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This is a€?Initial Attractiona€?, section 8.1 from the book Social Psychology Principles (v. This content was accessible as of December 29, 2012, and it was downloaded then by Andy Schmitz in an effort to preserve the availability of this book. PDF copies of this book were generated using Prince, a great tool for making PDFs out of HTML and CSS. For more information on the source of this book, or why it is available for free, please see the project's home page. DonorsChoose.org helps people like you help teachers fund their classroom projects, from art supplies to books to calculators. Outline the variables that lead us to perceive someone as physically attractive, and explain why physical attractiveness is so important in liking.
When we say that we like or love someone, we are experiencing interpersonal attractionThe strength of our liking or loving for another person.a€”the strength of our liking or loving for another person.
Perhaps this finding doesna€™t surprise you too much, given the importance of physical attractiveness in our culture. Leslie Zebrowitz and her colleagues have extensively studied the tendency for both men and women to prefer facial features that have youthful characteristics (Zebrowitz, 1996).Zebrowitz, L. The preference for youth is found in our perceptions of both men and women but is somewhat stronger for our perceptions of women (Wade, 2000).Wade, T.
Although the preferences for youth, symmetry, and averageness appear to be universal, at least some differences in perceived attractiveness are due to social factors. The differences between the preferences of men and women for opposite-sex romantic partners have been demonstrated in archival research that has analyzed the ads placed in the classifieds of U.S. Age also matters, such that the preference for youthful partners is more important for men than for women.
But gender differences in mate preferences may also be accounted for in terms of social norms and expectations. You might find yourself wondering why people find physical attractiveness so important when it seems to say so little about what the person is really like as a person. We may also like attractive people because they are seen as, and in fact may actually be, better friends and partners.
As with many stereotypes, there may be some truth to the physical attractiveness stereotype.
Although it is a very important variable, finding someone physically attractive is of course only the first stage in developing a close relationship with another person. Relationships are more likely to develop and be maintained to the extent that the partners share values and beliefs.
In addition to being easier, relationships with those who are similar to us are also reinforcing. We all naturally want to have friends and form relationships with people who have high status.
There is still one other type of similarity that is important in determining whether a relationship will grow and continue, and it is also based on the principles of social exchange and equity.
Relationships in which one person likes the other much more than the other likes him or her are inherently unstable because they are not balanced or equitable. There is a clear moral to the importance of liking similarity, and it pays to remember it in everyday life.
If I were to ask you who you might end up marrying (assuming you are not married already), I would guess that youa€™d respond with a list of the preferred personality traits or an image of your desired mate.
Although meeting someone is an essential first step, simply being around another person also increases liking. Mere exposureThe tendency to prefer stimuli (including, but not limited to, people) that we have seen frequently.
Richard Moreland and Scott Beach had female confederates visit a class 5, 10, or 15 times or not at all over the course of a semester. The effect of mere exposure is powerful and occurs in a wide variety of situations (Bornstein, 1989).Bornstein, R.
It should be kept in mind that mere exposure only applies to the change that occurs when one is completely unfamiliar with another person (or object) and subsequently becomes more familiar with him or her. Because our relationships with others are based in large part on emotional responses, it will come as no surprise to you to hear that affect is particularly important in interpersonal relationships.
Moods are particularly important and informative when they are created by the person we are interacting with. Although the relationship between mood and liking is very simple, the relationship between our current state of physiological arousal and liking is more complex.
Confirming that the experimental manipulation had created high and low levels of arousal, White and his colleagues found that the heart rate and other signs of physiological arousal were higher for the participants who had exercised longer.
Arousal caused by the height of this bridge was misattributed as attraction by the men who were interviewed by an attractive woman as they crossed the bridge. The strong feelings that we experience toward another person that are accompanied by increases in arousal and sexual attraction are called passion, and the emotionally intense love that is based on passion is known as passionate loveThe kind of love that we experience when we are first getting to know a romantic partner.a€”the kind of love that we experience when we are first getting to know a romantic partner. Particularly in initial encounters, people are strongly influenced by the physical attractiveness of the other person. We prefer people who are young, who have symmetrical facial features and bodies, and who appear average.
Although men and women agree on many aspects of what they find attractive, women are relatively more focused on the social status of their romantic partners, whereas men are more focused on the youth and attractiveness of their partners. We tend to like people who share our values and beliefs, both because similarity makes things easier and because similarity reinforces our own values and beliefs. Proximity and the principle of mere exposure are two important determinants of interpersonal attraction.
