrieved February 3, 2010, from YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=evDAi77IDhY
Darwin dating. (2008). The online dating website for beautiful singles – Darwin dating. Retrieved January 27, 2010 from Darwin dating: http://www.darwindating.com/
Elias, L., Saucier, D., Tavris, C., & Wade, C. (2007). Psychology (2nded.). Toronto: Pearson Canada.
Fox Broadcasting Company (2010). More to love. Retrieved February 3, 2010 from FOX Broadcasting Company: http://www.fox.com/moretolove/
References Gale, Elaine., & SerewiczMorr Mary Claire. (2008). First-Date Scripts: Gender Roles, Context, and Relationship. Sex Roles, 58, 149-164. doi:10.1007/s11199-007- 9283-4
Hot or not (n.d.). Meet and date women or men, rate sindles at hot or not Retrieved January 27, 2010 from Hot or not: http://video.about.com/dating/Create-a-Dating-Profile.htm
Houran, J., & Lange, R. (2004). Expectations of finding a 'soul mate' with online dating. North American Journal of Psychology, 6(2), 297-308. Retrieved from: http://0web.ebscohost.com.library.capilanou.ca:80/ehost/detail? vid=1&hid=7&sid=9cb0991037db4378a9e574782e30f624%40sessionmgr10&bdata=JmxvZ2lucGFnZT1Mb2dpbi5hc3Amc2l0ZT1laG9zdC1saXZl#db=psyh&AN=2004-16784-011.
References Lavooy, M., Mottarella, K., & Scott, V. (2006). Does virtual intimacy exist? A brief exploration into reported levels of intimacy in online relationships. CyberPsychology& Behavior, 9(6), 759-761. doi:10.1089/cpb.2006.9.759 Montoya R. Matthew. (2008). I’m hot, so I’d say your Not: The influence of objective physical attractiveness on mate selection. Personality and social psychology bulletin, 34, 1315-1332. doi:10.1177/0146167208320387 Morris, T., & Stevens, S. (2007). College dating and social anxiety: Using the internet as a means of connecting to others. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(5), 680- 688.doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.9970.
References Peter, J., & Valkenburg, P. (2007). Who visits online dating sites? Exploring some characteristics of online daters. CyberPsychology & Behavior, 10(6),849852.doi:10.1089/cpb.2007.9941
Schmitt, D. (2002). A meta-analysis of sex differences in romantic attraction: Do rating contexts moderate tactic effectiveness judgments?. British Journal of Social Psychology, 41(3), 387-402. doi:10.1348/014466602760344278 Silverman, S. M. (2005, November 3). Tyra banks models fat suit for show. Retrieved January 27, 2010 from People.com: http://www.people.com/people/article/0,,1125542,00.html
Stewart, J. E. (n.d.). Creating an eye-catching online dating profile [Video].Retrieved January 27, 2010 from About.com: http://video.about.com/dating/Create-a-Dating-Profile.htm