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Perception of Physical Attractiveness: Mechanisms Involved in the Maintenance of Romantic Relationships

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Abstract

In 2 studies, factors involved in the perception of attractiveness of opposite-sex persons were examined. Investigation 1 revealed that individuals involved in dating relationships, relative to those not involved in them, tend to perceive opposite-sex persons as less physically and sexually attractive. Investigation 2 revealed that this dating effect was not attributable to differences in physical attractiveness, self-esteem, empathy, self-monitoring, or altruism between individuals who were and those who were not involved in exclusive dating relationships. Moreover, both groups perceived young/same-sex and older/opposite-sex persons as equally attractive, suggesting that the effect is specific to young/opposite-sex persons. Results are discussed in terms of possible proximate and ultimate explanations underlying relationship maintenance processes. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)

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... Previous research has demonstrated that men who are in monogamous relationships react differently than single men to unfamiliar women, indicating that pair-bonded men may react differently to the odors of unfamiliar women. Pair-bonded men tend to rate other women as less attractive than do single men [23][24][25][26] . This tendency is called the derogation effect 27 since it was found to result from reduced ratings by pair-bonded men rather than from enhanced ratings by single men 25 . ...
... The results observed among the pair-bonded men may be explained by a strong motivation to maintain their current relationship. As a major potential threat to the stability of relationships is attractive alternatives of the opposite sex 23 , it is possible that the men perceived exposure to odors of other women's fertility as a threat to their current relationships, compelling them to react with avoidant behavior toward the threat. This mechanism is similar to that of the derogation effect discussed previously 27 , in which pair-bonded men tend to down-regulate arousal caused by threats to their relationship. ...
... In line with previous studies [23][24][25][26] , in our sample we found a significant effect of relationship status on women's attractiveness ratings. Women's beauty ratings did not differ significantly across the relationship status groups. ...
Article
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Previous studies suggest that women’s body odor is perceived as more attractive during ovulation and that exposure to women’s chemical signals of high fertility leads to increased mating motivation. Given that pair-bonded men react differently than single men to unfamiliar women, we investigated whether women’s chemical signals of fertility influence approach behavior among pair-bonded and single men. In the first experiment, men performed the Comfortable Interpersonal Distance task while exposed to body odor samples from women who were ovulating and from the same women during their luteal phase. We found that in the presence of the body odor from ovulation, pair-bonded, but not single men, maintained greater distance from different protagonists, particularly from women. In a second experiment we exposed men to women’s body odors while they rated the attractiveness and beauty of women’s faces. Although the ratings of women’s beauty did not differ across odor conditions, when the pair-bonded men were exposed to the high fertility odor they rated highly attractive women as less sexually attractive. The results suggest that exposure to fertility cues from unfamiliar women may trigger social avoidance in pair-bonded men, an outcome that may result from identifying such cues as threats to their relationship.
... Nonetheless, long-term partners face the threat of attractive alternatives that might appeal to momentary self-interests but pose obvious threats to the relationship (e.g., Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon, Fitzsimons, & Naidoo, 2003;Maner, Gailliot, & Miller, 2009;Maner, Rouby, & Gonzaga, 2008;Miller, 1997;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). Whereas for single women, an attractive male can represent the opportunity to acquire desired long-term benefits, for married women he represents a threat to the existing long-term relationship which can jeopardize the future of one's offspring. ...
... For instance, previous research has demonstrated that committed (vs. single) individuals in close romantic relationships tend to avoid opposite sex others (Lydon, Menzies-Toman, Burton, & Bell, 2008), selectively remember more negatives than positives about attractive opposite sex others (Visserman & Karremans, 2014), mention their relationship status and their partner more often when interacting with an attractive opposite sex individual (Linardatos & Lydon, 2011), and rate opposite sex individuals as less attractive-a strategy known as the derogation effect (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Karremans, Dotsch, & Corneille, 2011;Simpson et al., 1990). Research on the derogation effect has demonstrated that highly committed individuals (e.g., married people) actively derogate attractive, available individuals of the opposite sex on a variety of dimensions, such as: physical and sexual attractiveness (Lydon et al., 2003;Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Miller, Prokosch, & Maner, 2012;Ritter, Karremans, & van Schie, 2010;Simpson et al., 1990), intelligence and sense of humor (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989), and similarity of attitudes (Karremans & Verwijmeren, 2008). ...
... single) individuals in close romantic relationships tend to avoid opposite sex others (Lydon, Menzies-Toman, Burton, & Bell, 2008), selectively remember more negatives than positives about attractive opposite sex others (Visserman & Karremans, 2014), mention their relationship status and their partner more often when interacting with an attractive opposite sex individual (Linardatos & Lydon, 2011), and rate opposite sex individuals as less attractive-a strategy known as the derogation effect (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Karremans, Dotsch, & Corneille, 2011;Simpson et al., 1990). Research on the derogation effect has demonstrated that highly committed individuals (e.g., married people) actively derogate attractive, available individuals of the opposite sex on a variety of dimensions, such as: physical and sexual attractiveness (Lydon et al., 2003;Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Miller, Prokosch, & Maner, 2012;Ritter, Karremans, & van Schie, 2010;Simpson et al., 1990), intelligence and sense of humor (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989), and similarity of attitudes (Karremans & Verwijmeren, 2008). ...
Article
The present research addresses the question of how the color red affects married women's evaluations of male attractiveness. Three studies demonstrate a red-derogation effect for married women's judgments such that men are perceived to be less attractive and less sexually desirable when their profiles are displayed on a red versus a white background. We show that married (vs. single) women perceive the color red as a threat cue which, in turn, evokes avoidance tendencies. Our studies indicated that married (vs. single) women became more risk averse (Study 2) and were more likely to recall words related to relationship commitment and threat after exposure to an attractive male presented on a red (vs. white) background (Study 3). Further, we show that the red-derogation effect is moderated by the level of cognitive resources. When married women were cognitively depleted, the effect of color was mitigated. Overall the findings demonstrate that a subtle peripheral cue (e.g., red color) is sufficient to identify an attractive other as a threat, which activates a defensive strategy. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... How people can maintain a romantic relationship has been a major issue in psychology studies on human romantic love. One potentially critical process contributing to stable romantic relationships is the "derogation effect" (Johnson and Rusbult 1989;Simpson et al. 1990), in which romantically involved individuals tend to exhibit a greater devaluation of alternative partners than single individuals. A key factor of the derogation effect has shown to be successful executive control, which enables romantically involved individuals to resist the immediate temptation of engaging in extra-pair relationships with attractive alternatives (Ritter et al. 2010;Pronk et al. 2011;Pronk and Righetti 2015). ...
... In the present study, we examined participants' responses to hypothetical situations. Although similar procedures are frequently used to measure the degree of the derogation effect (e.g., Johnson and Rusbult 1989;Ritter et al. 2010;Meyer et al. 2011), some studies have demonstrated disparate findings from data of actual behaviors (e.g., Simpson et al. 1990). Simpson et al. (1990) proposed that the threat of attractive alternatives could be low in hypothetical situations because the alternatives are neither available nor accessible to the participants. ...
... Although similar procedures are frequently used to measure the degree of the derogation effect (e.g., Johnson and Rusbult 1989;Ritter et al. 2010;Meyer et al. 2011), some studies have demonstrated disparate findings from data of actual behaviors (e.g., Simpson et al. 1990). Simpson et al. (1990) proposed that the threat of attractive alternatives could be low in hypothetical situations because the alternatives are neither available nor accessible to the participants. For this reason, we might have failed to observe the effects of the manipulation of the degree of temptation. ...
Article
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Individuals in the early stages of a romantic relationship generally express intense passionate love toward their partners. This observation allows us to hypothesize that the regulation of interest in extra-pair relationships by executive control, which is supported by the function of the prefrontal cortex, is less required in individuals in the early stages of a relationship than it is in those who are in a long-term relationship. To test this hypothesis, we asked male participants in romantic relationships to perform a go/no-go task during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which is a well-validated task that can measure right ventrolateral prefrontal cortex (VLPFC) activity implicated in executive control. Subsequently, the participants engaged in a date-rating task in which they rated how much they wanted to date unfamiliar females. We found that individuals with higher right VLPFC activity better regulated their interest in dates with unfamiliar females. Importantly, this relationship was found only in individuals with long-term partners, but not in those with short-term partners, indicating that the active regulation of interest in extra-pair relationships is required only in individuals in a long-term relationship. Our findings extend previous findings on executive control in the maintenance of monogamous relationships by highlighting the role of the VLPFC, which varies according to the stage of the romantic relationship.
... We posit that married targets will perceive uninvited sexual attention as potentially threatening both to their committed relationship and to their reputation (Hendrix, 2000;Miller et al., 2012), activating the avoidance system (Carver, 1996). Consequently, they will work to guard against such experiences to maintain their marital relationship (Koranyi & Rothermund, 2012;Petit & Ford, 2015;Simpson, Lerma, & Gangestad, 1990). ...
... For example, committed people exhibit the same degree of pupil dilation as single people in response to attractive opposite sex models, but report lower attractiveness ratings (Petit & Ford, 2015), suggesting that single and committed participants initially and automatically perceive the model as equally attractive, but committed participants suppress their perceptions through avoidance strategies. Scholars have also found that committed participants override their initial automatic perceptions and report lower levels of perceived attractiveness when evaluating attractive others who are not available relationship partners (Simpson et al., 1990). Strategies like selective inattention to alternative candidates (Karremans & Verwijmeren, 2008) and downplaying the positive characteristics of relationship alternatives (Miller & Maner, 2010) help to maintain an already well-functioning, long-term, committed relationship. ...
... Individuals will guard against such an anticipated negative end-state, perceiving a threatening and negative working relationship with the initiator and consequently displaying greater avoidance tendencies (Gray, 1990). This should be particularly true for women compared with men (Settles et al., 2014) and committed individuals compared with single individuals (Miller et al., 2012;Simpson et al., 1990). If the avoidance system is activated for the target, we anticipate she may be more likely to label the interaction as sexually harassing and predict filing a complaint with a supervisor (reflecting an increased attention to threat and punishment). ...
Article
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The approach–avoidance perspective provides a theoretical framework through which the dynamic nature of sexual harassment can be understood meaningfully in a workplace context. Rather than being purely threat or incentive, potentially harassing situations may contain elements of both, leading to approach and avoidance attitudes. Across two studies, we explore how three factors (relative attractiveness, gender, and relationship status) affect approach–avoidance attitudes in the target (study 1) and initiator (study 2), and how these attitudes affect (a) labeling the interaction as sexual harassment and (b) forecasts of filing a complaint. Results indicate that the three factors affect approach and avoidance attitudes for both targets and initiators, and that these attitudes mediate both the effect of labeling the interaction as sexual harassment and forecasts of filing a complaint. Implications for managers, human resources personnel, and other third parties who manage sexual harassment disputes are discussed.
