External determinants of attraction


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External determinants of attraction

  1. 1.    Attraction: A force that draws people together. Attraction is broader than simple sexual attraction. Attraction also encompasses the feeling of liking towards friends, and having positive thoughts towards others. Two forms of interpersonal attraction are friendship and love.
  2. 2.   Attraction as an Attitude- an orientation toward or away from a person that consists of a cognitive structure of beliefs and knowledge about the person, affect felt and expressed toward him or her, and behavioral tendencies to approach or avoid that person. Balance Theories  Life is simpler and attraction is greater when people and things are in harmony  Research indicates attitude alignment as support of this theory (see page 25)
  3. 3.  Reinforcement/Rewards Theories  Classical Conditioning  Two stimuli are associated through pairing and eventually through association both stimuli elicit the same response  Operant Conditioning  Attraction is based on rewards and punishments  Exchange Theory
  4. 4.  The Power of Proximity    Extensions of the Repeated Exposure Effect Applying Knowledge about the effects of proximity Observable Characteristics
  5. 5.  Proximity—in attraction research, the physical closeness between two individuals with respect to where they live, where they sit in a classroom, where they work, and so on  Smaller physical distances are related to an increased likelihood that two people will come into repeated contact and exposure to each other, feel positive affect, and develop mutual attraction.
  6. 6.  Repeated exposure is the key  Repeated exposure (sometimes called the mere exposure effect)—Zajonc’s (1968) finding that frequent contact with any mildly negative, neutral, or positive stimulus results in an increasingly positive evaluation of that stimulus  Repeated exposure without harmful effects increases familiarity, reduces uncertainty, and increases liking
  7. 7.  The repeated exposure effect is stronger when people are not aware that the exposure has occurred.  Positive affect elicited by repeated exposure to subliminal stimuli generalizes to other, similar stimuli  People high in the need for structure may be more responsive to repeated exposure effects.  The repeated exposure effect does not happen when people’s initial reaction to a stimulus is very negative.  In this case, familiarity can result in more dislike.
  8. 8.  It is possible to learn from research findings on proximity and apply them to one’s surroundings and the choices made within them.  Architects have used this research to design offices and neighborhoods to promote social interaction.
  9. 9.  Observable Characteristics: Instant Evaluations  First impressions can arouse strong affect and may overcome the effects of proximity.  Indicates the influences of past experiences, stereotypes, and attributions that do not apply to a particular person, but yet are used in the evaluation of him or her  Physical attractiveness: Judging books by their covers  Physical attractiveness—combination of characteristics that are evaluated as beautiful or handsome at the positive extreme and as unattractive at the negative extreme  Found to be an important factor in interpersonal attraction
  10. 10.  Physical appearance determines many social outcomes.  People hold stereotypes based on people’s appearance.  Most believe that attractiveness in both men and women is associated with being interesting, sociable, exciting, welladjusted, and successful.  Most assume that “what is beautiful is good”  Positive stereotypes are universally related to attractiveness.  However, the content of the stereotypes may differ according to which traits a culture values.  Most of the common appearance stereotypes are inaccurate.  However, attractiveness is associated with popularity, good interpersonal skills, and high self-esteem, which probably result from how attractive people are treated by others.
  11. 11.  Exceptions to the positive stereotypes regarding attractive people  Beautiful women may be perceived as vain and materialistic  Only attractive male (not female) political candidates are more likely to be elected  People can be wrong about others’ perceptions of how they look.  Appearance Anxiety—apprehension or worry about whether one’s physical appearance is adequate and about the possible negative reactions of other people  Can lead to anger and dissatisfaction with oneself
  12. 12.  Judgments of one’s own attractiveness may not be similar to others’ judgments, but two people usually agree when they are asked to rate a third person.  Greatest agreement occurs when men are judging how attractive a women is.  However, it is not easy to ascertain the precise factors that determine attractiveness ratings.  Two different procedures are used to determine the facial features that are associated with attractiveness.  Identifying attractive individuals and discovering what characteristics they share  Creating a composite image of combined faces
  13. 13.  Perceptions of attractiveness also are affected by the situation.  Due to the contrast effect, what someone has been looking at (e.g., pictures of attractive people) prior to rating the attractiveness of a stranger influences the rating given.  Research in bars has found that people appear more attractive to potential partners as closing time approaches.  Other aspects of appearance and behavior that influence attraction  Neatness and color of one’s clothing, observable disabilities, actions that suggest mental illness, perceived age, eyeglasses, and men’s facial hair
  14. 14.  Men’s height is perceived to be related to qualities such as leadership and masculinity.  People tend to elect the tallest (and most attractive) candidate who is running for president.  A person’s physique is related to stereotypes that affect attraction despite no relationship between it and personality.  Excess fat is the least favored physique  Obesity is stigmatized and it can be associated with someone who is physically near a person who is obese.  This occurs despite the fact that stereotypes associated with weight do not result in accurate predictions about an individual’s behavior.