Describe a time when you saw or knew a couple in which one person was much more attractive than the other. The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
Her adopted father worked for a chemical corporation and they moved around a lota€¦ New Jersey, then Rhode Islanda€¦ When Diana was 15, she left her foster family.
Exhibiting her independence early, she joined a Baptist choir when she was 11 because their songs were more interesting. While she was still playing music during her school years, after graduation, she became a serious painter.
After college, still in her early 20's, during a post graduation stay in England, Diana got badly hurt in a car accident.
When she was feeling better, she went to the library and got all the American music she could find -- Elvis Presley, the blues, some kind of history of American music and then she taped it. In 1996 she went to Ireland for a month with a friend who was a great musician and who knew many people there. She recorded her first album Imagine Me in 1996 and in 1998, her second The One That Got Away.
The best chance in the NY area to see Diana in the immediate future is when she opens for Alejandro Escovedo at The Outpost in the Burbs on April 13th. Diana's mother had moved to New York when she was 17, then went to airline school in Hartford, Conn.
See the license for more details, but that basically means you can share this book as long as you credit the author (but see below), don't make money from it, and do make it available to everyone else under the same terms. However, the publisher has asked for the customary Creative Commons attribution to the original publisher, authors, title, and book URI to be removed. Although interpersonal attraction occurs between friends, family members, and other people in general, and although our analysis can apply to these relationships as well, our primary focus in this chapter will be on romantic attractiona€”for instance, between boys and girls, between men and women, and between people in same-sex relationships. Movies and TV shows feature attractive people, TV ads use attractive people to promote their products, and we spend millions of dollars each year to make ourselves look more attractive. People are more attracted to faces that are more symmetrical in comparison with those that are less symmetrical.
What is seen as attractive in one culture may not be seen as attractive in another, and what is attractive in a culture at one time may not be attractive at another time. The preference for women with slender, masculine, and athletic looks has become stronger over the past 50 years in Western cultures, and this can be seen by comparing the figures of female movie stars from the 1940s and 1950s with those of today.
The answer is yes, although as in most cases with gender differences, the differences are outweighed by overall similarities. Women have been found to be more likely to respond to personal ads placed by relatively older men, whereas men tend to respond to ads placed by younger womena€”men of all ages (even teenagers) are most attracted to women who are in their 20s.
Overall, women have lower status than men, and as a result, they may find it important to attempt to raise their status by marrying men who have more of it.
If beauty is really only a€?skin deep,a€? as the proverb goes, why are we so concerned with it? We like being around attractive people because they are enjoyable to look at and because being with them makes us feel good about ourselves.
The physical attractiveness stereotypeThe tendency to perceive attractive people as having positive characteristics, such as sociability and competence. Research has found that people tend to like and associate with others who share their age, education, race, religion, level of intelligence, and socioeconomic status. The finding is rather simplea€”we tend to prefer people who seem to like us about as much as we like them. An unfortunate example of such an imbalanced relationship occurs when one individual continually attempts to contact and pursue a relationship with another person who is not interested in one.
If we act toward others in a positive way, this expresses liking and respect for them, and the others will likely return the compliment. Youa€™d probably say something about being attractive, rich, creative, fun, caring, and so forth.
There are about 7 billion people in the world, and you are only going to have the opportunity to meet a tiny fraction of those people before you marry.
People tend to become better acquainted with, and more fond of, each other when the social situation brings them into repeated contact.


When we find someone attractive, for instance, we experience positive affect, and we end up liking the person even more.
Consider an experiment by Gregory White and his colleagues (White, Fishbein, & Rutsein, 1981)White, G. They did not find that the arousal created by running in place for 2 minutes increased or decreased liking directly, but they did find an interaction between arousal level and the attractiveness of the woman being judged. In this experiment, male college students rated an attractive or an unattractive woman after they had run in place for 15 seconds (low arousal) or for 120 seconds (high arousal). Both very attractive and very unattractive people are likely to be more arousing than are people who are more average in attractiveness, and this arousal may create strong feelings of like or dislike. Again, there is a clear take-home for you: If you like a person and think that the person likes you in return, and if you want to get that person to like you more, then it will be helpful to create some extra arousal in that person, perhaps by going to a scary movie, doing in-line skating, or even meeting for a workout at the gym.