... Existing research suggests two basic psychological processes may help minimize the risk of infidelity: (a) automatic attentional biases that direct attention away from attractive relationship alter-natives (e.g., Maner, Gailliot, & Miller, 2009; see also, Miller, 1997) and (b) evaluative biases that devalue the attractiveness of such alternatives (e.g., Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). In an initial investigation of attentional biases, Miller (1997) asked members of dating relationships to report how frequently they attended to alternative partners and then to view images of attractive members of the opposite sex in the laboratory. ...
... Of course, it is inevitable that people will at times need to attend to at least some attractive relationship alternatives, such as classmates, work colleagues, or members of the same social group. When committed people do attend to attractive alternatives, they appear to employ the other presumed relationship-maintenance strategy: they devalue the physical attractiveness of those alternatives (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon, Fitzsimons, & Naidoo, 2003;Lydon et al., 1999;Ritter, Karremans, & van Schie, 2010;Simpson et al., 1990). In an initial demonstration of this evaluative bias, Johnson and Rusbult (1989) asked members of dating relationships to evaluate the rewards (e.g., physical appearance) and costs of their relationship alternatives in a baseline assessment and then again seven months later. ...
... We drew from two longitudinal studies of 233 new marriages that employed standard measures of attentional disengagement from and devaluation of attractive relationship alternatives. At baseline in both studies, we assessed the extent to which intimates were able to quickly disengage their attention from attractive opposite sex targets (see Maner et al., 2009); at baseline in Study 1, we additionally assessed the extent to which intimates devalued the attractiveness of opposite sex targets relative to a sample of same-sex single people (see Simpson et al., 1990). At baseline in both studies, we assessed numerous potential predictors of each process and infidelity. ...
Article
Two longitudinal studies of 233 newlywed couples suggest that automatic attentional and evaluative biases regarding attractive relationship alternatives can help people maintain relationships by avoiding infidelity. Both studies assessed participants’ tendency to automatically disengage attention from photos of attractive, opposite sex individuals; one study assessed participants’ tendency to devalue those individuals by comparing their attractiveness evaluations to evaluations made by single people, and both studies assessed infidelity and relationship status multiple times for approximately three years. Several sources of devaluation emerged, but only participants’ history of short-term sex predicted both biases; having more short-term sexual partners was associated with being slower to disengage attention from attractive alternatives, and, among men, evaluating such individuals more positively. In turn, both processes exerted indirect effects on relationship dissolution by predicting infidelity; being 100 ms faster to disengage attention from attractive alternatives or rating them 2 scale points lower in attractiveness was associated with a decrease in the odds of infidelity of approximately 50%; the effect of devaluation on infidelity was stronger among participants who evidenced steeper declines in marital satisfaction. These associations emerged because unfaithful individuals took longer to disengage attention from attractive alternatives compared with other social targets and did not differ from singles in their evaluations of those alternatives. Among several other predictors of infidelity, partner attractiveness was associated with a decrease in the odds of infidelity among men but not women. These findings suggest a role for basic psychological processes in predicting infidelity, highlight the critical role of automatic processes in relationship functioning, and suggest novel ways to promote relationship success.
... Although trust may be one psychological mechanism for maintaining romantic relationships, other factors also come into play (Richards, Butler, & Gross, 2003). One of those factors is the extent to which the outcomes received from a relationship meet or exceed expectations based on similar relationships in the past or alternative relationships in the present (Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 2004). ...
... In part, commitment to any relationship is a function of the availability of alternative relationships (cf. Simpson et al., 2004;Rusbult & van Lange, 1996). To the extent they believe that they have a broad ''field of eligibles'' (i.e., available, alternative romantic partners), high self-monitors may feel less commitment to their current romantic partner than they would otherwise feel. ...
... In part, commitment to any relationship is a function of the attractiveness of alternative relationships (cf. Simpson et al., 2004;Rusbult & van Lange, 1996). To the extent that they know they possess the behavioral repertoire to get along with a wide variety of other individuals (Snyder & Cantor, 1980), high self-monitors may find a wide variety of potential partners as attractive alternatives to their current romantic partner. ...
... This can satisfy their affiliative needs, allow them to gain protection (Miller & Maner, 2008) and valuable resources from their partners, and enhance reproductive advantages for children through acquired social and economic benefits (Buss & Schmitt, 1993). Thus, previous studies have found that individuals in love who were committed to their relationship may have adapted psychological mechanisms that help them maintain a long-term romantic relationship by avoiding relationship threats from attractive others (e.g., Maner et al., 2008;Simpson et al., 1990). ...
... To avoid temptation from attractive alternatives, committed individuals tend to devalue the attractiveness of alternatives (e. g., Cole et al., 2016;Ritter et al., 2010;Simpson et al., 1990), recall more about their negative behaviors (Visserman & Karremans, 2014), avoid engaging in positive interactions with them (Farley, 2014;Karremans & Verwijmeren, 2008), and are inattentive to them when relationship motivation is activated in the early stage of attentional processing (e.g., Linardatos & Lydon, 2011;Ma et al., 2015Ma et al., , 2019Q. Zhang et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Studies about heterosexual individuals’ long-term relationship maintenance have indicated that committed individuals possess evolved psychological mechanisms that help protect their ongoing romantic relationships against threats from attractive others during early stage attentional processing when mating-related motivation is activated. In this study, two experiments tested the relationship maintenance mechanism among committed female college students in the Chinese cultural context under different love priming conditions. Committed Chinese women displayed inattention to attractive alternatives in positive love-scenario priming (Study 1: 114 female undergraduates, age range = 18–26 years), subliminal semantic love priming (Study 2: 110 female undergraduates, age range = 18–25 years), and baseline conditions (Studies 1 and 2). Those with high levels of chronic jealousy showed significantly increased attention to and difficulty disengaging attention from attractive rivals when subliminally primed with love. This provides further evidence, from an Eastern cultural context, for the existence of attentional biases toward attractive alternatives and rivals in early stage attentional processes for relationship maintenance. This research also illustrates the important role of romantic love in maintaining long-term romantic relationships.
... Considering that pair bonding in humans involves sexual affinity within a romantic pair that potentially leads to producing offspring, this status may affect attraction to other potential mating partners. Indeed, previous studies have demonstrated differences in the reactions of pair-bonded and single men to women they are unfamiliar with such that pair-bonded men rate unfamiliar women as less attractive than do men who are not in a committed relationship (Simpson et al. 1990;Lydon et al. 2003), a phenomenon known as the derogation effect (Karremans et al. 2011). Studies focusing on the effects of women's fertility cues have demonstrated that pair-bonded and single men react differently to odor cues of fertility sent by women. ...
... Studies have suggested (Oren and Shamay-Tsoory 2017) that such avoidant behavior may result from pair-bonded men's motivation to preserve their current romantic relationship. Attractive opposite-sex alternatives pose a significant threat to relationship stability (Simpson et al. 1990). Exposure to odor cues of fertility from unfamiliar women may thus increase threat signaling in pair-bonded men. ...
Article
Previous research has shown that men's mating motivation may increase following exposure to women's body odor during ovulation. In the current study we examined whether exposure to women's fertility odor cues influences social perception among men, while focusing on the role of men's relationship status in moderating this reaction. We collected body odor samples from 43 women during ovulation and during the luteal phase and exposed 85 men to these odor samples while they performed an emotion recognition task and an interpersonal perception task. Single men were better at recognizing emotional facial expressions following exposure to odor cues of high fertility as compared to odor cues of low fertility. No such effect was identified in pair-bonded men. In support of this finding, single men became more accurate on the interpersonal perception task following exposure to odor cues of high fertility, while pair-bonded men became less accurate after such exposure. Collectively, the results suggest that exposure to women's fertility odor cues improves social perception among single men, while it impairs such perception among pair-bonded men. We suggest that these effects may result from increased mating motivation following exposure to odor cues of fertility, which in turn encourages accurate social perception among single men while promoting an avoidant attitude toward social stimuli among pair-bonded men.
... Neuroimaging studies have revealed that engagement of the reward system, in which attractive faces are more valued, elicits romantic interest. After the formation of a long-term relationship, however, attractive alternative partners who may threaten the relationship may be devalued (Johnson and Rusbult, 1989;Simpson et al., 1990). Meyer et al. (2011) examined neural correlates of this derogation effect. ...
Article
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Romantic love is universally observed in human communities, and the manner in which a person chooses a long-term romantic partner has been a central question in studies on close relationships. Numerous empirical psychological studies have demonstrated that facial attractiveness greatly impacts initial romantic attraction. This close link was further investigated by neuroimaging studies showing that both viewing attractive faces and having romantic thoughts recruit the reward system. However, it remains unclear how our brains integrate perceived facial attractiveness into initial romantic attraction. In addition, it remains unclear how our brains shape a persistent attraction to a particular person through interactions; this persistent attraction is hypothesized to contribute to a long-term relationship. After reviewing related studies, I introduce methodologies that could help address these questions.
... Researchers have examined predictors of attraction to other partners in terms of sexual, romantic, and online infidelity (Allen et al., 2005;Martins et al., 2016;Negash, Veldorale-Brogan, Kimber, & Fincham, 2016;Thompson & O'Sullivan, 2016), the heightened attractiveness toward those in relationships versus those who are single ('the wedding ring effect'; O 'Sullivan & Vannier, 2013;Uller & Johansson, 2003), traits and relationship quality associated with mate poaching alternative partners (Belu & O'Sullivan, 2018;Foster et al., 2014;Schmitt & Buss, 2001;Schmitt & International Sexuality Description Project, 2004), as well as links between attention to others and relationship quality (Miller, 1997(Miller, , 2008. There is also a small body of research on directing one's attention away from attractive alternatives (Maner, Gailliot, & Miller, 2009;Maner, Rouby, & Gonzaga, 2008;Miller, 1997) and derogating the value of attractive others (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). ...
