social 9

  • Created by: bukunmi
  • Created on: 16-05-18 10:04

Physical Attractiveness

  • What is perceived as attractive differs among cultures.
  • When a person is liked more, this person is seen as more physically attractive.


  •  Aesthetic pleasure 
  • Stereotype of attractive people is that they are warm, friendly, and social.
  • biological basis - damaged genes or diseas can cause asymmetry (symmetry is thought to be a sign of health)
  • Experiential basis  We like what we see most of, and we see those we like as being more attractive than those we dislike.

Self-fulfilling - when people act differently around attractive people because of their expectations, which as a result brings out the best in attractive people. 

  • (syneder) had men see pics of women they were going to have a phone call with (attractive or less) - raters observed the phone call. more attractive pic, the more they laughed at their jokes,men were more friendly. differences in the women behaviour were in the same direction as the male percievers initial stereptyped impressions before the phone call = sociable, poised, humerous and socially adept vs awkward, serious and socially inept
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Gender Differences in physical attractiveness impo

Gender Differences:

  • Long term rels:  men attach more importance to physical attractiveness


  • evolutionary differences in parental investment: investment for men is small, men can maximize their reproduction. They look for beautiful women because this is an indicator of women being young (so more fertile) and healthy. For women the investment is bigger, so they search for a supporting male, and thus seek for indicators of men’s resources, such as dominance, status
    • Support - The evolutionary perspective is supported by evidence showing that Women prefer both the scent of symmetrical men and masculine male faces more during the fertile phases
  • in most cultures women have fewer resources themselves, and therefore seek a partner with resources
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What else leads to attraction

Similarity attracts:

  • Signals familiarity
  • Contributes to mastery (we tend to interact with similar others. The interaction also tends to be positive when people are similar)
  • Validates Connectedness (similar others like us. Being liked by someone is a strong reason to like this person back)

Interactions: even when we are together by sheer chance and do not initially share characteristics, we like people more if we interact with them frequently Why? Mastery (rewarding interactions meets our personal needs to we like this partner), connectedness (especially through mimicry), Familiarity (leads to increased liking and perceived familiarity

proximity (Festinger)- disproportionally likely to have friends who are your room mate or on the same floor

Similarity encourages interaction, and when people interact they discover similarities. Interaction also creates liking, and liking encourages interaction. Finally, we like similar others, we think those we like are similar, and we assume similar people will like us

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Developments of rels from exchange to communal

exchange relationships: at the start of a rel partners exchange rewards

communal relationships: turns into this when benefits are given because of caring rather that to gain reward

Self-disclosure: sharing facts, inner thoughts, feelings, and emotions about one’s life and situation

  • Depth = level of intamacy, Breadth = range of topics (both increase as the rel develops)
  • Effects: signals trust, knowing someone's abilities, preferences, and needs leads to easier coordination of mutual activities and more understanding
  • Neg effects: when people disclose more than is appropriate, makes others feel uncomfortable
  • gender difference:  women disclose more than men, especially in a same-sex relationship, men disclosure = effort to deepen rel, womens = feeling about the rel
  • Cultural differences: dividualistic cultures tend to self-disclose more than those from collectivist cultures. The greater individual mobility found in individualistic cultures contributes to the increased level of self-disclosures
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Close Rels: Cognitive and behavioral interdependen

Close Relationship: connection involving strong and frequent interdependence in many different areas of life

Interdependence: partner’s thoughts, emotions, and behaviors influence the other’s

  • Cognitive - partners think of themselves as linked parts of a whole = strongly tied to feelings of intimacy and relationship stability
    • Through self-disclosure and interaction partner becomes part of self-concept
    • Partner attributions biased a self-serving way- positive behaviors are inflated in significance and attributed to inner qualities, whereas negative behaviors are minimized and attributed to situational causes
  • Behavioral -  great influence on each other’s decisions, activities, and plans = linked to duration of rel
    •  material rewards are exchanged in cas relationships, love and emotional support are exchanged in close rels
    • aron et al- resource allocation - some conditions there is a note that says how much you shared
    • when other person is best friend you give similarly to yourself and them; stranger condition - big difference in allocation (slighlty smaller for known role)
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Close Rels: Affective interdependence

Affective: ach partner’s emotional well-being is deeply affected by what the other does

  • intamacy: through acceptance of self disclosure they feel understood and valued 
  • Linked to pos emos of warmth, connectedness 
  • Bowlby Evo basis: innate system binds people emotionally to specific others by leading them to feel good when having contact with those specific others, and to feel anxious or distressed when apart
  • Heath: Social support increases physical health and psychological well-being because it offers opportunities for self-disclosure, companionship, and enjoyable interactions
  • cancer: people with cancer who participated in support groups had more effective immune systems and lived longer than people with cancer not in social support 

Commitment: intention and desire to maintain a relationship for the long term= leads feeling comfortable relying on each other for intimacy, advice, and support

  • satisfaction - eval of reward vs. alterantive
  • see rewards as unique 
  • psychological and/or financial barriers -  feelings of embarrassment, loss of investments of time, energy and self-disclosures, and financial, emotional, and legal difficulties
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Attachment styles and bonds

