24.01.2014

The science of psychology website

At the heart of attraction is the idea that we like being with people who provide rewarding and positive interactions.
Which is more attractive: someone that has always liked you or someone who first did not find you appealing but eventually became more positive?
Most people assume that being physically attractive is a good thing, but this study shows just how good it can be. In a classic study of friendship formation, researchers asked nearly 300 MIT dormitory residents to list their closest friends. In each condition, as the men crossed the bridge, they met a female experimenter who asked the men to tell stories about a set of ambiguous pictures. Undergraduates viewed pictures of men and women representing several levels of attractiveness.5 Based on the photograph alone, they rated the more attractive people as being more kind, outgoing, modest, sensitive, sociable, and interesting. Due to spammers, your comment will not appear until it has been cleared by a website editor. The researchers altered the scales to manipulate how similar the bogus stranger was to the participant and how many attitudes appeared on the scale.


The researchers then looked at where the listed friends lived in the dorms.2 When someone lived one door away, there was a 41% likelihood they were listed as a close friend. As you would expect, participants liked the experimenter when the evaluation was completely positive, but, surprisingly, liked the experimenter even more when the evaluation was initially negative but became positive. Lewandowski's research explores the self’s role in romantic relationships focusing on attraction, relationship initiation, love, infidelity, relationship maintenance, and break-up. Moreover, I wonder if it started because of our heavy insistence on what beauty is, or if it is a natural thing to judge on looks.
As the number of doors increased, that likelihood decreased such that those living four doors away had only a 10% likelihood of being listed as a close friend. The men who met her on the high bridge told stories with more sexual content and were more likely to call her than the men who met her on the low, sturdy bridge. Participants also viewed more attractive people as having better jobs, better marriages, and better lives. Recognized as one of the Princeton Review’s Top 300 Professors, he has also authored dozens of publications for both academic and non-academic audiences.


This study laid the foundation for hundreds of subsequent studies into the importance of similarity in attraction. This study demonstrates the importance that proximity, or being physically near others, has on relationship formation. These results demonstrate our strong bias toward beauty and the stereotypical beliefs we ascribe to more attractive individuals. For example, I'm sure the woman in the picture is an world class journalist who is extremely articulate, and happy in life.



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