Article
Potential alternative partners can threaten the stability of established relationships, yet a romantic or sexual attraction to someone with whom you are not currently involved (i.e., a ‘crush’) appears common for those in relationships (Mullinax, Barnhart, Mark, & Herbenick, 2016). This study assessed prevalence of such crushes, individual and relationship predictors, and links to infidelity. Adults ( N = 247, aged 25–45, 43.3% women) in romantic relationships completed surveys assessing individual characteristics (attention to alternatives, sociosexual orientation, attachment avoidance), relationship quality (satisfaction, commitment, intimacy), and infidelity. The degree of attention to alternatives predicted whether one had a crush on another while in a romantic relationship. Crushes were fairly common and seemed to have had few negative implications for those in established relationships. These findings will be of use to therapists addressing couples’ attraction to others.
... Given the frequent temptations of extradyadic relationships people face in everyday life (Neal and Lemay 2017), one way committed individuals can stay with their current partner with unwavering conviction has to do with the way they handle the presence of appealing alternatives. For example, committed individuals are inclined to remain disinterested by paying less attention to the alternatives (Maner et al. 2008;Miller 1997), perceiving them to be less attractive (Simpson et al. 1990), processing information about the alternatives in a selective way (Gagné et al. 2008;Visserman and Karremans 2014), and avoiding engaging in positive interactions with them (Karremans and Verwijmeren 2008;Linardatos and Lydon 2011). Indeed, these conscious and nonconscious strategies appear to be effective as individuals high in relationship commitment generally report less willingness to engage in extradyadic behaviors (Mattingly et al. 2011) and fewer experiences of infidelity (Drigotas et al. 1999;Le et al. 2011). ...
Article
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Previous studies have shown that individuals who are committed to their relationship are less interested in romantic alternatives. This research examined whether the negative association between commitment and interest in alternative partners depends on the level of partner’s commitment. In Study 1, married individuals (N = 289) completed questionnaires assessing their commitment, perceptions of their partner’s commitment, and two indicators of interest in alternatives. We found that committed individuals’ tendency to remain inattentive to alternatives and to report fewer infidelity experiences was significantly weaker among individuals who perceived their partner to be low (vs. high) in commitment. In Study 2, we recruited both members of married couples (N = 156) and replicated the moderating effect of partner commitment using the partner’s self-reports. Our findings suggest that how committed the partner is, or is perceived to be, can play an important role in committed individuals’ faithfulness, highlighting the dyadic processes of relationship maintenance.
... To stay committed to current partners and avoid the negative consequences of straying, people typically enact strategies that inhibit relationship-threatening responses. For example, in contrast to their single counterparts, romantically involved individuals tend to be less attentive to potential alternative partners (e.g., Maner, Rouby, & Gonzaga, 2008), devalue their attractiveness (e.g., Lydon, Fitzsimons, & Naidoo, 2003), and show fewer signs of interest in interacting with them (e.g., mimicking them to a lesser extent; Karremans & Verwijmeren, 2008;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). ...
Article
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Long-term romantic commitments may offer many benefits. It is thus unsurprising that people employ strategies that help protect their relationships against the allure of alternative partners. The present research focused on the circumstances under which these strategies are less effective. Specifically, four studies examined the effect of internal relationship threat on expressions of desire for alternative mates. In Study 1, participants reported perceptions of relationship threat, their desire for their partner, and expressions of attraction to alternative mates. In Studies 2-4, participants underwent a threat manipulation and then encountered attractive strangers. Their reactions during these encounters (expressed interest, provision of help, and overt flirtation in Studies 2, 3, and 4, respectively) were recorded. Results showed that experiencing threat led to increased expressions of desire for alternatives. As indicated in Studies 1 and 2, decreased desire for current partners partially explained this effect, suggesting that desire functions as a gauge of romantic compatibility, ensuring that only valued relationships are maintained.
... For example, a manipulation of mating motivation might have very little effect on children who have not yet reached puberty, and later be more effective among those who are single compared to those in committed long-term relationships. Indeed, there is evidence that people in committed relationships often respond with cognitive avoidance and reduced positive affect to attractive alternatives who might diminish commitment to their current partner (Lydon, Fitzsimons, & Naidoo, 2003;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). Alternatively, knowledge about critical contextual factors may accumulate empirically in a bottom-up manner, through the discovery of moderating factors or processes that amplify, dampen, or even reverse a particular effect. ...
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Replication research holds an increasingly important place in modern psychological science. If such work is to improve the state of knowledge rather than add confusion, however, replication attempts must be held to high standards of rigor. As an example of how replication attempts can add confusion rather than clarity, we consider an article by Shanks and colleagues (2015). They conducted a meta-analysis of studies examining romantic motivation, using problematic criteria for the inclusion of effects and reached conclusions of a null effect that were unwarranted. A more rigorous and defensible approach, relying on a representative analysis of effects and p-curves, suggests a different, more positive conclusion with no evidence of p-hacking. Shanks et al. also conducted several experiments that suffered from numerous issues, such as relying on inappropriate subject samples (e.g., older adults likely to be less sensitive to mating manipulations than college students used in previous research), altered research methods, and demonstrably weak manipulations, among other problems. We discuss the broader implications of this case, to illustrate both the opportunities and the pitfalls inherent in attempts to replicate contextually sensitive research.
... Researchers found that females tend to place a greater emphasis on intimacy than do males (e.g., rating qualities such as "warmth" as more important) and to be more pragmatic in their orientations (e.g., rating qualities such as "financial security" as more important), and that males tend to place a greater emphasis on sexuality than do females (Buss & Barnes,1986;Dindia & Allen,1992;Howard, Blumstein, & Schwartz, 1987;Laner, 1977;Nevid, 1984;Simpson & Gangestad, 1992). Girls are most vulnerable to increases in depression if their first sexual encounter occurs in a relationship that is lacking emotional commitment. ...
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The present study designed to investigate the perceived stress and mental health of public university students having affairs or no affairs with opposite sex partners. Towards this end, the study was conducted on 120 respondents of Chittagong University. The respondents were selected purposively. Instruments used in this study include: 1) Structured Interview Form, 2) Perceived Stress Questionnaire (Keya, 2006) and 3) Bangla version (Ilyas and Ayesha, 2002) of the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-12) originally developed by Goldberg (1978). Findings of the study showed that perceived stress and mental health scores of the overall respondents, respondents having affairs, and respondents having no affair were significantly negatively associated. Findings also revealed significant differences in perceived stress and mental health of respondents in terms of relationship status. Results also indicated respondents' scores of 'duration of affairs' and 'duration of physical relations' was significantly positively associated. Keywords: Perceived stress, mental health, affair, opposite sex partner
... This is consistent with some previous research on females which has demonstrated that self-perceptions of attractiveness do not always align with objective and otherperceived evaluations (e.g., Nestor, Stillman, & Frisina, 2010). Past research has shown that ratings of attractiveness among members of the opposite sex are somewhat flexible, and can vary according to the raters' own relationship status, whereby single-relative to pair-bonded raters evaluate members of the opposite sex as more attractive (Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990), and whether the individual being rated is known to the rater, whereby raters in leadership roles evaluate in-group subordinates as more attractive relative to other out-group leaders (Kniffin, Wansink, Griskevicius, & Wilson, 2014). Future research might benefit from considering how such individual differences and contextual variabilities in others' ratings of attractiveness might influence concordance with own ratings of attractiveness and overall mate value. ...
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Ten years ago, Buss and Shackelford demonstrated that high mate value (i.e., physically attractive) women held more discerning mate preferences relative to lower mate value women. Since then, researchers have begun to consider the equally important role of men’s sexual selectivity in human mate choice. Yet, little research has focused on whether high mate value men are similarly choosy in their mate preferences. In a sample of 139 undergraduate men, relationships between self-perceived mate value as well as female-rated facial attractiveness were examined in relation to men’s expressed mate preferences. Results showed that self-perceived mate value was unrelated to men’s facial attractiveness as rated by women. Men who believed they were of high mate value were more likely than lower mate value men to prefer to marry at a younger age; to have a spouse who was younger than them; and to have a partner who was sociable, ambitious, high in social status, with good financial prospects, a desire for children, health, good looks, and mutual attraction. Objective male facial attractiveness was generally unrelated to heightened mate preferences, with the exception of heightened preference for similar religious background and good physical health. Findings suggest that men who perceive themselves as high in overall mate value are selective in their mate choice in a manner similar to high mate value women.
... Suggesting an association between sociosexuality and QoL, Simpson, Gangestad, and Lerma (1990) found that unrestricted individuals scored lower on social closeness and well-being. Extending these findings to romantically involved individuals while considering their sexual behavior, in this cross-sectional study we sought to understand whether relationship quality is the underlying mechanism whereby sociosexual attitudes are associated with QoL. ...
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Research has typically shown that unrestricted sociosexuality is negatively associated with relationship quality and that relationship quality is positively associated with quality of life (QoL). However, these findings may be restricted to individuals in monogamous relationships, especially those with prior extradyadic interactions (i.e., non-consensual non-monogamous; NCNM). Indeed, individuals in consensual non-monogamous (CNM) relationships have more unrestricted sociosexuality and are also more satisfied with and committed to their relationships. Still, little research has examined whether both relationship agreements are associated differently with attraction forces (wanting to be) and constraining forces (having to be) in the relationship and how they are related to QoL. We conducted a cross-sectional study with 373 heterosexuals (73.2% men, Mage = 41.15, SD = 10.18) registered on Second Love, a dating Web site for romantically involved individuals. Results showed differences in the hypothesized model, according to relationship agreement. For individuals in CNM relationships, unrestricted sociosexuality was associated with stronger attraction forces, which were then associated with greater QoL. The opposite pattern was found for those in NCNM relationships. Furthermore, and regardless of relationship agreement, unrestricted sociosexuality was associated with weaker constraining forces, which were associated with greater QoL. These results make a novel contribution to the literature on relationship agreements and how they relate to QoL.
... The filler ads and items were included to camouflage the study's purpose and to minimize awareness biases. This procedure was similar to that used by Simpson, Gangestad, and Lerma (1990). ...
Article
We report 2 preliminary studies examining attachment-related individual differences in the ways in which contextual reactivation of oedipal issues in adulthood affects men's sexual attraction to women. In these studies, we measured male participants' attachment orientations, subliminally primed oedipal or neutral issues, and examined the effects of the primes on sexual attraction to women appearing in ads (Study 1) and women who were purportedly interested in romantic dating (Study 2). Across the 2 studies, men who scored higher on attachment anxiety reacted to the oedipal prime (as compared to control primes) with heightened sexual attraction to women. Less attachment-anxious participants showed the opposite reaction to the oedipal prime: Reduced sexual attraction. The discussion focuses on integrating attachment and psychoanalytic theories.
