Paul W Eastwick

Paul W Eastwick
University of Texas at Austin | UT · Department of Human Development and Family Sciences

About

86
Publications
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4,160
Citations
Additional affiliations
June 2009 - June 2012
Texas A&M University
September 2003 - June 2009
Northwestern University

Publications

Publications (86)
Article
Full-text available
We are pleased about the considerable interest in our target article and that there is overwhelming agreement with our central thesis that, if the term implicit is understood as unconscious in reference to bias, implicit bias (IB) should not be equated with bias on implicit measures (BIM). We are also grateful for the insightful commentaries, which...
Article
People have ideas about the attributes (i.e., traits or characteristics that vary along a dimension) that they like in others (e.g., "I like intelligence in a romantic partner"), and these ideas about liking are called summarized attribute preferences (Ledgerwood et al., 2018). But where do summarized preferences come from, and what do they predict...
Article
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People can behave in a biased manner without being aware that their behavior is biased, an idea commonly referred to as implicit bias. Research on implicit bias has been heavily influenced by implicit measures, in that implicit bias is often equated with bias on implicit measures. Drawing on a definition of implicit bias as an unconscious effect of...
Article
This study examined how people learn about their own summarized attribute preferences: their overall evaluative summaries of an attribute (e.g., one's liking for “sweetness” or “crispness”). Participants tasted and evaluated 14 juices varying on (a) an unknown attribute “Barinium” (low‐complexity condition), or (b) both Barinium and a second, unrel...
Article
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There are massive literatures on initial attraction and established relationships. But few studies capture early relationship development: the interstitial period in which people experience rising and falling romantic interest for partners who could—but often do not—become sexual or dating partners. In this study, 208 single participants reported o...
Article
There are two unresolved puzzles in the literature examining how people evaluate mates (i.e., prospective or current romantic/sexual partners). First, compatibility is theoretically crucial, but attempts to explain why certain perceivers are compatible with certain targets have revealed small effects. Second, features of partners (e.g., personality...
Article
The COVID-19 pandemic has extensively changed the state of psychological science from what research questions psychologists can ask to which methodologies psychologists can use to investigate them. In this article, we offer a perspective on how to optimize new research in the pandemic’s wake. Because this pandemic is inherently a social phenomenon—...
Article
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The science behind implicit bias tests (e.g., Implicit Association Test) has become the target of increased criticism. However, policy-makers seeking to combat discrimination care about reducing bias in people's actual behaviors, not about changing a person's score on an implicit bias test. In line with this argument, we postulate that scientific c...
Article
Laypersons and scholars often presume that people positively evaluate partners who match their ideal partner preferences: If Faye prefers kindness in a partner and Sonia prefers ambition, Faye should be especially attracted to kind partners and Sonia should be especially attracted to ambitious ones. However, to date, most published tests of this id...
Article
Given the powerful implications of relationship quality for health and well-being, a central mission of relationship science is explaining why some romantic relationships thrive more than others. This large-scale project used machine learning (i.e., Random Forests) to 1) quantify the extent to which relationship quality is predictable and 2) identi...
Article
Given the powerful implications of relationship quality for health and well-being, a central mission of relationship science is explaining why some romantic relationships thrive more than others. This large-scale project used machine learning (i.e., Random Forests) to 1) quantify the extent to which relationship quality is predictable and 2) identi...
Article
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We leverage the notion that abstraction enables prediction to generate novel insights and hypotheses for the literatures on attitudes and mate preferences. We suggest that ideas about liking (e.g., evaluations of categories or overall traits) are more abstract than experiences of liking (e.g., evaluations of particular exemplars), and that ideas ab...
Article
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Moral vitalism refers to a tendency to view good and evil as actual forces that can influence people and events. The Moral Vitalism Scale had been designed to assess moral vitalism in a brief survey form. Previous studies established the reliability and validity of the scale in US-American and Australian samples. In this study, the cross-cultural c...
Article
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Incremental validity testing (i.e., testing whether a focal predictor is associated with an outcome above and beyond a covariate) is common (e.g., 57% of Personal Relationships articles in 2017), yet it is fraught with conceptual and statistical problems. First, researchers often use it to overemphasize the novelty or counterintuitiveness of findin...