Do you think this was an exception to the rule of status similarity, or was there a reason for it? Although she listened to James Taylor and such on the radio and liked it, she felt more drawn to the more rootsy sounds of performers like Cash and Harris. At 16-17 years old, she attended support groups for adopted persons and other people who were searching and met some birth mothers and found it to be an amazing experience. She came back after four weeks of being steeped in Celtic music She says that over the years, at times she's had to paint a portrait or paint a room in somebody's house, but other than that it's been all music. That tour has ended, but hopefully, they'll reprise this partnership so we can see more of this masterful pairing. Although sheA  listened to James Taylor and such on the radio and liked it, she felt more drawn to the more rootsy sounds of performers like Cash and Harris. You may also download a PDF copy of this book (40 MB) or just this chapter (4 MB), suitable for printing or most e-readers, or a .zip file containing this book's HTML files (for use in a web browser offline).
The personal ads that men place when they are searching for women tend to focus on the preferred physical appearance of the desired partner. Men who, on average, already have higher status may be less concerned in this regard, allowing them to focus relatively more on physical attractiveness.
And if we are lucky, that person will also find us attractive and be interested in the possibility of developing a closer relationship. You can imagine that if you only liked to go to action movies but your girlfriend or boyfriend only liked to go to foreign films, this would create difficulties in choosing an evening activity. But our ability to attract such high-status partners is limited by the principles of social exchange. Imagine, for instance, that you have met someone and you are hoping to pursue a relationship with them. It is difficult for the suitor to give up the pursuit because he or she feels passionately in love with the other, and his or her self-esteem will be hurt if the other person is rejecting. Being liked, praised, and even flattered by others is rewarding, and (unless it is too blatant and thus ingratiating) we can expect that others will enjoy it. This also means that you are likely to marry someone whoa€™s pretty similar to you because, unless you travel widely, most of the people you meet are going to share your cultural background and therefore have some of the values that you hold.
Later, when we are more familiar with someone, that person may become too familiar and thus boring.
We tend to like people more when we are in good moods and to like them less when we are in bad moods.
However, mood that is created by causes other than the other person can also influence liking.
As you can see in the following figure, the men who had been aroused by running in place liked the attractive woman more and the unattractive woman less than the men who were less aroused. In other cases, the arousal may come from another source, such as from exercising, walking across a high bridge, or a roller-coaster ride. On the other hand, you need to be sure that the other person is initially positively inclined toward you. Our all organic blend includes refreshing Fennel, Fenugreek and Anise, three herbs that have been traditionally used by herbalists to help promote lactation. When she was 6, a nun in her Catholic school came into her class and picked her out to sing in the 12-year-old chorus. She found later, when she discovered her birth family, that her grandfather had been a picker and singer. A place called Cades Cove, a settlement that got bought out by the government in the 30's during the whole WPA thing. During the festival, they'd drive out after the mainstage acts had played, get there at midnight, play at the campfires until 4am, then drive home. They recently went in to the studio and will self release that special project later this month both online and at shows. Evolutionary theory and self-perception: Sex differences in body esteem predictors of self-perceived physical and sexual attractiveness and self-esteem. Female judgment of male attractiveness and desirability for relationships: Role of waist-to-hip ratio and financial status. At this point, we will begin to communicate, sharing our values, beliefs, and interests, and begin to determine whether we are compatible in a way that leads to increased liking. Things would be even more problematic if the dissimilarity involved something even more important, such as your attitudes toward the relationship itself. It is no accident that attractive people are more able to get dates with other attractive people, or that men with more money can attract more attractive women. You begin to give yourself to the relationship by opening up to the other person, telling him or her about yourself and making it clear that you would like to pursue a closer relationship.
But social psychologists realize that there are other aspects that are perhaps even more important. You may have experienced this effect when you first bought some new songs and began to listen to them. This prediction follows directly from the expectation that affective states provide us with information about the social contexta€”in this case, the people around us. We then add Chamomile, for its sweet, apple-like fragrance and aromatic, soothing Lavender Flower-herbs traditionally used to support relaxation as well as to help soothe the minor stomach upset that sometimes accompanies nursing. After the near death experience, she wanted to do something, that if she died tomorrow, she would've wanted to have accomplished in her lifetime.