... A reason why attractive individuals are seen and expected to be socially competent may be because they are more comfortable in social situations due to the strong halo effect associated with being physically attractive (Colvin 1993). Attractive people are also treated favourably in romantic relationships (Simpson et al. 1990). These are prime examples of the beauty premium in action, in a multitude of contexts, providing an insight into how powerful a feature physical attractiveness is. ...
Article
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Previous literature suggests that altruism may have evolved as a sexually selectable trait. Recent research suggests that women seek altruistic traits for long-term, not short-term relationships, as altruism can serve as an honest signal of one’s character. We tested this hypothesis by asking 102 participants to complete a modified version of Buss’s Mate Preferences Questionnaire. We found that women placed higher importance on altruism in a mate compared to men, and this preference was greater when seeking a long-term, compared to a short-term mate. We also found that although women placed greater importance on cooperativeness in a mate compared to men, this preference was not influenced by whether they were seeking a short-term or a long-term mate. We successfully replicate previous literature exploring the role of altruism in mate choice.
... Many studies have found that single people evaluate partners more positively than individuals in a committed relationship (e.g. Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990), and several theoretical perspectives in the close relationships tradition suggest that people in serious relationships might not be motivated to evaluate potential partners fairly and honestly (Lydon, 2010). Generally speaking, prior studies of sex differences in the association of physical attractiveness with romantic desire have tended not to document a meaningful role for relationship status (e.g. ...
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 statistical power as the use of small samples of participants. The current registered report used very large samples of both participants (N = 1,204) and stimuli photographs (N = 593) to test the sex difference in the attractiveness-desire association. The sex difference emerged with objective assessments of attractiveness from independent raters (approximately q = .13, a small effect) but not with participants’ own assessments of attractiveness (q = .00). Various other moderators that have been summoned to explain cross-study variability in prior research received no support (e.g. the sex difference was not larger in serious relationship contexts, the low-to-moderate range of attractiveness, etc.). Surprisingly, in the small sample of participants who were attracted to same-sex individuals, the attractiveness-desire association was stronger for women than men – the opposite of the sex difference anticipated by prior mate preferences research. This study provides effect-size benchmarks for studies of sex differences and highlights the importance of stimulus sampling when documenting replicable effects.
... Research in relationship science has shown a similar tendency to idealize current romantic partners (Gunaydin & DeLong, 2015;Murray, Holmes, & Griffin, 1996) and to derogate alternatives (D. J. Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Simpson, Lerma, & Gangestad, 1990). Therefore, having a more favorable construal of the current romantic partner over alternatives may result in a status quo preference. ...
Article
Decades of research indicate that individuals adhere to existing states ("status quo bias") and value them more ("endowment effect"). The present work is the first to investigate status quo preference within the context of trade-offs in mate choice. Across seven studies (total N = 1,567), participants indicated whether they would prefer remaining with a current partner possessing a particular set of traits (e.g., high trustworthiness, low attractiveness) or switching to an alternative partner possessing opposite traits. Preference for a given trait was highest when the individual representing the status quo (one's romantic partner or an interaction partner) possessed that trait. Concerns about hurting the partner, ambiguity avoidance, and biased construal of the partner and the alternative predicted status quo preference and disapproval of the current partner by network members eliminated this effect. These findings indicate that when it comes to matters of the heart, we tend to love what we currently have.
... Furthermore, our data are cross-sectional. Although the APIM (Cook & Kenny, 2005) has been successfully utilized in cross-sectional contexts to explore individual partner's contributions within a dyadic context (e.g., Rusbult & Bunk, 1993;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990), the development of mothers' and fathers' individual contributions to coparenting across time should be explored. This is particularly important as we assessed coparenting dynamics following the transition to parenthood, when partners are still adjusting to their new roles as parents and the child has just transitioned from infancy to toddlerhood. ...
Article
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This study utilizes the actor–partner interdependence model to examine mothers' and fathers' support of their partner and involvement in parental decision making during coparenting interactions in relation to cooperative and competitive coparenting in a sample of 125 first-time parents with a 24-month-old child. Fathers showed greater instances of support for their partner than did mothers, and mothers demonstrated higher levels of involvement in parenting decisions than did fathers. Mothers' higher support of fathers' parenting was related negatively to competitive coparenting and positively to fathers' involvement. Fathers' higher support of mothers and higher involvement in parenting decisions was related to higher cooperative coparenting. Implications for family intervention and future research are discussed.
... When a person is strongly committed to a romantic partner, then alternative partners are devalued and attention is directed away from them, thus protecting, or shielding, the current relationship from threats. People in a romantic relationship rate alternative partners as less attractive than do single participants (Karremans, Dotch, & Corneille, 2011;Miller & Maner, 2010;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). This effect is especially pronounced for people who are strongly (vs. ...
Article
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Interpersonal relationships and goal pursuit are intimately interconnected. In the present paper, we present a people-as-means perspective on relationships. According to this perspective, people serve as means to goals—helping other people to reach their goals in a variety of ways, such as by contributing their time, lending their knowledge, skills, and resources, and providing emotional support and encouragement. Because people serve as means to goals, we propose that considering relationship processes in terms of the principles of goal pursuit can provide novel and important insights into the ways that people think, feel, and behave in these interpersonal contexts. We describe the principles of means-goals relations, review evidence for each principle involving people as means, and discuss implications of our approach for relationship formation, maintenance, and dissolution.
... Pentru a reduce aceste ameninţȃrişi pentru a proteja relaţia curentȃ, cercetȃrile aratȃ cȃ oamenii folosesc o serie de strategii cognitive de devalorizare a alternativelor atractive. Spre exemplu, cei orientaţi spre menţinerea unei relaţii subevaluazȃ atractivitatea feţelor de sex opus,în contrast cu cei orientaţi cȃtre cȃutarea unui nou partener (Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). Totodatȃ, aceştia acordȃ mai puţinȃ atenţie alternativelor atractive (Maner et al., 2003). ...
... In turn, commitment is a powerful predictor of pro-relationship behaviors that facilitate relationship persistence; it evokes the thoughts, feelings, and motivation required to perform behaviors that maintain relationships. Such behaviors include perceiving one's own relationship as superior to others' relationships (Van Lange & Rusbult, 1995), the tendency to accommodate or forgive negative partner behavior (Rusbult, Verette, Whitney, Slovik, & Lipkus, 1991), devaluing other potential partners (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990), and the willingness to sacrifice for the good of the relationship (Van Lange et al., 1997). Ultimately, such behaviors increase the likelihood that a relationship persists. ...
Article
A dyadic approach to studying relationship dynamics yields considerably more insights than examining each partner separately. Yet relatively little research has examined dyadic models of commitment, despite commitment being essential to relationship persistence. Accordingly, we tested a dyadic version of the investment model of commitment. In two cross-sectional studies of couples and one experiment, we tested the role of partner investments and perceived partner investments as novel antecedents of commitment. Studies 1 and 2 demonstrated that greater partner investments were related to greater levels of individuals’ commitment, while controlling for individuals’ own satisfaction with, investments in, and alternatives to the relationship. Study 3 revealed that partner-reported investments predicted commitment independent of perceived partner investments. The findings advance the investment model beyond the individual level, emphasizing the need to examine dyadic elements of relationships.
... A reason why attractive individuals are seen and expected to be socially competent may be because they are more comfortable in social situations due to the strong halo effect associated with being physically attractive (Colvin 1993). Attractive people are also treated favourably in romantic relationships (Simpson et al. 1990). These are prime examples of the beauty premium in action, in a multitude of contexts, providing an insight into how powerful a feature physical attractiveness is. ...
Article
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Research has focused on the role of prosocial behaviors in mate choice, across both social and evolutionary psychology. Several studies provide strong support for the role of altruism in mate choice, whereby people find prosociality attractive in potential mates. As most research focuses on the role of altruism in mate choice, most research has found that people exhibit altruism towards attractive people, suggesting altruistic behavior is driven by mate choice motivation. Although studies have supported the notion that men’s altruism towards women is driven by mate choice, the findings are inconsistent, which may be due to the methodologies adopted by researchers. To our knowledge, this review paper is the first to critically review the literature concerning prosociality and mate choice. We provide an outline of the research thus far, methodological issues, and considerations for future research.
... Indeed, research suggests that once people form pair bonds, they allocate resources away from seeking new mating partners and toward maintaining their existing relationship (Neel et al., 2016). Compared with single individuals, those in a long-term relationship pay less attention to attractive alternative partners (Miller, 1997) and are more likely than single individuals to downplay the attractiveness of alternatives ( Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990) while adopting a positive bias toward their own partner (Fletcher & Kerr, 2010). ...
Article
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What motives do people prioritize in their social lives? Historically, social psychologists, especially those adopting an evolutionary perspective, have devoted a great deal of research attention to sexual attraction and romantic-partner choice (mate seeking). Research on long-term familial bonds (mate retention and kin care) has been less thoroughly connected to relevant comparative and evolutionary work on other species, and in the case of kin care, these bonds have been less well researched. Examining varied sources of data from 27 societies around the world, we found that people generally view familial motives as primary in importance and mate-seeking motives as relatively low in importance. Compared with other groups, college students, single people, and men place relatively higher emphasis on mate seeking, but even those samples rated kin-care motives as more important. Furthermore, motives linked to long-term familial bonds are positively associated with psychological well-being, but mate-seeking motives are associated with anxiety and depression. We address theoretical and empirical reasons why there has been extensive research on mate seeking and why people prioritize goals related to long-term familial bonds over mating goals. Reallocating relatively greater research effort toward long-term familial relationships would likely yield many interesting new findings relevant to everyday people’s highest social priorities.
... Indeed, research suggests that once people form pair-bonds, they allocate resources away from seeking new mating partners and more toward maintaining their existing relationships (Neel et al., 2016). Compared with single individuals, those in long-term relationships pay less attention to attractive alternative partners (Miller, 1997) and are more likely than single individuals to downplay the attractiveness of alternatives (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990), while adopting a positive bias toward their own partner (Fletcher & Kerr, 2010). ...
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What motives do people prioritize in their social lives? Historically, social psychologists, especially those adopting an evolutionary perspective, have devoted a great deal of research attention to sexual attraction and romantic partner choice (mate-seeking). Research on long-term familial bonds (mate retention and kin care) has been less thoroughly connected to relevant comparative and evolutionary work on other species, and in the case of kin care, less well researched. Examining varied sources of data from 27 societies around the world, we found that people generally view familial motives as primary in importance, and mate-seeking motives as relatively low in importance. College students, single people, and males place relatively higher emphasis on mate-seeking, but even those samples rated kin care motives as more important. Further, motives linked to long-term familial bonds are positively associated with psychological well-being, but mate-seeking motives are associated with anxiety and depression. We address theoretical and empirical reasons why there has been extensive research on mate-seeking, and why people prioritize goals related to long-term familial bonds over mating goals. Reallocating relatively greater research effort toward long-term familial relationships would likely yield many interesting new findings relevant to everyday people’s highest social priorities.