  15. 15.  Observable differences in behavior influence attraction.  A youthful walking style, a firm handshake, animated behavior, active participation in discussions, and modesty are associated with positive responses from others.  Men who act in a dominant, authoritative, and competitive manner in initial encounters are liked better than those who appear submissive, noncompetitive, and less masculine.  After subsequent interactions, men who are pro-social and sensitive are preferred.  People who eat healthy food are judged as more likeable and morally superior compared to those who eat “junk food.”  A person’s first name also plays a role in interpersonal attraction.
  16. 16.  What are your thoughts? How do internet dating and chat rooms correspond with data on the effects of physical proximity on attraction?  What are the origins of stereotypes regarding people who are considered physically attractive?  What are the problems with electing political candidates based on superficial qualities such as their height and attractiveness? 
  17. 17.  This research was conducted on the heels of physical attractiveness research and it proposed that in a more realistic situation, individuals would be more likely to select a date more like themselves.  When the possibility of rejection was included in the scenario, test subjects tended to select potential dates more similar to them  The older a test subject was the more likely they were to select dates by a different standard.
  18. 18.  According to the Oedipus complex, the mother becomes the first love object for the male child.    These feelings are eventually suppressed By adolescence, when the male is free to fall in love, he selects a mate that possesses the qualities of his mother. According to the Electra complex, the father becomes the first love object for the female child.   These feelings are eventually suppressed Eventually, the female adolescent seeks a mate with the qualities of her father.
  19. 19.    Physical attraction is the key factor determining romantic attraction. Physical attraction includes such attributes as facial structure, tallness, figure, breasts, etc. Beauty   Some aspects of beauty appear to be cross-cultural. Both British and Japanese men consider women with large eyes, high cheekbones, and narrow jaws to be most attractive.
  20. 20.  Breasts There is a stereotype in our society that men prefer larger breasts. In essence, the bigger the better.  While there is some support for this, one study found that people seem to have an exaggerated idea of the sizes the other gender actually prefers.   Weight This tends to be a cultural phenomena. While some cultures value “plumpness”, there is great pressure in our society to be slender.  In today’s society, most college aged men believe that their build is close to what women are seeking, while women feel that they (women) are heavier than what men find attractive.  In studies…men actually prefer women to be heavier than women expect, and women expect men to be somewhat thinner than men assume. 
  21. 21.    Women place greater emphasis than men on traits like vocational status, earning potential, expressiveness, kindness, consideration, dependability and fondness for children. Men give more consideration to youth, physical attractiveness, cooking ability and frugality. Cross-cultural studies have discovered similar attitudes.
  22. 22. Propinquity Filter Attraction Filter Homogamy/Endogamy Filter Compatibility Filter Trial Filter Decision Filter
  23. 23.  Elaine Walster and associates  This finding was true for both the male and female subjects.  The blind date was a short one-time shot and researchers did acknowledge that other factors may become more important if there were more time to get acquainted.
  24. 24.    Attractive people tend to be treated more positively by their peers. We judge attractive people as popular, intelligent, mentally healthy and fulfilled. We expect attractive people to be persuasive and hold prestigious jobs. We even expect them to be good parents and have stable marriages.
  25. 25.   Matching Hypothesis: The view that people generally seek to develop relationships with people who are similar to themselves in attractiveness and other attributes, such as attitudes. Researchers have found that people who are dating steadily, engaged or married tend to be matched in physical attractiveness. Young married couples even tend to be matched in weight.
  26. 26.   Similarity in attitudes and tastes is a key contributor to initial attraction, friendships, and love relationships. However, women appear to place a greater emphasis than men do on attitude similarity as a determinant of attraction. Men seem to value attitude similarity in terms of sexuality rather than religious attitudes whereas women find religious attitudinal similarity to be more important.
  27. 27.    We tend to develop relationships with individuals in close proximity to us. This makes sense as we are more likely to interact with individuals in closer proximity. People who live closer together also tend to have similar attitudes. Reciprocity: The tendency to return feelings and attitudes that are expressed about us.
  28. 28.     Sexual Orientation: The directionality of one’s romantic or erotic interests—that is, whether one is sexually attracted to, and interested in forming romantic relationships with, people of the other or the same gender. Heterosexual: Referring to people who are sexually aroused by, and interested in forming romantic relationships with, people of the other gender. Homosexual: Referring to people who are sexually aroused by, and interested in forming romantic relationships with, people of the same gender. Bisexual: A person who is sexually aroused by, and interested in forming romantic relationships with, people of either gender.
  29. 29.      Psychodynamic: Unresolved oedipal or electra complexes lead to identification with the opposite gender parent. Learning theory: Early reinforcement of sexual behavior can influence one’s sexual orientation. Genetic factors: Researchers have found evidence for possible genetic factors. Sex Hormones: Sex hormones may play a role in sexual orientation via both activating and organizing effects. Ultimately, sexual orientation may be explained by a combination of factors (genetic, hormonal and environmental).