Article
Pathogens represent a significant threat to human health leading to the emergence of strategies designed to help manage their negative impact. We examined how spiritual beliefs developed to explain and predict the devastating effects of pathogens and spread of infectious disease. Analysis of existing data in studies 1 and 2 suggests that moral vita...
Article
In many literatures, scholars study summarized attribute preferences: overall evaluative summaries of an attribute (e.g., a person's liking for the attribute “attractive” in a mate). But we know little about how people form these ideas about their likes and dislikes in the first place, in part because of a dearth of paradigms that enable researcher...
Article
This research examined how people’s ideal friend preferences influence the friendship formation process. In an extension of prior research on romantic relationship initiation, we tested whether the match between participants’ ideals and a partner’s traits affected participants’ interest in forming a new friendship in three contexts: evaluating a po...
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This article introduces a metatheoretical framework—the Relationship Trajectories Framework—that conceptualizes how human mating relationships develop across their complete time span, from the moment two people meet until the relationship ends. The framework depicts relationships as arc-shaped evaluative trajectories that vary on five dimensions: s...
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Relationship quality is a construct that is central to theories of relationships and one that is used widely by psychologists. However, all prior assessments of relationship quality have derived from samples living in industrialized nation states. Here, the authors expand the breadth of this cultural variation to examine the means, reliability, and...
Article
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Evaluation is central to human experience, and multiple literatures have studied it. This article pulls from research on attitudes, human and nonhuman mating preferences, consumer behavior, and beyond to build a more comprehensive framework for studying evaluation. First, we distinguish between evaluations of objects (persons, places, things) and e...
Article
Many psychological hypotheses require testing whether the similarity between two variables predicts important outcomes. For example, the ideal standards model posits that the match between (A) a participant’s ideal partner preferences, and (B) the traits of a current/potential partner, predicts (C) evaluative outcomes (e.g., the decision to date so...
Article
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A large, controversial literature has examined the hypothesis that the attractiveness of potential partners predicts romantic desire more strongly for men than for women. Nevertheless, prior studies demonstrating this sex difference in photograph-evaluation contexts have used extremely small samples of stimuli, which is as detrimental to statistica...
Article
This article reports on an adversarial (but friendly) collaboration examining the issues that lie at the intersection of confidentiality and open-data practices. We describe the process we followed to share our data for a speed-dating article we recently published in Psychological Science (Joel, Eastwick, & Finkel, 2017) and provide a summary of th...
Article
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Relationship quality has far-reaching consequences for health and well-being. To date, large-scale efforts to improve relationship quality have targeted established relationships. However, a novel approach would be to target relationships much earlier. Investment-based programs would intervene (on a voluntary basis) before partners become strongly...
Article
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Matchmaking companies and theoretical perspectives on close relationships suggest that initial attraction is, to some extent, a product of two people’s self-reported traits and preferences. We used machine learning to test how well such measures predict people’s overall tendencies to romantically desire other people (actor variance) and to be desir...
Article
Finkel, Eastwick, and Reis (2015; FER2015) argued that psychological science is better served by responding to apprehensions about replicability rates with contextualized solutions than with one-sizefits- all solutions. Here, we extend FER2015's analysis to suggest that much of the discussion of best research practices since 2011 has focused on a s...
Preprint
Close relationships theoretical perspectives and matchmaking companies suggest that initial attraction is, to some extent, a product of two people’s self-reported traits and preferences. We used machine learning to test how well such measures predict people’s overall tendencies to romantically desire others (actor variance) and to be desired by oth...
Article
Relationship science is a theory-rich discipline, but there have been no attempts to articulate the broader themes or principles that cut across the theories themselves. We have sought to fill that void by reviewing the psychological literature on close relationships, particularly romantic relationships, to extract its core principles. This review...
Article
Theoretical perspectives on mating differentially emphasize whether (and why) romantic partner selection and maintenance processes derive from stable features of individuals (e.g., mate value, mate preferences, relationship aptitude) and their environments (e.g., social homogamy) rather than adventitious, dyad-specific, or unpredictable factors. Th...