... Committed individuals tend to derogate attractive oppositesex persons to resist temptation from them. For example, committed individuals devalue the attractiveness of alternatives (e.g., Johnson and Rusbult, 1989;Simpson et al., 1990;Cole et al., 2016), memorize their faces less (Karremans et al., 2011; this study only focused on mated women), remember more negative behaviors engaged in by them (Visserman and Karremans, 2014), and are inattentive to them in early-stage visual processing when relationship motivation is activated (e.g., Maner et al., 2009). However, there is also some evidence that does not support the "derogation of alternatives" function to maintain long-term romantic relationships. ...
Article
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Heterosexual individuals may possess evolved psychological mechanisms that help protect their ongoing romantic relationships against external threats from other attractive individuals. The current study used love priming and a dot-probe task to examine the attentional bias associated with long-term relationship maintenance by comparing between 52 single heterosexual men and 57 heterosexual men in exclusive romantic relationships, in the Chinese context. The results showed that single men responded to love priming with greatly increased attention to and difficulty disengaging from attractive women, whereas committed men were largely inattentive to attractive alternatives irrespective of the situation. The present findings provide evidence on the domain of relationship maintenance from a Chinese cultural context, and suggest that Chinese men protect an ongoing relationship by being automatically inattentive in early-stage attentional processing to attractive women who could serve as attractive alternatives.
... Indeed, research suggests that once people form pair-bonds, they allocate resources away from seeking new mating partners and more toward maintaining their existing relationships (Neel et al., 2016). Compared with single individuals, those in long-term relationships pay less attention to attractive alternative partners (Miller, 1997) and are more likely than single individuals to downplay the attractiveness of alternatives (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990), while adopting a positive bias toward their own partner (Fletcher & Kerr, 2010). ...
... Hence, we further test whether students' differences in socioeconomic status might moderate the effect of changing references on judgments of attractiveness. Finally, studies have demonstrated that individuals involved in ongoing dating relationships rated persons of the opposite-sex as significantly less physically attractive than did individuals not involved in dating relationships (Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990), as well as that the perception of ones' own physical attractiveness is positively related to stronger social support (Sarason, Sarason, Hacker, & Basham, 1985). Thus, in the present study, these two potential covariates will be controlled. ...
Article
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Background: Social Reference Theory is relatively new in explaining and predicting social behaviors. Sophisticated empirical observations are needed to support and refine the theory. The theory proposes that (1) Any perception must be understood in the context of a reference; (2) without a reference, no perception exists; (3) changing the reference can change a person's perception; and (4) the reason different parties disagree on an issue is that they have difference references. Aim: This current study was to provide evidence for the Social Reference Theory with a focus on the third of the four propositions: changing the reference can change a person's perception. Method: A large sample of undergraduate students were randomly selected from a Chinese university and asked to participate in an online quasi-experimental survey to study the effect of changing a reference on subjects' evaluation of physical attractiveness. Subjects were asked to rate the attractiveness of an average-looking woman or man presented in the context of other photographs of either more attractive or less attractive women or men. Findings: These college students' perception of the targets' physical attractiveness were altered by a change of reference: an average image was rated high if the reference image was less attractive, and the same image was rated low if the reference was very attractive. Additionally, female respondents were more likely to be influenced by change of the reference than male respondents. Conclusions: This study provided evidence for the proposition that changing the reference can change a person's perception.
... The findings consistently show a relationship shielding effect. People in a romantic relationship rate photographs of opposite sex individuals as less attractive than do single people (Karremans, Dotsch, & Corneille, 2011;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). Once in a romantic relationship, individuals who report strong commitment to their current partner rate alternative romantic partners as less attractive than do those who are weakly committed to their current partner (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon, Fitzsimons, & Naidoo, 2003;see also, Meyer, Berkman, Karremans, & Lieberman, 2011). ...
... Indeed, an abundance of research has revealed that committed partners derogate the temptation of attractive alternatives. For example, highly committed partners tend to perceive others as less attractive than they objectively are (Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon et al., 1999Lydon et al., , 2003Simpson et al., 1990), spend less time looking at (Miller, 1997) and paying attention to (Maner et al., 2008(Maner et al., , 2009 alternatives, suppress thoughts about alternatives , and selectively recall negative qualities more than positive qualities about alternatives (Visserman & Karremans, 2014). These maintenance mechanisms are also reflected in committed partners' subsequent behavior. ...
Article
Societal changes over recent decades have drastically transformed the frequency and manner in which people are exposed to attractive alternative relationship partners, arguably resulting in such alternatives posing a greater threat to committed relationships now than ever before. Yet despite a growing need for novel research on attractive alternatives, research on this topic has failed to account for such changes and thus is growing stagnant. Specifically, although interdependence perspectives and supporting research have consistently and robustly demonstrated that (a) attractive alternatives threaten committed relationships and (b) committed partners protect their relationships by devaluing such alternatives, research has yet to examine how the changing nature of attractive alternatives might affect these processes. To this end, the present article first reviews foundational theory and research that guided the study of attractive alternatives and then highlights how recent societal changes (e.g., technology that increases access to attractive alternatives, increasingly diverse relationship types, the emerging desire to remain single) diverge from this research and thus warrant new directions. We encourage researchers to expand how they study attractive alternatives and to ultimately reignite research on this increasingly important topic.
... Broadly, people in satisfying relationships devalue alternative partners (see Amato & Previti, 2003;Durante et al., 2016). These alternatives are perceived as less desirable (Simpson et al., 1990), capture less attention (Maner et al., 2008), are less memorable (Karremans et al., 2011), and we are less warm towards them (Karremans & Verwijmeren, 2008). In short, satisfied couples possess biases to reduce the threat of attractive alternatives. ...
Article
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For most of human history we have ascribed human‐like capacities to other entities (anthropomorphism). Recently, the digital age has created new entities: virtual agents (VAs). Increasingly, these virtual entities are complex and human‐like, specifically designed to elicit anthropomorphism from their owners and users. We employ social psychological research and theory to review how, why, and when people come to anthropomorphize VAs. Moving beyond static representations, we examine the dynamics of human‐VA relationships and how they are encroaching on the closest of human relationships, virtual love. We use the social psychology of close relationships to examine the ways in which people may form, maintain, and terminate relationships with VAs. We conclude by examining the potential costs and benefits of these new relationships.
... Solomon and Saxe (1977) contend that first impressions of an individual are based on all available information. Physical attractiveness is often the first feature used to evaluate an individual's interpersonal characteristics because it is the first perceived characteristic, and therefore, effects further assessment of other interpersonal characteristics, such as personality, and intelligence (Simpson et al. 1990). ...
Article
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Prior research on cognitive priming for situations involving potential infidelity indicates that women are vigilant to potential threats to their romantic relationships. Here we examined whether women can be effectively primed to initiate one strategy for intrasexual mating competition, competitor derogation, which includes behaviors individuals undertake to decrease the value of a rival relative to oneself. Using a pre-post within-subjects research design, women evaluated photographed womens’ attractiveness, friendliness, intelligence, and attributable blame for an infidelity, as well as their own relative attractiveness, desirability, and attributable blame. Short vignettes describing a hypothetical situation of a mate diverting his interest toward another woman served as primes of possible threat to one’s romantic relationship. After exposure to the primes, women’s ratings of the photographed women decreased, while allocation of blame increased, despite the fact that these women were not involved in the primes and hence, did not directly serve as threats to the relationship. The participants were also less likely to want to become friends with the photographed women, or recommend her for friendship. Self-ratings remained stable, possibly indicating one’s self-perceived mate value is not influenced by temporary situations, akin to how baseline self-esteem is resistant to short-term fluctuations. Directions for future work are provided.
... Accordingly, single individuals may be specifically interested in processing and retaining physical attributes (e.g., faces) related to the opposite gender. This proposal is in agreement with the derogation effect, that is, the observation that single individuals tend to rate the attractiveness of opposite-gender individuals as higher than individuals in relationships (Karremans, Dotsch, & Corneille, 2011;Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Ritter, Karremans, & van Schie, 2010;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990). Support for the effect of relationship status on face processing can also be found in studies demonstrating that single individuals pay more attention to opposite-gender individuals than do individuals in relationships (Maner, Gailliot, & Miller, 2009;Maner, Gailliot, Rouby, & Miller, 2007;Maner, Miller, Moss, Leo, & Plant, 2012;Maner, Rouby, & Gonzaga, 2008). ...
Article
A substantial body of research has assessed the effect of gender on face recognition; however, little is known about the effect of relationship status on face recognition. In this study, we assessed for the first time how relationship status impacts face recognition by asking 62 male and female participants to decide whether they had previously encountered faces of males and females. Participants were also asked to fill a socio-demographic variables questionnaire which included, among other information, question about their relationship status (i.e., single vs. in a relationship). A significant effect of relationship status on face recognition was observed only in males; namely, single males demonstrated higher face recognition than males in relationships, whereas similar face recognition was observed in single and in-relationship females. More specifically, single males demonstrated higher recognition for female than for male faces, whereas no differences were observed in single females, males in relationships, or in females in relationship. Single males seem to be motivated by mating opportunity and, thus, unlike single females or males and females in relationships, devote high attentional resources to processing faces of the opposite gender.
... Indeed, research suggests that once people form pair bonds, they allocate resources away from seeking new mating partners and toward maintaining their existing relationship (Neel et al., 2016). Compared with single individuals, those in a long-term relationship pay less attention to attractive alternative partners (Miller, 1997) and are more likely than single individuals to downplay the attractiveness of alternatives ( Johnson & Rusbult, 1989;Lydon, Meana, Sepinwall, Richards, & Mayman, 1999;Simpson, Gangestad, & Lerma, 1990) while adopting a positive bias toward their own partner (Fletcher & Kerr, 2010). ...
