Topics: Physical attractiveness, Physical Appearance, Waist-hip ratio Pages: 7 (846 words) Published: February 3, 2013
Social 1 Biology and Social Cognition - Attraction
Chapter 14, Passer Dr Jason Bohan

Are we social animals? Who’s attractive? Can evolutionary theory explain dating behaviour?

The need to affiliate
 

Defining attraction

 

Affiliation – the need to form social relationships Fear of interaction and evaluation can lead to social anxiety Failure to form friendships can lead to loneliness Extreme social isolation can be harmful: Admiral Byrd and “wintering over” in the Antarctic Hospitalism (Spitz 1945)  Feral children – Genie (Curtiss, 1977)  

Attraction is the “power that makes one person feel positively about another” (Hogg and Vaughan 1998)

Basis of friendship and sexual partners

Is physical appearance important?

Why is appearance so important?
Attractiveness and positive personality traits cluster This is termed the “halo effect” Attractive people are:  

The importance of physical appearance in animals:

Long-tailed Wydah (Andersson 1982)
 

The importance of physical appearance in humans:Newborns prefer to look at attractive faces (Slater et al 1998)  At 6 month can categorise faces as attractive (Ramsey et al 2004)  Studies show that physical attraction is the most important factor in selecting a date (Walster et all 1966; Green et al 1984; Sergios & Cody 1985) 

More likely to be judged as happy and successful
(Dion et al 1972)

More lenient sentences (Sigall & Ostrove 1975) Likely to receive higher grades (Landy and Sigall 1974)  US films (Smith et al 1999)

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What is attractive?
Cross-cultural research suggests that “average” faces are more attractive (Langlois et al 2000)
 

What is beautiful/handsome?

Desirable attributes: 

symmetry clear skin, shiny hair & no visible deformities

Exaggerated ‘key’ gender facial features due to testosterone (males) and oestrogen (females) Female – big eyes, full lips, small chin Male – strong chin, large jaw, prominent brows  (stimuli taken from Johnston et al 2001)  

Non-verbal cues to attraction

Non-verbal cues to attraction

Males prefer “cuteness”
(Cunningham, 1985)

Males prefer “cuteness”
(Cunningham, 1985)

Oestrogen levels may affect facial attractiveness (Law Smith, 2005)

Oestrogen levels may affect facial attractiveness (Law Smith, 2005)

Red is the colour of love
(Kayser, Elliot, & Feltman 2010)

Red is the colour of love
(Kayser, Elliot, & Feltman 2010)

Non-verbal cues to attraction

Body shape and attraction

Hormonal markers & health, fitness and fertility cues

  

Female preference changes (Johnston et. al.,

WHR – circumference of the waist divided by the hip. Female ratio 0.67 – 0.8 Male ratio 0.85 – 0.95 0.7 is rated as most attractive in women Fertility cues in: supply of fat, wide pelvis, higher oestrogen levels High WHR = low fertility  Low WHR = high fertility (Singh 1993)  

Does reproductive relevance matter?
(Rule, Rosen, Slepian, & Ambady, 2011)

Symmetry (Thornhill and
Gangestad 1994;1999)

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Evolutionary psychologists argue
Non-verbal cues influencing attractiveness  Face and body shape indicate health and fertility  Female fertility influences perception and attraction to males who are sexually relevant and have good genes 

How does this affect mate choice?
Male and female experimenters approach opposite-sex respondents and asked …  Would you go out with me tonight?  Would you come over to my flat tonight?  Would you go to bed with me tonight?

How did they respond?

Mate choices across cultures
Do men and women want different things from a partner?  10,047 people in 37 cultures -...
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