Article
The ability to differentiate in-group from out-group members on the basis of symbolic cues may be unique to Homo sapiens. The current research examined whether meaningful cues of in-group status moderate ovulatory shifts—a psychological adaptation that likely evolved earlier in humans’ evolutionary timeline. Four studies demonstrated that men were...
Article
We investigated how power dynamics in close relationships influence the tendency to devote resources to the pursuit of goals valued by relationship partners, hypothesizing that low (vs. high) power in relationships would lead individuals to center their individual goal pursuit around the goals of their partners. We study 2 related phenomena: partne...
Article
Romantic relationships are a central focus of scientific inquiry within two psychological literatures—those on close relationships and evolutionary psychology—yet attempts to bridge these topics have been surprisingly rare. Recently, several lines of research have begun drawing from the methodological and theoretical traditions of each literature t...
Article
We investigated how power dynamics in close relationships influence the tendency to devote resources to the pursuit of goals valued by relationship partners, hypothesizing that low (vs. high) power in relationships would lead individuals to center their individual goal pursuit around the goals of their partners. We study 2 related phenomena: partne...
Article
Across two field studies of romantic attraction, we demonstrate that postural expansiveness makes humans more romantically appealing. In a field study (n= 144 speed-dates), we coded nonverbal behaviors associated with liking, love, and dominance. Postural expansiveness-expanding the body in physical space-was most predictive of attraction, with eac...
Article
Relationship researchers and evolutionary psychologists have been studying human mating for decades, but research inspired by these two perspectives often yields fundamentally different images of how people mate. Research in the relationship science tradition frequently emphasizes ways in which committed relationship partners are motivated to maint...
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Although women today excel in many areas of society, they are often underrepresented in the traditionally male-dominated fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The present research examined whether traditional romantic partner preferences-specifically, a desire to date partners who are smarter than oneself-affects women's tend...
Article
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Interpersonal attraction may be shaped by (a) one's psychological distance from a target (the subjective experience that a target is close to or far from the self) and (b) the perceived standing of a target on a trait relative to the self (as better or worse than the self). We propose that when evaluating a psychologically distant target, individua...
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Clear empirical demonstrations of the theoretical principles underlying assortative mating remain elusive. This article examines a moderator of assortative mating-how well couple members knew each other before dating-suggested by recent findings related to market-based (i.e., competition) theories. Specifically, competition is pervasive to the exte...
Article
Relative to other primates, Homo sapiens are born immature. To survive, they require intensive provisioning and nurturance across many years. One evolved mechanism for fostering such caregiving is for parents to pairbond-. to develop and sustain a deep emotional connection to each other. -. which bolsters fathers' contributions to childrearing. Suc...
Article
Asymmetric frontal cortical activity may be one key to the process linking social exclusion to jealous feelings. The current research examined the causal role of asymmetric frontal brain activity in modulating jealousy in response to social exclusion. Transcranial direct-current stimulation (tDCS) over the frontal cortex to manipulate asymmetric fr...
Article
In recent years, a robust movement has emerged within psychology to increase the evidentiary value of our science. This movement, which has analogs throughout the empirical sciences, is broad and diverse, but its primary emphasis has been on the reduction of statistical false positives. The present article addresses epistemological and pragmatic is...
Article
Adaptive workarounds are recently evolved features that function to mitigate or manage some maladaptive element of a pre-existing adaptation. This article discusses three adaptive workarounds in the human mating repertoire. First, a strong attachment bond between adult mating partners may mute or refocus older features (e.g. testosterone in men, ov...
Article
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This article began as an adversarial collaboration between two groups of researchers with competing views on a longstanding question: Does familiarity promote or undermine interpersonal attraction? As we explored our respective positions, it became clear that the limitations of our conceptualizations of the familiarity-attraction link, as well as t...
Article
The Pairing Game is a popular classroom demonstration that illustrates how people select romantic partners who approximate their own desirability. However, this game produces matching correlations that greatly exceed the correlations that characterize actual romantic pairings, perhaps because the game does not incorporate the social relations model...
