Attraction and love

Report
What are things people do to
attract others?
History of relationships research
Early “computer dating” studies
 People say physical attractiveness isn’t
that important, but studies show it’s a
major factor in attraction.

Predictors of attraction (target)
Physical attractiveness (similar across
cultures)
 Females: large lips, high cheekbones,
big eyes, small nose
 Men: strong jaw, big eyes, large smile
 Facial symmetry

“Averaged” faces are more
symmetrical
http://www.faceresearch.org/demos/aver
age
 Similarity to early “hard to get”
research—we like those that are hard
for others to get, but easy for us to get!

And it doesn’t just matter for
romantic relationships
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Physically attractive children are punished
less
Physically attractive defendants get lighter
sentences
Plain people make 5-10% less than
average-looking people, who make about
4% less than very physically attractive
people (controlling for gender, education,
occupation, etc.)
Strong consensus across cultures
Why?
What is beautiful is good
stereotype

Physically attractive seen as more

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


Sociable
Happy
Friendly
Sexually warm
Well-adjusted
Extraverted
Popular
Mature
Likeable
Poised
In US/Canada, also strong, assertive,
and dominant
 In S. Korea, also sensitive, honest,
empathic, trustworthy, generous

Other factors that increase
attraction
Waist-to-hip ratio of .7 for women, .1 for
men
 Similarity
 Familiarity (mere exposure and
propinquity)
 Misattribution of arousal
 Scent and fertility

Fertility effects on women
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Women prefer the smell of symmetrical
and genetically dissimilar men when they
are ovulating (and similar men otherwise)
Women dress more fashionably
They buy sexier clothing
They make more money if they use
attractiveness to make money
They are attracted to more masculine men
(e.g., strong jaw, deep voice, tall)
They flirt more
Fertility effects on men

When a man’s partner is ovulating, he is
 More attentive
 More jealous
 Sees other men as more of a threat
American humor?

http://www.scienceofrelationships.com/h
ome/2012/12/1/t-rex-did-not-evolve-forromance.html
Evolutionary arguments for these
effects
Parental investment model
 For women, good genes and status
should be important in a man
 For men, good genes, age, and fertility
cues (e.g., waist-to-hip ratio) should be
important
 Cultural/situational effects as well (in
most cultures men have more resources
and are the “approachers” in
relationships

Come back to list

Which of these are supported by
research?
Jealousy effects
Imagine your partner having sex with
someone else.
 Imagine your partner sharing his/her
deepest secrets with someone else.


Which would bother you more?
Men—more sexual jealousy
 Women—more emotional jealousy
 But:

 Does one imply the other?
 Are men just more affected by thinking about
sex?
 Or are men just more avoidant?
 Hard to test in the real world
What is love?
What does your group think?
 Cultural and time differences in our
conceptions of romantic love
 Love (for North Americans at least) is
like chocolate or cocaine: it activates the
dopamine-rich pleasure centers of the
brain

Passionate vs. companionate
love
Passionate: intense longing with
arousal. I would feel deep despair if X
left me. My thoughts are often on X. I
would rather be with X than anyone
else. X always seems to be on my mind.
 Companionate love: intimacy and
affection. I have confidence in the
stability of my relationship with X. I am
committed to X. I expect my love for X to
last the rest of my life.

Secure
I find it relatively easy to get close to
others an am comfortable depending on
them and having them depend on me. I
don’t often worry about being
abandoned or about someone getting
too close.
Avoidant

I am somewhat uncomfortable being
close to others. I feel it difficult to trust
them completely, difficult to allow myself
to depend on them. I am nervous when
anyone gets close and often romantic
partners want me to be more intimate
than I feel comfortable being.
Anxious

I fin that others are reluctant to get as
close as I would like. I often worry that
my partner doesn’t really love me or
won’t stay with me. I want to merge
completely with another person, and this
desire sometimes scares people away.
Attachment theory (Bowlby,
Hazen & Shaver)

Our experiences with parents and later
partners can affect how we view
relationships
Avoidance: Amount of trust in other
people; High avoidance believes that
others can’t be counted on, less likely to
believe in romantic love, etc.
 Anxious: Fear that others will reject
them
 Attachment styles can change
 Affect how we act in relationships, not
necessarily whether we stay together

Predictors of relationship
success

Make a list
Investment Model (Rusbult)

Commitment (whether you stay in a
relationship) is predicted by
 Satisfaction
○ Rewards – costs
○ What you expect in a relationship
 Alternatives
 Investments
Investment model
Predicts 50-90% of commitment in
relationships of all types (dating,
marriage, domestic abuse, homosexual,
jobs)
 Predicts willingness to accommodate
 Predicts when people will derogate
alternatives

How to have a good relationship
Surprise as important (Berscheid, 1983)
 Novel, exciting activities (Aron)
 Positive attributions
 Assume they love you and make them
feel loved (Murray)
 Remember the positive
 Think you’re better than other couples
 Be accurate but positive (Fletcher)
 Others from the readings

Breakups
Who falls in love first?
 Who says it first?
 Who does hearing it make happiest?
 Who falls out of love faster?
 Who initiates more breaksups?
 Who is more interested in staying
friends?

Gottman research
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1oB6z
NcLIH0
 4 horsemen of the apocalypse

 Contempt
 Stonewalling
 Defensiveness
 Criticism

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTAKtDB8fY
How interconnected are we?

Six degrees of Kevin Bacon
It also only takes about 6-7 steps to get to
another person in the same country by mail
 Or to anyone among the millions of people
on the internet (email study and Microsoft
messenger project)

So can the internet help you find
love?
By 2005, 37% of single people who
used the internet used it to date online
(higher today)
 By 2007-2009, more relationships began
online than any other method other than
meeting through friends

Does it make for better
relationships?

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Not necessarily. No evidence that match
algorithms actually help
Emailing for too long before meeting can
be bad for the relationship—you can’t find
out some important things online
When people have more choices, they tend
to make worse decisions
People are often deceptive (height, weight,
age)
Pictures are often misleading (32% in one
study, though they didn’t realize it)
More deceptive ads
Use fewer “I” and “me”
 Use more negative phrases (e.g., “not
judgmental” instead of “open-minded”)
 Use fewer words overall

Speed dating

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4hO
KtyQMZeE
Friends with benefits

http://www.scienceofrelationships.com/h
ome/2012/3/2/are-you-a-booty-call-or-afriend-with-benefits.html

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