Article
What motives do people prioritize in their social lives? Historically, social psychologists, especially those adopting an evolutionary perspective, have devoted a great deal of research attention to sexual attraction and romantic-partner choice (mate-seeking). Research on long-term familial bonds (mate retention and kin care) has been less thoroughly
Article
Having an intimate romantic relationship is an important aspect of life. Dopamine-rich reward regions, including the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), have been identified as neural correlates for both emotional bonding with the partner and interest in unfamiliar attractive nonpartners. Here, we aimed to disentangle the overlapping functions of the NAcc using multivoxel pattern analysis, which can decode the cognitive processes encoded in particular neural activity. During functional MRI scanning, 46 romantically involved men performed the social-incentive-delay task, in which a successful response resulted in the presentation of a dynamic and positive facial expression from their partner and unfamiliar women. Multivoxel pattern analysis revealed that the spatial patterns of NAcc activity could successfully discriminate between romantic partners and unfamiliar women during the period in which participants anticipated the target presentation. We speculate that neural activity patterns within the NAcc represent the relationship partner, which might be a key neural mechanism for committed romantic relationships.
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Presented paper captures the issue of close relationships from the perspective of behaviorism, that is the philosophy of science on which behavior analysis is based. Therefore, it is a theoretical interpretation of the functioning and evolution of intimate relationships rather than a direct extrapolation of results from scientific research. The issues discussed relate to basic learning laws that govern human behavior and what results from them for close romantic relationships. The author makes a critical reinterpretation of the main theories explaining the genesis and functioning of romantic relationships, indicating that the core of dynamically occurring changes in the relationship, partner selection, as well as feelings and emotions occurring in close relationships are simple learning mechanisms that occur over time cumulatively.
Article
Three experiments evaluated a novel motivated response to alternative threat for committed people, known as perceptions of the partner's devaluation of alternatives (PPD). By being led to perceive lower partner commitment (Study 1a and 1b) or that the partner was favorably evaluating a highly attractive alternative (Study 2), we found a consistent threat effect across the studies with perceivers reporting lower levels of PPD. However, perceivers reporting greater relational trust or greater perceived partner commitment reported greater PPD, with some evidence of buffering (Study 2). These studies provide preliminary insight into how committed people use perceptions of the partner's commitment to navigate situations involving their partners and threatening alternatives, beyond their own commitment and projective effects.
Chapter
Romantic love has received significant theoretical and empirical attention from the perspectives of evolutionary psychology and traditional social psychology. Although their respective advancements on love have often occurred in isolation, there exists great overlap between the ideas presented by each discipline. In this chapter, we discuss this overlap and the likely benefits derived by bridging these disciplines more concertedly. We first discuss social psychological approaches to the study of love. We then shift focus to evolutionary psychological approaches, which build on social psychological research by emphasizing possible functions for the existence and experience of love. We conclude by suggesting other topics of relationship functioning that have been much investigated by traditional psychological approaches but have not been explored systematically through the lens of evolutionary psychology. It is our belief that there is significant value in exposing mainstream evolutionary psychologists to relevant research in the relationship science domain more generally and vice versa. It is this type of cross-talk that will be most advantageous for spurring mutually beneficial collaborations that will likely provide the greatest advances in our understanding of romantic love.
Article
This study examined college students' judgments of the physical attractiveness of an interaction partner after a getting‐acquainted interaction, including in comparison with other benchmarks (e.g., an experimenter rating, a self‐rating). With data combined from several past laboratory studies, we found that participants (particularly women who were interacting with another woman) overall rated their interaction partner after a brief interaction to be more attractive than three benchmarks: (1) how the partners were judged by more neutral experimenters who had less interaction with them; (2) how the partners rated themselves; and (3) the participants' own self‐ratings of physical attractiveness. Evidence was found for a prediction derived from interaction appearance theory – ratings of the quality (enjoyment) of the interaction were positively associated with ratings of the partner's physical attractiveness. We also explored whether participants' ratings of the physical attractiveness of their interaction partner were affected by factors about the participant (own physical attractiveness, relationship status) and about the context of their communication (modality, type of get‐acquainted task). Despite prior work suggesting that physical attractiveness ratings of others are malleable depending on a host of other factors, personal and contextual variables considered in this study were generally not associated with how the participants rated the physical attractiveness of their interaction partner.
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Monogamy is a near universal expectation in intimate relationships in Western societies and is typically defined as sexual and romantic exclusivity to one partner. This research informs the paradox between monogamy intentions and high rates of infidelity. Monogamy maintenance (MM) strategies used in response to relationship threats posed by attraction to extradyadic others were identified and characterized. Across three samples, 741 U.S. adults in intimate relationships completed surveys addressing MM. Twenty‐four strategies emerged in three factors—Proactive Avoidance (of attractive alternatives), Relationship Enhancement, and Low Self‐Monitoring and Derogation (in the face of extradyadic attraction). All MM factors were commonly endorsed, yet were largely unsuccessful at forestalling infidelity.
Article
Micro-macro links between individual psychophysical traits and couple behavior are established. The analysis is carried out through a simple idealized model that mimics couples not influenced by their social environment. The functions describing the traits, i.e. the reactions to the love and appeal of the partner, are quite general. In particular, they allow one to take into account relatively sophisticated characteristics like insecurity and bias. The results are interesting even if some of them have already been discovered in extremely special cases. Some features of the idealized model are also used to theoretically support important behaviors identified empirically by psychotherapists.
Article
People tend to rate exceptional levels of IQ (99th percentile) as less attractive than high levels of IQ (90th percentile), and it remains to be determined why. Furthermore, the desirability of emotional intelligence (EI) in a prospective partner has yet to be investigated. Finally, we sought to determine whether individual differences in self-assessed and objectively measured IQ/EI correlated with desirability ratings of IQ/EI in a prospective partner. Based on a general community sample (N = 236) and an undergraduate sample (N = 220), we found that the association between rated desirability and the IQ/EI level of a prospective partner exhibited a threshold effect at the 90th IQ/EI percentile. Furthermore, a statistically significant decrease in rated desirability between the 90th to the 99th percentiles was observed for IQ, but not for EI. We found that participants who reduced their ratings of desirability between the 90th and 99th IQ percentiles did so due to compatibility concerns (≈60%) and social skill concerns (≈40%). We also found that self-assessed IQ and objectively measured IQ correlated positively with desirability ratings at the 90th IQ percentile, and self-assessed EI (but not objectively measured EI) with desirability ratings at the 90th EI percentile. Finally, we found that, on average, people ranked/rated EI to be somewhat more desirable than IQ. We interpreted the results as consistent with compatibility theory, active assortative mating for intelligence, and the possibility that many people subscribe to the stereotype that exceptionally intelligent people suffer from interpersonal skill difficulties.
Article
Sexual attitudes are influenced by social norms, with an open sexual attitude in loose cultures (e.g., United States), and a conservative sexual attitude in tight cultures (e.g., China). Previous studies have found that men prefer women's face in long-term mating context and prefer women's body in short-term mating context in loose culture. However, whether men in tight culture prefer women's body in one-night stand mating context is unknown. Moreover, previous studies have shown that mortality salience has an influence on human's reproductive behaviors, however, it is unclear how mortality salience affects men's mating preferences. Experiment 1 replicated the previous findings showing that men prefer women's face in long-term mating context (girlfriend), and prefer women's body in short-term mating context (one-night stand) in tight culture. Moreover, experiment 2 found that after priming with death, men in the long-term context prefer women's body more than that in control priming group, and they also rated higher importance of body in mating selection than that in control group. Our results suggested that mortality salience induces men's mating strategy toward body attractiveness in long-term mating context.
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Facial attractiveness captures and binds visual attention, thus affecting visual exploration of our environment. It is often argued that this effect on attention has evolutionary functions related to mating. Although plausible, such perspectives have been challenged by recent behavioral and eye-tracking studies, which have shown that the effect on attention is moderated by various sex- and goal-related variables such as sexual orientation. In the present study, we examined how relationship status and sociosexual orientation moderate the link between attractiveness and visual attention. We hypothesized that attractiveness leads to longer looks and that being single as well as being more sociosexually unrestricted, enhances the effect of attractiveness. Using an eye-tracking free-viewing paradigm, we tested 150 heterosexual men and women looking at images of urban real-world scenes depicting two people differing in facial attractiveness. Participants additionally provided attractiveness ratings of all stimuli. We analyzed the correlations between how long faces were looked at and participants’ ratings of attractiveness and found that more attractive faces—especially of the other sex—were looked at longer. We also found that more sociosexually unrestricted participants who were single had the highest attractiveness-attention correlation. Our results show that evolutionary predictions cannot fully explain the attractiveness-attention correlation; perceiver characteristics and motives moderate this relationship.