  • Secure - positive about the self and others, and are most likely to feel trust and happiness in close relationships
  • Dismissing - positive views of the self, but negative views of others; they are low in expressiveness and intimacy - give/seek less support
  • Preoccupied - feel negative about themselves, but positive about others. They are high in emotional expressiveness and show the most reliance on others
  • fearful - think negatively about themselves and about others - give and seek less support

Matching style = better rel

Relationships in cultural perspective: independent cultures places an emphasis on voluntary “Western” relationships but Gupta and Singh found that love grows in arranged marriages, while it decreases in voluntary marriages

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Passionate love

Passionate love: exual feelings, intense longing for the partner, and euphoric feelings of fulfillment and ecstasy. commitment, intimacy, trust, and attachment are relatively less involved. According to Berscheid, the source of the arousal that underlies and strengthens passion is mostly sexual desire

  • Gender differences: men-  fall in love more quickly, women = women tend to fall out of love more easily
  • Cultural differences: some cultures see passion as desirable and natural, while others view it with suspicion or even negatively
  • What effects levels of passion? as intamacy/commitment increase over time, passion decreases. Arousal from external sources e.g. excersice/alcohol intensify feelings
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Mate Preferences

Short Term: men and women rate physical attractiveness highly

Long term: personality traits are rated as one of the most important factors in partner choice

Online dating: couples stay together longer

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Satisfaction with sex - gender differences: Men tend to be sexually dissatisfied when sexual activity is not as frequent and as varied, women are dissatisfied when there is a lack of warmth, love, and care (difference lowers with age) 

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Threats to relationships

meeting needs: illness, disability, or personal change reduce a partner’s willingness or ability to meet the other person’s need = fewer rewards from the rel = satisfaction and commitment decrease

Conflict: External factors, such as job or family responsibilities, or social norms, such as women being the housekeeper and men being the breadwinner, can easily create conflict. envy arising from performance comparison = conflict especially when it is a contengency of self worth  

Reasons for breaking up (gender): desires for autonomy, or a lack of psychological support. women mention more often a lack of openness and intimacy, and men mention the absence of romance or passion. 

Threat: jealousy when a real or imagined rival appears = anxious/depressed or angry due to loss of self-esteem

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Violence and spousal abuse

Violence and spousal abuse

Women sometimes remain in abusive relationships because of the quality of their alternatives, and their investment in their relationship

Effects on kids - Severe conflicts in families lead to psychological problems for the children during the conflict itself. After parents are separated, they generally turn out to be fine.

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effects of rejection:

  • for rejected lover --> +(hope positive memories) or -(disappointment, loss of self esteem) 
  • for rejector --> +(increased self esteem) -(guilt, irritation, anger)
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Patterns of accommodation: constructive

Patterns of accommodation: responding to neg action from partner

  • Constructive - acting in ways that help to maintain the relationship, such as actively discussing problems, loyally waiting for the situation to improve, and forgiving the partner.more likely to be constructive when couples have secure attachment styles and are committed to the relationship

Resources for constructive accommodation

  • Attachment style - Preoccupied or fearfully attached individuals behave in a less constructive way, and have outbursts of negative emotions. Dismissive men behave in distant and nonsupportive ways
  • Commitment - Commitment leads to more motivation for people to overlook their partners’ flaws, to communicate their needs, to change their own behaviors
  • Idealisation of partner - helps people to deal with conflict; having favorable beliefs about the partner is related to less overt conflict and using fewer destructive way
  • Beliefs about rels - Belief in Growth (occasional conflicts can be overcome with any partner. These people tend to have a relationship for a longer period of time) or Destiny (a particular partner is either inherently compatible or not. Initial satisfaction influences whether the relationship will last for a long period of time or end very quickly
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Patterns of accommodation: Destructive

  • Destructive -  screaming, refusing to spend time with the partner, and endangering the relationship
    • Problematic types of communication used in conflict are: (1) criticism that characterizes the person as a whole; (2) contempt; (3) defensiveness; and (4) stonewalling (refusing to answer)
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Effects of conflict on intimacy and commitment:

Effects of conflict on intimacy and commitment: 

  • partners are less intimate which is an important reward = dissatisfaction 
  • dissatisfaction = see others as attractive
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End of the rel

The fact that women tend to experience more distress in a conflict may explain why women terminate relationships more often than men do

  • Each ex-partner blames the other for the decline in the relationship
  • People adjust the best after a break-up when attributing the divorce to the relationship itself, rather than to themselves or to external factors
  • Break-ups mostly occur because of rising dissatisfaction and frustration from the relationship and not because of falling out of love

Death: The death of a spouse is the most stressful major life event, causing serious threats to mental and physical health.

Loneliness: Loneliness is an emotion arising from unmet needs for affection and self-validation from a psychologically intimate relationship. When feeling lonely, people experience distress, desperation, boredom, and depression = effective reaction = meeting new people, ineffective = drinking, drugs, dwelling on bad qualities

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secret affairs

secret affairs - 

  • theory of ironic mental control - the secret becomes more accessibly 
  • 2 competing processes 
  • - automatic search (what do you have to do to keep the secret)
  • - Effortful supress/replace (have to supress failures)
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