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Laws of Attraction

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H. Colleen Sinclair

on 16 November 2017

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Transcript of Laws of Attraction

Laws of Attraction
Where relationships begin
The Basic "Laws"
We like those like us
What Determines Attractiveness
In an early study by Festinger, friendships in an apartment complex were charted. People in close physical and functional proximity were most likely to form friendships.
We like those near us
Many friendships in grade school are determined in part by seating charts
The Eye of the Beholder?
More than you realized...
It starts early
But I thought...
Absence makes the heart grow fonder
Out of sight, out of mind?
Long distance relationship challenges:
Idealization not necessarily a plus
Lack of interactions - key component of "Interdependence"
Sharing self-growth
Mate guarding
An exception?
Matching Hypothesis
Social Matching
And eventually...
Psychological Similarity
Similarity-Matching Effect
aka Immunocomplementarity
Sweaty t-shirt study --> Pheromone parties
Berscheid, 1971
& Assortative Mating
Neoteny: From the cradle
Universal stereotype: "What is beautiful is good"
Starts young
Evident across cultures
People tend to be poor predictors of what they will find attractive
Ovulating or not --> hot or not
And better able to judge "hotness" of others
Dancers who weren't on the pill made about $70 an hour during peak fertility, versus about $35 while menstruating and $50 in between. Women who took birth control averaged about $37 an hour with no performance peak.
Even though everyone desires the most attractive, who we end up with is moderated by attainability.
Ultimately we end up learning our value on the dating marketplace and matching on attractiveness.
Attitudinal Similarity (Byrne, 1971) vs. Attitudinal Dissimilarity (Rosenbaum, 1986)
Gender role orientation (Ickes & Barnes, 1978)
Feeling thirsty?
Feeling Hungry?
Feeling "Aroused?"
Situational Determinism
Misattribution of Arousal
The process whereby people make mistaken inferences about what is causing them to feel the way they do (Schacter & Singer, 1962)
Add the propensity to transfer arousal from one event to another (“Excitation transfer” – Zillman, 1979)
Coupled with the preference to attribute arousal to positive instead of negative causes…
64% (suspension bridge) vs. 30% (low bridge)
Men going into a restaurant perceived fuller-figure women as more attractive, while men coming out of a restaurant preferred thinner women (Nelson & Morrison, 2005)
In an experimental replication, Swami & Tovee (2006) found 30 hungry male participants preferred figures with a higher body weight and rated as more attractive heavier figures than 31 satiated male participants
Resource Scarcity Theory
Do the girls get prettier at closing time?
Pennebaker et al. (1979) interviewed the patrons of bars at different times during the evening and asked them to rate the attractiveness of same sex and opposite sex people in the bar at the time.
Feingold (1990) conducted a meta-analysis of studies wherein participants report what features they look for choosing a romantic partner/mate. In this analysis, there was a moderate gender difference that men were more likely to say that they choose a mate base on physical attractiveness, where women were more likely to say earning potential and expressiveness.
That's what they SAID...
Not necessarily what they do...
And even on self-reports...
When you look at behavioral studies (e.g. Walster, 1966) there is often no difference between men and women in their behaviors, both desire the most attractive partner they can attain.
EX: A man who was 5' 8" could get as many dates as a 6' ft man, provided the shorter man made $146,000 more ($277,000 if 5'2") - Hitsch et al., 2006
In fact there is evidence that women are even MORE selective than men in general
When you ask people to differentiate between features they look for in a romantic versus sexual partner, attractiveness is a high priority for both in sexual relationships, but not romantic ones (Kendrick et al., 1990).
Name similarity (Pelham et al., 2002)
The Similarity-Matching effect becomes the Matching-Similarity effect
Mutual friends (e.g., social network overlap; Parks, 2007)
More than meets the eye
Have I seen them a lot?
Did they touch me?
Did my friend say they were hot?
Are they in
The Power of the Picky
However new speed-dating evidence shows that alleged gender differences in "choosiness" is a function of the social norms of the situation.
In the standard “men rotating” events, the researchers replicated previous findings (not to mention prevailing stereotypes) that women were pickier about who they liked relative to men.
Importantly, in the non-standard “women rotating” events where men and women reversed roles, the researcher found the exact opposite pattern: men were picky whereas women were less selective.
Finkel & Eastwick, 2009
New Theory
Are you in a group?
Did I just see you be nice to someone?
males-compete/females-choose (MCFC)
model applies to many species but is misleading when applied to human beings.
This is because males in our species commonly contribute to the rearing of the young, which reduces the sex difference in parental investment.
Consequently, sex differences in our species are relatively modest.
Rather than males competing and females choosing, humans have a system of mutual courtship:
Both sexes are choosy about long-term mates, and both sexes compete for desirable mates.
We call this the
mutual mate choice (MMC) model.
Stewart-Williams & Thomas, 2013
How long have I known them?
Exposure becomes the "norm"
"Women regularly exposed to men of heavier body weight reported a greater attraction toward overweight men..."
Robinson & Christensen, 2015
Bearded men, attractive or no?
(see also: Mere Exposure Effect)
Familiarity via Intimacy-Building
(e.g., Aron's Fast friends paradigm)
Social Network Homophily
Sexual Racism
"Six degrees of separation?"
Or less
Even on the internet
Physical attractiveness in a partner is equally important for men and women when you ask people to self-report a feature they look for in a _______ (instead of a_________).

A. Short-term partner; Long-term partner
B. Romantic relationship; Casual Fling
C. Neither, physical attractiveness always more important for women choosing men
D. None of the above, physical attractiveness always more important for men choosing women
Which of the following is true about

a) We are more compatible with dissimilar
b) We are more compatible with similar others
c) Women are better able to sense it during
their period
d) Men are better able to sense it that women
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