Article
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This article elaborates on evolutionary perspectives relevant to the meta-analytic portion of our recent review (Eastwick, Luchies, Finkel, & Hunt, 2014). We suggested that if men and women evolved sex-differentiated ideals (i.e., mate preferences), then they should exhibit sex-differentiated desires (e.g., romantic attraction) and/or relational ou...
Article
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Classic evolutionary and social exchange perspectives suggest that some people have more mate value than others because they possess desirable traits (e.g., attractiveness, status) that are intrinsic to the individual. This article broadens mate value in 2 ways to incorporate relational perspectives. First, close relationships research suggests an...
Article
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In a longitudinal data set of married couples, Meltzer, McNulty, Jackson, and Karney (2014) reported that partner physical attractiveness is more strongly associated with relationship satisfaction for men than for women. Although a recent meta-analysis (Eastwick, Luchies, Finkel, & Hunt, in press) provided no support for this sex difference across...
Chapter
Human mate selection refers to the process by which an individual chooses a sexual partner. Historically, scholars have used this term to refer to the study of factors (e.g., traits) that make a mate desirable as a long-term romantic partner, but mate selection can also refer to the decision processes involved in brief sexual relationships. In huma...
Article
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Men succumb to sexual temptations (e.g., infidelity, mate poaching) more than women. Explanations for this effect vary; some researchers propose that men and women differ in sexual impulse strength, whereas others posit a difference in sexual self-control. These studies are the first to test such underlying mechanisms. In Study 1, participants repo...
Article
The “similarity-attraction” effect stands as one of the most well-known findings in social psychology. However, some research contends that perceived but not actual similarity influences attraction. The current study is the first to examine the effects of actual and perceived similarity simultaneously during a face-to-face initial romantic encounte...
Article
Some studies have better external validity than others, but why? Recent studies in the domain of interpersonal attraction have been tackling this question by documenting how people respond differently to hypothetical versus live interactions. In live interactions, people tend to report their experienced emotions, they evaluate others using a low‐le...
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A central element of interdependence theory is that people have standards against which they compare their current outcomes, and one ubiquitous standard in the mating domain is the preference for particular attributes in a partner (ideal partner preferences). This article reviews research on the predictive validity of ideal partner preferences and...
Article
The social psychological literature and the evolutionary literature on power suggest different routes by which power might inspire romantic desire: the former highlights the appealing actions of the powerful, whereas the latter demonstrates that people desire powerful individuals upon learning of those individuals' powerful status. We predicted tha...
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Relative to people with low trust in their romantic partner, people with high trust tend to expect that their partner will act in accordance with their interests. Consequently, we suggest, they have the luxury of remembering the past in a way that prioritizes relationship dependence over self-protection. In particular, they tend to exhibit relation...
Article
Though people report idiosyncratic desires for particular traits in an ideal romantic partner, few studies have examined whether these ideals predict important long-term relationship outcomes. The present 3.5-year longitudinal study of newlywed couples used survival analysis to investigate whether the match between participants’ ideal preferences a...
Article
Understanding the psychology of online dating can turn a frustrating experience into a fruitful mission
Article
Online dating sites frequently claim that they have fundamentally altered the dating landscape for the better. This article employs psychological science to examine (a) whether online dating is fundamentally different from conventional offline dating and (b) whether online dating promotes better romantic outcomes than conventional offline dating. T...
Article
Natural selection modified the attachment-behavioral system to bond adult mating partners in early members of the genus Homo, thus facilitating increased investment, especially paternal investment, in offspring. Previously existing adaptations that fostered intersexual conflict (e.g., ovulatory adaptations) could have threatened attachment bonds; t...
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In this reply, we address and refute each of Norton, Frost, and Ariely's (see record 2011-18560-001) specific objections to the conclusion that, ceteris paribus, familiarity breeds liking in live interaction. In particular, we reiterate the importance of studying live interaction rather than decontextualized processes. These rebuttals notwithstandi...
Article
Five studies develop and examine the predictive validity of an implicit measure of the preference for physical attractiveness in a romantic partner. Three hypotheses were generally supported. First, 2 variants of the go/no-go association task revealed that participants, on average, demonstrate an implicit preference (i.e., a positive spontaneous af...