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Sections 1 and 2 deal with attribution at the personal and interpersonal levels. Section 3 contains papers devoted to theoretical integration and analysis. An interview with 2 influential attribution theorists, E. E. Jones and H. H. Kelley, concludes the volume. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Units of personality may be of 2 varieties: dimensional variables (traits), which involve continuously distributed differences in degree, and class variables, which involve discretely distributed differences in kind. There exists, however, a prevailing assumption that the units of personality are continuous dimensions and an accompanying prejudice against class variables. Thus, differences between people are presumed to be differences in degree, not kind. The authors examine this prejudice, the arguments that generated it, and those that uphold it. It is concluded that these arguments are applicable to class variables as they often have been explicated, in phenetic terms; by contrast, genetically explicated class variables are not vulnerable to these arguments. Criteria are proposed and methods are presented for corroborating the existence of class variables in personality. A test is described of a class model of a construct, the conceptual status of which makes it reasonable to evaluate whether or not the differences between individuals represented by this construct constitute discrete classes. Self-monitoring is demonstrated to be a discretely distributed class variable that influences social behavior. Implications for conceptualizing and investigating the nature and origins of personality are examined. (3½ p ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
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Conducted 3 studies to test the hypothesis that judgments of average females' attractiveness or dating desirability will be adversely affected by exposing judges to extremely attractive prior stimuli (i.e., judgments will show a "contrast effect"). Study 1 was a field study in which 81 male dormitory residents watching a popular TV show, whose main characters were 3 strikingly attractive females, were asked to rate a photo of an average female (described as a potential blind date for another dorm resident). These Ss rated the target female as significantly less attractive than did a comparable control group. Two other studies with 146 undergraduates demonstrated analogous effects in a more controlled laboratory setting. In addition, the 3rd study indicated a direct effect of informational social influence on physical attractiveness judgments. Implications are discussed with particular attention to mass media impact. (40 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
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Determined how sex and level of self-monitoring (SM) are related to behavior during an initial interaction in same-sex dyads. 60 male and 64 female undergraduates who had been previously tested with Snyder's Self-Monitoring Scale were covertly videotaped during an unstructured 5-min interaction with a same-sex stranger. They were then asked to give impressions of their own and the other person's behavior during the interaction period. The videotapes of these interactions were subsequently coded for a variety of behavioral measures. Data show greater involvement and affiliation in the female dyads than in the male dyads. Data also suggest that the SM of certain expressive behaviors may be mediated by perceptions of their sex-role appropriateness. With respect to variations in SM, data indicate that (a) the higher SM S within each dyad was more likely to initiate conversation, (b) dyads in which a high-SM S and a low-SM S were paired appeared to experience particular interaction difficulty, and (c) within dyads, the higher (vs the lower) SM Ss' perceptions of their own and their partners' behavior were generally consistent with Snyder's conception of SM. (32 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Investigated measures enabling one to assess general feelings about a relationship, social exchange behaviors, and the particularism and symbolism of resources given to and received from another by examining, longitudinally, 38 dating couples. At least 1 member of each pair was an undergraduate student. These variables were first measured shortly after a couple began to date and again 4 mo later. Findings show that in contrast to what might be expected from prevailing theories of relationship development, the later status of couples (still dating or not) could be predicted with a high degree of accuracy from the initial measures. This finding corroborates and extends previous work dealing with same-sex friendships. Couples who were still dating 4 mo later demonstrated greater love, more relationship-maintaining behaviors, more favorable evaluations of the dating relationship, and greater amounts of self-disclosure at the time of initial contact than did couples who broke up. Over time, these differences between couples who did and who did not continue dating intensified. In terms of the types of resources Ss gave and received from their dating partner, more particularistic and more symbolic resources were exchanged in continuing couples only later. Although both continuing and noncontinuing couples showed a decrease in the correlation between the love that members reported, this was offset in continuing daters by increasingly similar reports of reward, equity, and liking. (48 ref)
Chapter
This chapter discusses physical attractiveness in social interactions. Physical attractiveness is, in many ways, a homely variable. The physical attractiveness variable is unpretentious for at least two reasons. First, it is unlikely that it will be found to be orthogonal to other dimensions, primarily intelligence, socioeconomic status, and perhaps genetically determined behavioral predispositions associated with morphological characteristics. Second, it seems highly unlikely that physical attractiveness will ever form the core concept of a psychological theory, even a much needed social perceptual theory, which will illuminate the way to useful and interesting predictions about social relationships. The chapter focuses on recent social psychological evidence, which suggests that even esthetic attractiveness may be a useful dimension for understanding certain social phenomena, and, perhaps, for illuminating some personality and developmental puzzles as well. Perception of the physical attractiveness level of another appears to be influenceable by the affective and experiential relationship between the evaluator and the person whose physical attractiveness level is to be judged, as well as by factors unique to the evaluator and the setting in which evaluations are made, although none of these factors have been the subject of much study. The impact of physical attractiveness upon the individual has been highlighted in the chapter.
Article
Used a longitudinal study of heterosexual dating relationships to test investment model predictions regarding the process by which satisfaction and commitment develop (or deteriorate) over time. Initially, 17 male and 17 female undergraduates, each of whom was involved in a heterosexual relationship of 0-8 wks duration, participated. Four Ss dropped out, and 10 Ss' relationships ended. Questionnaires were completed by Ss every 17 days. Increases over time in rewards led to corresponding increases in satisfaction, whereas variations in costs did not significantly affect satisfaction. Commitment increased because of increases in satisfaction, declines in the quality of available alternatives, and increases in investment size. Greater rewards also promoted increases in commitment to maintain relationships, whereas changes in costs generally had no impact on commitment. For stayers, rewards increased, costs rose slightly, satisfaction grew, alternative quality declined, investment size increased, and commitment grew; for leavers the reverse occurred. Ss whose partners ended their relationships evidenced entrapment: They showed relatively low increases in satisfaction, but their alternatives declined in quality and they continued to invest heavily in their relationships. (39 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).
Article
This paper is divided into two parts. In the first, the rank order stability of individual differences in altruism across situations is examined and it is found that substantial consistency occurs when due regard is given to the principle of aggregation. In the second, a self-report altruism scale, on which respondents rate the frequency with which they have engaged in some 20 specific behaviors, is found to predict such criteria as peer-ratings of altruism, completing an organ-donor card, and paper-and-pencil measures of prosocial orientation. These data suggest there is a broad-based trait of altruism.
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A longitudinal study of 129 graduating university students tested whether relationship continuity could best be predicted by a positive pull model, consisting of love and rewards, or a newly proposed barrier model, consisting of investments and commitment. The barrier model proved to be the best discriminator of whether relationships continued past graduation. Validity of the barrier model was further supported by conceptual distinctions found between Love and Commitment scales and by evidence for the importance of investments to the development of commitment. The combination strategy of scale development and examination of relationships over time produced new scales of Investments and Commitment.
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It was the purpose of this study to explore primarily through qualitative data the process by which personal relationships dissolve. In applying the method of analytic induction to ninety-seven heterosexual romantic relationship break-ups, a flow chart of the disengagement process was developed around six distinctive features of the break-up process. This flow chart was subsequently used to trace the dissolution process for each break-up account, producing eight basic trajectories of disengagement for this data set. The study supports the argument by Kressel et al. (1980) that researchers must abandon the simplistic search for a single set of stages or steps by which relationships change, recognizing instead the patterned differences among relationships.
Article
Although relationship research has concentrated on relational formation and termination processes, most of the time spent in long-term relationships is devoted to relational maintenance and/or repair. The present study examines the maintenance/repair strategies reported by fifty couples (n= 100 spouses). It attempts to discover the strategies and the ways in which their number and choice are related to marital satisfaction, participation in a marital enrichment programme, length of marriage and respondent gender. Forty-nine strategies were identified and clustered into twelve superordinate strategy types. Respondents most frequently reported use of prosocial, ceremonial, communication and togetherness strategy types. More strategies were reported in accomplishing maintenance than repair of the relationship. However, the same types of strategies were reported for both maintenance and repair with the exceptions of metacommunication and anti-ritual/spontaneity strategies. The number of strategies correlated negatively with length of marriage. Implications for future research include the need for comparative work among premarital, marital and divorced couples. In addition, the need to develop understanding of such strategies for use in marital enrichment programmes is discussed.
Article
Two experiments were designed to test the adequacy of the investment model of developing relationships in predicting satisfaction with and commitment to ongoing associations. According to the investment model, attraction to and satisfaction with a relationship is a function of a comparison of the relationship outcome value (both rewards and costs) to the individual's expectations, or comparison level. Commitment to a relationship is said to be a function not only of the relationship outcome value, but also the quality of the best available alternative and the magnitude of the individual's investment in the relationship. The intrinsic or extrinsic investment of resources serves to increase commitment by increasing the costs of leaving the relationship. Thus, increases in investment size, decreases in alternative value, and increases in relationship value should increase commitment to an ongoing relationship. In Experiment 1, a role-playing study, commitment to relationships increased with intrinsic and extrinsic investment size and decreased with the value of alternatives, but was not appreciably affected by relationship costs. Satisfaction/attraction significantly increased as relationship costs decreased. In Experiment 2, a survey of ongoing romantic associations, satisfaction/attraction was predicted by relationship reward value and relationship cost value. Commitment to relationships increased as relationship reward value and investment size increased and as alternative value and relationship cost value decreased, although the effects of cost value were weak.
Article
Examined whether physically attractive stimulus persons, both male and female, are (a) assumed to possess more socially desirable personality traits than physically unattractive stimulus persons, and (b) expected to lead better lives (e.g., be more competent husbands and wives and more successful occupationally) than unattractive stimulus persons. Sex of Subject * Sex of Stimulus Person interactions along these dimensions also were investigated. Results with 30 male and 30 female undergraduates indicate a "what is beautiful is good" stereotype along the physical attractiveness dimension with no Sex of Judge * Sex of Stimulus interaction. Implications of such a stereotype on self-concept development and the course of social interaction are discussed.