The material, with its old-timey feel, was so honest and authentic, it put one in mind of Gillian Welch and David Rawlings or Dave Carter and Tracy Grammer. Attractiveness, attraction, and sexual selection: Evolutionary perspectives on the form and function of physical attractiveness. Perhaps you want to have sex but your partner doesna€™t, or perhaps your partner wants to get married but you dona€™t. One of the great benefits of sharing beliefs and values with others is that those others tend to react the same way to events as you do. You make yourself available to spend time with the person and contact him or her regularly. Perhaps you didna€™t really like all the songs at first, but you found yourself liking them more and more as you played them more often. Positive affect signals that it is safe and desirable to approach the other person, whereas negative affect is more likely to indicate danger and to suggest avoidance. She spent weeks alone in a cabin in the woods writing the material, something she had never done before. This is because for men, although we do prefer youthful faces, we also prefer masculine facesa€”those with low, broad jaws and with pronounced bone ridges and cheekbonesa€”and these men tend to look somewhat older (Rhodes, 2006).Rhodes, G.
Wouldna€™t it be painful if every time you liked a movie, your best friend hated it, and every time she liked it, you hated it? You naturally expect the same type of behaviors in return, and if the partner does not return the openness and giving, the relationship is not going to go very far. The evaluative connotation of processing fluency: Inherently positive or moderated by motivational context? Others who got early exposure that way included Dolly Parton, The Everly Brothers and Jim Nabors (TV's Gomer Pyle).
Betty Jean Lifton, a well-known adoption counselor and author, helped lead Diana to her family. Leta€™s make a deal: An analysis of revelations and stipulation in lonely hearts advertisements. The influence of body weight and shape in determining female and male physical attractiveness.
Romantic relationships in which the partners hold different religious and political orientations or different attitudes toward important issues such as premarital sex, marriage, and child rearing are of course not impossiblea€”but they are more complicated and take more effort to maintain. But you probably dona€™t need to worry too much about this, because your friend is probably your friend in good part because she likes the same things you like. But perhaps one day you discovered that you were really tired of the songsa€”they had become too familiar.
When he had finished, she wrote her name and phone number on a piece of paper and invited him to call if he wanted to hear more about the project.
She also met two women there who, as she found out later, were from the same town that her family had settled in.
Odds are that if you like the movie, your friend will too, and because she does, you can feel good about yourself and about your opinions of what makes a good movie.
You put the songs away for a while, only bringing them out later, when you found that liked them more again (they were now less familiar). In one part of the study, the men were asked to run in place for either a short time (15 seconds) or a longer time (120 seconds).
And when I met him, he made such sense to me, because he had been the person I had been missing in some way. Sharing our values with others and having others share their values with us help us validate the worthiness of our self-concepts.
New York, NY: Guilford Press Such situations are not uncommon and require that the individual who is being pursued make it completely clear that he or she is not interested in any further contact.


People prefer things that have an optimal level of familiaritya€”neither too strange nor too well-known (Bornstein, 1989).Bornstein, R. Then the men viewed a videotape of either an attractive or an unattractive woman who was supposedly a sophomore at the college. In contrast, men who were approached on a low solid bridge by the same experimenter or who were interviewed on the suspension bridge by men called the woman significantly less frequently. Down to her last options, she says that she had a dream on a Monday night that she was in a post office and that a woman in the dream told her that her mother was from Tennessee. Walster and her colleagues found that the only important determinant of participantsa€™ liking for their date was his or her physical attractiveness.
We may like baby-faced people because they remind us of babies, or perhaps because we respond to baby-faced people positively, they may act more positively to us. The relationship between shape symmetry and perceived skin condition in male facial attractiveness. In the video, she talked about her hobbies and career interests and indicated that she was interested in meeting people and did not have a boyfriend. One interpretation of this finding is that the men who were interviewed on the bridge were experiencing arousal as a result of being on the bridge but that they misattributed their arousal as liking the interviewer. This effect is not unexpected because the function of arousal in emotion is to increase the strength of an emotional response. She followed that up and by the following Thursday, she was talking to her birth mother on the phone. He always said, 'This family has never met a stranger.' People just lit up around him, because he made them feel so good about themselves.
I was born in June and my birthstone is pearl, so my grandmother had a pearl necklace for me and a rose.
None of the other characteristicsa€”even the perceived intelligence of the partnera€”mattered. Universal sex differences in online advertisers age preferences: Comparing data from 14 cultures and 2 religious groups.
At the end of the term, the students were shown pictures of the confederates and asked to indicate if they recognized them and also how much they liked them. The role of affect in the mere exposure effect: Evidence from psychophysiological and individual differences approaches. They had participants unexpectedly find a coin in a phone booth, played them some soothing music, or provided them a snack of milk and cookies at an experimental session. The men, who thought that they would soon be meeting the woman, rated how romantically attracted they were to her. Love that is accompanied by arousal (sexual or otherwise) is stronger love than love that has a lower level of arousal. These features include large, round, and widely spaced eyes, a small nose and chin, prominent cheekbones, and a large forehead. The number of times the confederates had attended class didna€™t influence the other studentsa€™ recognition of them, but it did influence their liking for them.