Article
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Three studies explored how the traits that people ideally desire in a romantic partner, or ideal partner preferences, intersect with the process of romantic relationship initiation and maintenance. Two attraction experiments in the laboratory found that, when participants evaluated a potential romantic partner's written profile, they expressed more...
Article
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Does familiarity promote attraction? Prior research has generally suggested that it does, but a recent set of studies by Norton, Frost, and Ariely (2007) challenged that assumption. Instead, they found that more information about another person, when that information was randomly selected from lists of trait adjectives, using a trait evaluation par...
Article
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Previous relationship research has largely ignored the importance of similarity in how people talk with one another. Using natural language samples, we investigated whether similarity in dyads' use of function words, called language style matching (LSM), predicts outcomes for romantic relationships. In Study 1, greater LSM in transcripts of 40 spee...
Article
The present report used the comprehensive structural analysis of social behavior (SASB) observational coding scheme to examine which behaviors differentiate smooth from awkward initial romantic encounters. Participants on speed-dates rated as smooth (by independent observers) behaved more warmly and were more other-focused than participants on awkw...
Chapter
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In the present chapter, we (a) employ the principles of regulatory focus theory (Higgins, 1997) to examine the strategic motivations that might underlie these differences, and (b) review a recent series of studies investigating the interplay between regulatory focus and individuals' responses to romantic alternatives (Molden, Finkel, Johnson, & Eas...
Article
Evolutionary psychologists explore the adaptive function of traits and behaviors that characterize modern Homo sapiens. However, evolutionary psychologists have yet to incorporate the phylogenetic relationship between modern Homo sapiens and humans' hominid and pongid relatives (both living and extinct) into their theorizing. By considering the spe...
Article
Men tend to be less selective than women when evaluating and pursuing potential romantic partners. The present experiment employed speed-dating procedures to test a novel explanation for this sex difference: The mere act of physically approaching a potential romantic partner (vs. being approached), a behavior that is more characteristic of men than...
Article
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The present research examined the association of political orientation with ingroup favoritism in two live romantic contexts. In Study 1, White participants had sequential interactions with both a White and Black confederate and reported their romantic desire for each. In Study 2, both White and Black participants speed-dated multiple potential rom...
Article
In two experiments, female and male participants envisioned themselves as a married person with children who is either a homemaker or a provider. Participants who envisioned themselves as a future homemaker regarded a potential mate's provider qualities as more important and homemaker qualities as less important, compared with participants who envi...
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Online virtual worlds promise an escape from mundane everyday environments and exempt users from the normal laws of time, space, and gravity. However, the laws of social influence may not be as easily dodged. In the virtual world of There.com we tested two robust real‐world compliance tactics (foot‐in‐the‐door, door‐in‐the‐face) with avatar “race”...
Article
Is it sensible to study attachment dynamics between potential romantic partners before they share a full-fledged attachment bond? The present data indicate that such an approach may reveal novel insights about initial attraction processes. Four studies suggest that the state-like experience of attachment anxiety has functional implications within f...
Article
Scholars have recently begun to harness the immense power of speed-dating procedures to achieve important and novel insights into the dynamics of romantic attraction. Speed-dating procedures allow researchers to study romantic dynamics dyadically, with regard to potentially meaningful relationships, and with strong external validity. This article h...
Article
People evidence significant inaccuracies when predicting their response to many emotional life events. One unanswered question is whether such affective forecasting errors are due to participants’ poor estimation of their initial emotional reactions (an initial intensity bias), poor estimation of the rate at which these emotional reactions diminish...
Article
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In paradigms in which participants state their ideal romantic-partner preferences or examine vignettes and photographs, men value physical attractiveness more than women do, and women value earning prospects more than men do. Yet it remains unclear if these preferences remain sex differentiated in predicting desire for real-life potential partners...
Article
Research on initial romantic attraction flourished in the 1960s and 1970s but has now been partially eclipsed by research on close relationships. The authors argue that speed-dating procedures, in which participants attend an event where they experience brief “dates” with a series of potential romantic partners, permit researchers to “retrofit” the...