Article
This work tested the hypothesis that persons who are more committed to their relationships devalue potential alternative partners, especially attractive and threatening alternatives. In Study 1, a longitudinal study, perceived quality of alternatives decreased over time among stayers but increased for leavers. In Study 2, a computer dating service paradigm, more committed persons exhibited greatest devaluation of alternatives under conditions of high threat—when personally evaluating extremely attractive alternative partners. In Study 3, a simulation experiment, the tendency to reject and devalue alternatives was greater under conditions of high commitment. In all three studies, tendencies to devalue were more strongly linked to commitment than to satisfaction. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
A large sample of individuals involved in ongoing dating relationships completed an extensive questionnaire survey that assessed 10 factors: satisfaction with the current partner, closeness of the relationship, duration of the relationship, sexual nature of the relationship, the quality of the best actual and imagined alternative dating partner(s), the ease with which a suitable alternative partner could be found, exclusivity of the relationship, self-monitoring propensity, and orientation to sexual relations. Approximately 3 months later, all individuals were recontacted to determine whether they were still dating the same partner and if not, how much emotional distress they experienced following relationship dissolution. Analyses revealed that at a univariate level, all 10 factors successfully forecasted relationship stability. Three of the 10 factors—closeness, duration, and ease of finding an alternative partner—reliably and independently predicted the intensity and duration of emotional distress. Specifically, individuals who were close to their former partner, who had dated the former partner for a long time, and who believed they could not easily acquire a desirable alternative tended to experience more pronounced distress following dissolution. These results are discussed in terms of the investment model and recent theorizing on emotion in relationships. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Discusses the proposal that high drive initiates an "autistic" perceptual process operating in the direction of drive gratification. It was hypothesized that (a) under conditions of high drive, perceptual distortion of drive-relevant objects occurs principally along drive-relevant dimensions; (b) the direction of distortion is toward enhancement of the object's potential for drive satisfaction, and (c) the degree of accessibility of the object for potential drive gratification affects the extent to which drive-relevant characteristics of the object are enhanced. These hypotheses were tested with 92 male undergraduates in a person-perception situation in which level of sexual arousal and accessibility of the judged stimulus object (a prospective date) were varied. A 2-factor multivariate analysis of variance with 3 dependent measures indicates that arousal level of judge, accessibility of stimulus object, and dimension relevance interacted in determining perception of stimulus person. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
"An experiment was conducted to test the hypothesis that persons who undergo an unpleasant initiation to become members of a group increase their liking for the group; that is, they find the group more attractive than do persons who become members without going through a severe initiation. This hypothesis was derived from Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance." 3 conditions were employed: reading of "embarrassing material" before a group, mildly embarrassing material to be read, no reading. "The results clearly verified the hypothesis." (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
Recent studies have revealed numerous differences of degree between the behaviour of men and women in close personal relationships. For the most part these differences remain as isolated facts, in need of an integrative framework, and little consideration has been given to the question of why the differences take the precise form that they do. In this paper a possible framework for integrating the known facts about sex differences in close relationships are discussed. It points to parallels between the sex differences observed in present day societies and those that would have been expected in our environment of evolutionary adaptedness, but does not involve biological determinism and acknowledges that such parallels carry no necessary implications about the ontogenetic origins of the differences. Whilst recognizing the ubiquitous influences of socialization practices in producing sex differences in attitudes and behaviour, it suggests also that the reciprocal influences of sex differences on socialization practices must not be neglected. There is of course no implication that the sex differences discussed are more than differences in statistical tendencies, or that individuals can be placed on a unidimensional scale of masculinity/femininity. No value judgements are intended: the biological parallels may be useful in attaining the society we desire, but irrelevant to setting our goals. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
open their discussion by noting how dissimilar people's conceptions of love and loving relationships are across both time and culture discuss the components of pair relationships (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Book
• Ideas, like individuals and nations, have histories, and so do the research enterprises that sometimes stem from ideas. The history of the research that is reported in the following pages is mainly one of indebtedness. The 34 men who, week after week, faithfully provided the bricks of information out of which this monograph is constructed were, of course, my principal benefactors. Not one of them ever lapsed, for even a single week, and my debt to them is most inadequately repaid by sending each of them a standard model of this monograph. The writing of a research report, too, has its own history, and in the writing of this one I came to the conclusion that it would be a bare-boned research report, together with only such theoretical connective tissue as in fact inspired the initial planning of the research. The reader will find that I have sometimes oscillated between the reporting of tests of theoretically derived prediction and the presenting of exploratory findings. Insofar as the latter are interesting or significant, I have no apology to make for them--especially as one who has often criticized students who, in their eagerness to find support for cherished hypotheses, ignore serendipidous findings. The phenomena of getting acquainted, like most others which one studies intimately for a period of years, are full of interesting surprises, and none of us is capable of anticipating all of them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved) • Ideas, like individuals and nations, have histories, and so do the research enterprises that sometimes stem from ideas. The history of the research that is reported in the following pages is mainly one of indebtedness. The 34 men who, week after week, faithfully provided the bricks of information out of which this monograph is constructed were, of course, my principal benefactors. Not one of them ever lapsed, for even a single week, and my debt to them is most inadequately repaid by sending each of them a standard model of this monograph. The writing of a research report, too, has its own history, and in the writing of this one I came to the conclusion that it would be a bare-boned research report, together with only such theoretical connective tissue as in fact inspired the initial planning of the research. The reader will find that I have sometimes oscillated between the reporting of tests of theoretically derived prediction and the presenting of exploratory findings. Insofar as the latter are interesting or significant, I have no apology to make for them--especially as one who has often criticized students who, in their eagerness to find support for cherished hypotheses, ignore serendipidous findings. The phenomena of getting acquainted, like most others which one studies intimately for a period of years, are full of interesting surprises, and none of us is capable of anticipating all of them. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2012 APA, all rights reserved)
Article
The patterning of sexual interaction in male-female dyads and the links between sexual behavior and emotional intimacy were investigated as part of a two-year study of college dating couples. Despite generally permissive and egalitarian attitudes, traditional sexual role playing in which the man encourages intercourse and the woman limits the couple's sexual intimacy was common. Three types of couples were compared: sexual traditionalists who abstained from coitus, sexual moderates who had coitus only after emotional intimacy was established, and sexual liberals who had coitus prior to developing emotional intimacy. Findings are discussed in terms of the psychological meaning of sexual behavior for young adults.
Article
Causal and responsibility attributions for spouse behavior are examined in couples seeking therapy and in nondistressed community couples. Eighty spouses rated the causes of positive and negative partner behaviors, made attributions of responsibility for the behaviors, indicated their affective impact, and, finally, specified what they would do in response to each behavior. Distressed spouses saw the causes of negative partner behavior as more global and considered the behavior to be more negative in intent, selfishly motivated, and blameworthy than did nondistressed spouses. The inverse pattern of results was obtained for positive spouse behavior. Only responsibility attributions predicted the affective impact and intended responses to the behavior. These findings are discussed in terms of the role of attribution processes in martial dysfunction, and their implications for therapy are outlined.
Article
Two studies were done to investigate the influence of exposure to centerfold erotica on sexual attraction judgments. In Experiment 1, college students judged a photograph of a nude female after being exposed either to control stimuli (abstract art or other average nudes) or to photographs taken from popular erotic magazines. The target was judged as less sexually attractive after subjects had been exposed to popular erotica. Male and female subjects showed parallel patterns of attraction ratings. In Experiment 2, male and female subjects were exposed to opposite sex erotica. In the second study, there was an interaction of subject sex with stimulus condition upon sexual attraction ratings. Decremental effects of centerfold exposure were found only for male subjects exposed to female nudes. Males who found the Playboy-type centerfolds more pleasant rated themselves as less in love with their wives. Results are discussed in light of general gender differences in sexual behavior, and are related to the current controversy about pornography.
Article
Previous studies have failed to find support for the hypothesis, derived from Level of Aspiration Theory, that individuals chose to date those whose “social desirability” level is similar to their own. In the present experiments, which were designed to test the matching hypothesis, the salience of possible rejection by the dating choice was varied. Both experiments found support for the principle of matching in social choice. This support was obtained, however, not just under conditions in which rejection was presumably salient but for all conditions of choice. This and additional findings were discussed.
Article
Used a longitudinal study of heterosexual dating relationships to test investment model predictions regarding the process by which satisfaction and commitment develop (or deteriorate) over time. Initially, 17 male and 17 female undergraduates, each of whom was involved in a heterosexual relationship of 0–8 wks duration, participated. Four Ss dropped out, and 10 Ss' relationships ended. Questionnaires were completed by Ss every 17 days. Increases over time in rewards led to corresponding increases in satisfaction, whereas variations in costs did not significantly affect satisfaction. Commitment increased because of increases in satisfaction, declines in the quality of available alternatives, and increases in investment size. Greater rewards also promoted increases in commitment to maintain relationships, whereas changes in costs generally had no impact on commitment. For stayers, rewards increased, costs rose slightly, satisfaction grew, alternative quality declined, investment size increased, and commitment grew; for leavers the reverse occurred. Ss whose partners ended their relationships evidenced entrapment: They showed relatively low increases in satisfaction, but their alternatives declined in quality and they continued to invest heavily in their relationships. (39 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved)
Book
Patterns in the data on human sexuality support the hypothesis that the bases of sexual emotions are products of natural selection. Most generally, the universal existence of laws, rules, and gossip about sex, the pervasive interest in other people's sex lives, the widespread seeking of privacy for sexual intercourse, and the secrecy that normally permeates sexual conduct imply a history of reproductive competition. More specifically, the typical differences between men and women in sexual feelings can be explained most parsimoniously as resulting from the extraordinarily different reproductive opportunities and constraints males and females normally encountered during the course of evolutionary history. Men are more likely than women to desire multiple mates; to desire a variety of sexual partners; to experience sexual jealousy of a spouse irrespective of specific circumstances; to be sexually aroused by the sight of a member of the other sex; to experience an autonomous desire for sexual intercourse; and to evaluate sexual desirability primarily on the bases of physical appearance and youth. The evolutionary causes of human sexuality have been obscured by attempts to find harmony in natural creative processes and human social life and to view sex differences as complementary. The human female's capacity for orgasm and the loss of estrus, for example, have been persistently interpreted as marriage-maintaining adaptations. Available evidence is more consistent with the view that few sex differences in sexuality are complementary, that many aspects of sexuality undermine marriage, and that sexuality is less a unifying than a divisive force in human affairs.
Article
Two short (16 item) forms of the Helmreich, Stapp, and Ervin (1974) Texas Social Behavior Inventory, a validated, objective measure of self-esteem or social competence are presented. Normative data and other statistics are described for males and females. Correlations between each short form and long (32-item) scale were .97. Factor analysis and part-whole correlations verified the similarity of the two forms. The utility of the scale in research is described.
Article
Describes some of the major demographic trends in the field of marital disruption and provides an analysis of the evidence linking separation and divorce with a wide variety of physical and emotional disorders. Separation and divorce appear to be profoundly stressful life events. Hypotheses that have been advanced to account for the strong associations between marital disruption and emotional disorder are critically examined. Studies of problems faced by persons undergoing marital disruption and studies of remedial programs are evaluated, and major unresolved issues are discussed. (4½ p ref)
Article
Measures enabling one to assess general feelings about a relationship, social exchange behaviors, and the particularism and symbolism of resources given to and received from another were examined longitudinally in 38 dating couples. These variables were first measured shortly after a couple began to date and again approximately 4 months later. We found that in contrast to what might be expected from prevailing theories of relationship development, the later status of couples (still dating or broken up) could be predicted with a high degree of accuracy from the initial measures. This finding corroborates and extends previous work dealing with same-sex friendships. Couples who were still dating 4 months later demonstrated greater love, more relationship-maintaining behaviors, more favorable evaluations of the dating relationship, and greater amounts of self-disclosure at the time of initial contact than did couples who broke up. Over time, these differences (as well as others) between couples who did and who did not continue dating intensified. In terms of the types of resources subjects gave and received from their dating partner, more particularistic and more symbolic resources were exchanged in continuing couples only later. Although both continuing and noncontinuing couples showed a decrease in the correlation between the love that members reported, this was offset in continuing daters by increasingly similar reports of reward, equity, and liking. Results are discussed in terms of initial versus gradually evolving differences between continuing and noncontinuing relationships.
Article
Reports initial results of an attempt to introduce and validate a social-psychological construct of romantic love. Starting with the assumption that love is an interpersonal attitude, an internally consistent paper-and-pencil love scale was developed. The conception of romantic love included 3 components: affiliative and dependent need, a predisposition to help, and an orientation of exclusiveness and absorption. The 13-item love-scale scores were only moderately correlated with scores on a parallel 13-item scale of "liking," which reflected a more traditional conception of interpersonal attraction. The validity of the love scale was assessed in a questionnaire study with 158 undergraduate dating couples and a laboratory experiment with 79 undergraduate dating couples. On the basis of the emerging conception of love, it was predicted that college dating couples who loved each other a great deal (as categorized by their love-scale scores) would spend more time gazing into one another's eyes than would couples who loved each other to a lesser degree. The prediction was confirmed. (22 ref.)