Factors affecting attraction: physical attractiveness

  • Factors affecting attraction: Physical attractiveness:
  • AO1:
  • The importance of physical attractiveness:
  • Shackleford and Larsen found that people with symmetrical faces are rated as more attractive. It is thought that this is a signalnof genetic fitness that cannot be faked (which makes it an 'honest' signal). The associated 'robust' genes are likely to be passed on and therefore symmetry is perpetuated. Explanations based on physical attractiveness are evolutionary ones - we have evolve a liking for attributes that signal high quality. 
  • Neoteneous (baby face) features are thought to trigger protective and caring instincts, related to the formation of attachment in infancy. This is also an evolutionary explanation because features that strengthen attachment are adaptive. 
  • Attractiveness is important after the formation stage of a relationship. For example, McNulty et al found that initial attractiveness continued to be an important feature of the relationship after marriage. 
  • We hold percieved ideas about the attributes of attractive people. We believe that all their other attributes are overwhelmingly positive. For example, Dion et al found that physically attractive people are consistently rated as kind, strong, sociable and successful comapred with unattractive people. 
  • Matching hypothesis (Walster et al):
  • The hypothesis states that we choose partners that are of the same level of attractiveness to ourselves. To do this we need to assess our own value to a potential partner. For example, if we judge ourselves as

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