In each of these cases, the participants who had been provided with the pleasant experience indicated more positive mood in comparison with other participants who had not received the positive experiencea€”and they also expressed more liking for other things and other people. And our feelings of anger, dislike, or disgust are also stronger when they are accompanied by high arousal. Zebrowitz has found that individuals who have youthful-looking faces are more liked, are judged as warmer and more honest, and also receive other positive outcomes.
What is beautiful is good, buta€¦: A meta-analytic review of research on the physical attractiveness stereotype. Because people expect attractive others to be friendly and warm, and because they want to be around them, they treat attractive people more positively than they do unattractive people. Physical-attractiveness evaluations and dating preferences as a function of onea€™s own attractiveness. As predicted by the mere-exposure hypothesis, students who had attended more often were liked more. When the stimuli are people, there may well be an added effecta€”familiar people are more likely to be seen as part of the ingroup rather than the outgroup, and this may lead us to like them even more. The moral of the story is cleara€”if you want to get someone to like you, put them in a good mood. Furthermore, it is pretty easy to do soa€”simply bringing flowers, looking your best, or telling a funny joke might well be enough to be effective. This was in February, but Thanksgiving was their biggest holiday of the year, my grandfather's favorite, so they threw Thanksgiving for me and invited the entire extended family. If your instructor asked the students in your class to rate each other on their attractiveness, there would be general agreement among them on which students are most and least attractive. Mind at ease puts a smile on the face: Psychophysiological evidence that processing facilitation elicits positive affect. The researchers found that the more faces that were averaged into the stimulus, the more attractive it was judged (see Figure 8.2 "Facial Averageness").
One outcome of the physical attractiveness stereotype is that attractive people receive many social benefits from others. They found not only that people became friends with those who lived near them but that people who lived nearer the mailboxes and at the foot of the stairway in the building (where they were more likely to come into contact with others) were able to make more friends than those who lived at the ends of the corridors in the building and thus had fewer social encounters with others. This also is expected on the basis of mere exposure, since people see their own faces primarily in mirrors and thus are exposed to the reversed face more often.
She made some demos, little records that weren't big releases, but it was great experience. This agreement is in part due to shared norms within cultures about what is attractive, but it is also due to evolutionary predispositions to attend to and be influenced by specific characteristics of others.
For men, however, the physical attractiveness of women is most important; women, although also interested in the attractiveness of men, are relatively more interested in the social status of a potential partner.
Multiple mediators of the attitude similarity-attraction relationship: Dominance of inferred attraction and subtlety of affect.
Personality and mate selection in personal ads: Evolutionary preferences in a public mate selection process. Beyond waist-hip ratio: Experimental multivariate evidence that average womena€™s torsos are most attractive. The impact of litigantsa€™ baby-facedness and attractiveness on adjudications in small claims courts. These differences may be due to differential evolutionary-based predispositions of men and women.
It seems surprising to us when one partner appears much more attractive than the other, and we may well assume that the less attractive partner is offering some type of (perhaps less visible) social status in return. These findings seem to be due to universal preferences of men and women, because similar patterns have been found across cultures, and even in ads seeking same-sex partners (Buss, 1989).Buss, D. The effects of physical attractiveness on job-related outcomes: A meta-analysis of experimental studies. Bright, bad, baby-faced boys: Appearance stereotypes do not always yield self-fulfilling prophecy effects. These features may also have evolutionary significancea€”people with these characteristics probably appear to be healthy.
We are all of course aware of the physical attractiveness stereotype and make use of it when we can. However, as with most stereotypes, our expectations about the different characteristics of attractive and unattractive individuals are much stronger than the real differences between them. We try to look our best on dates, at job interviews, and (not necessary, we hope!) for court appearances. Perceived physical attactiveness, sexual history, and sexual intentions: An internet study. The men whose attitudes were similar during the first week ended up being friends, whereas those who did not initially share attitudes were significantly less likely to become friends. Facial attractiveness, applicantsa€™ qualifications, and judgesa€™ expertise about decisions in preselective recruitment. Because they do not need to invest a lot of time in child rearing, men may be evolutionarily predisposed to be more willing and desiring of having sex with many different partners and may be less selective in their choice of mates.
Women on the other hand, because they must invest substantial effort in raising each child, should be more selective.
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