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Individual differences in dispositional mindfulness and initial romantic attraction: A speed dating experiment


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Initial romantic attraction has important implications for the development of romantic relationships. Much research demonstrates that physical attractiveness predicts initial romantic attraction. However, less is known about the influence of individual difference characteristics on initial romantic attraction. Here we examined whether dispositional mindfulness predicted initial romantic attraction beyond the effects of physical attractiveness in a speed-dating experiment. Women were more attracted to men higher in dispositional mindfulness, beyond the effects of physical attractiveness. Men were more attracted to women who were more physically attractive, but female mindfulness did not influence male initial attraction. This is the first study to examine the role of dispositional mindfulness in predicting initial romantic attraction.
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Individual differences in dispositional mindfulness and initial romantic
attraction: A speed dating experiment
Philip Janz
, Christopher A. Pepping
, W. Kim Halford
School of Psychology, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia
article info
Article history:
Received 25 September 2014
Received in revised form 10 February 2015
Accepted 19 February 2015
Romantic relationships
Initial attraction
Couple relationships
Initial romantic attraction has important implications for the development of romantic relationships.
Much research demonstrates that physical attractiveness predicts initial romantic attraction. However,
less is known about the influence of individual difference characteristics on initial romantic attraction.
Here we examined whether dispositional mindfulness predicted initial romantic attraction beyond the
effects of physical attractiveness in a speed-dating experiment. Women were more attracted to men
higher in dispositional mindfulness, beyond the effects of physical attractiveness. Men were more
attracted to women who were more physically attractive, but female mindfulness did not influence male
initial attraction. This is the first study to examine the role of dispositional mindfulness in predicting ini-
tial romantic attraction.
Ó2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
1. Introduction
Being in a satisfying romantic relationship is a strong predictor
of psychological well-being (Demir, 2008; Diener, Gohm, Suh, &
Oishi, 2000), physical health (Kiecolt-Glaser & Newton, 2001),
and longer life expectancy (Ross, Mirowsky, & Goldsteen, 1990).
The choice of relationship partner is therefore a decision that has
important implications. Much research has examined the role of
physical attractiveness on initial romantic attraction. More
recently, researchers have begun to examine individual difference
predictors of initial attraction. In the present research we investi-
gated whether dispositional mindfulness predicted initial romantic
attraction in a speed-dating experiment.
1.1. Predictors of initial romantic attraction
Initial romantic attraction refers to the first interpersonal inter-
action between two individuals where feelings of romantic love are
experienced, accompanied by a desire to meet again. Much evi-
dence indicates that external factors such as physical attractive-
ness and socio-economic status influence initial attraction
(Eastwick, Luchies, Finkel, & Hunt, 2013; Guéguen & Lamy, 2012;
Pines, 2001). Meta-analyses reveal that the importance placed on
physical attractiveness has increased for both men and women
over the past fifty years (Buss, Shackelford, Kirkpatrick, & Larsen,
2001). The importance of physical attractiveness is consistent with
an evolutionary explanation of initial attraction. Physical charac-
teristics, such as symmetrical faces, waist-to-hip ratios in women,
and shoulder-to-hip ratios in men, have been identified as signs of
health and reproductive viability (Gallup & Frederick, 2010), and
are thus perceived as desirable (Buss et al., 2001). More recently,
however, researchers have begun to examine internal psychologi-
cal predictors of initial attraction.
Research indicates that individual difference characteristics do
indeed influence initial romantic attraction. For example, kindness,
intelligence, humour (Buss & Barnes, 1986), emotional intelligence
(Atkinson, 2013), emotional stability (Gottman, 2011), con-
scientiousness, agreeableness, extraversion and low neuroticism
have each been associated with greater initial romantic attraction
(Figueredo, Sefcek, & Jones, 2006). Luo and Zhang (2009) used
speed dating methodology to examine whether a range of personal
characteristics predicted initial attraction. The strongest predictor
of attraction was physical attractiveness. However, there were also
a range of individual difference characteristics that influenced
attraction. Males were more attracted to females higher in
extraversion, agreeableness and conscientiousness, and lower in
neuroticism and negative affect. However, the only predictor of
female attraction other than physical attractiveness was male
engagement in sports. In brief, there is clear evidence that individ-
ual difference characteristics influence initial attraction. However,
the initial stages of relationship development are complex, and
there are likely to be multiple influences on romantic attraction.
0191-8869/Ó2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Corresponding author.
E-mail address: (C.A. Pepping).
Personality and Individual Differences 82 (2015) 14–19
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It is therefore important to continue to examine factors that influ-
ence initial romantic attraction. Here we propose that dispositional
mindfulness may be one such factor.
1.2. Mindfulness
Mindfulness refers to ‘‘paying attention in a particular way: on
purpose, in the present moment, non-judgementally’’ (Kabat-Zinn,
1994, p. 4). Mindfulness involves non-judgemental awareness of
the present moment, without becoming consumed by difficult
thoughts, emotions or experiences, but also without engaging in
efforts to avoid or suppress difficult experiences (Brown & Ryan,
2003; Kabat-Zinn, 1990). There are individual differences in
dispositional mindfulness (Brown & Ryan, 2003). Research consis-
tently shows that higher mindfulness is associated with numerous
indices of psychological well-being (Brown, Ryan, & Creswell,
2007; Keng, Smoski, & Robins, 2011), including adaptive emotion
regulation (Arch & Craske, 2006; Creswell, Way, Eisenberger, &
Lieberman, 2007), self-esteem (Pepping, O’Donovan & Davis,
2013), and secure attachment (Pepping, O’Donovan & Davis,
2014). More recently, researchers have begun to examine associa-
tions between mindfulness and interpersonal outcomes.
1.3. Mindfulness and interpersonal outcomes
Theoretically, mindfulness should facilitate a relationally
focussed, less judgemental, and less experientially avoidant stance
to difficult emotions that can arise in interactions with others and
in relationships (Wachs & Cordova, 2007). Consistent with this pro-
position, high dispositional mindfulness is associated with
increased relationship satisfaction (Barnes, Brown, Krusemark,
Campbell, & Rogge, 2007), and satisfaction with interpersonal
relationships more broadly (Pepping, O’Donovan, Zimmer-
Gembeck & Hanisch, 2014). Barnes et al. (2007) investigated the
impact of mindfulness on communication behaviors during a con-
flict discussion task between partners and found that those higher
in mindfulness were lower in anger and hostility following the
conflict discussion. High dispositional mindfulness is also asso-
ciated with increased engagement and empathy, and reduced anxi-
ety in social situations (Dekeyser, Raes, Leijssen, Leysen, & Dewulf,
2008), and lower self-reported aggressiveness, hostility, and verbal
aggressiveness (Heppner et al., 2008). There is accumulating evi-
dence that dispositional mindfulness has beneficial effects on
relationship outcomes and processes, including factors likely to
impact on the development of relationships, such as emotion reg-
ulation and communication. It is therefore likely that mindfulness
may impact on initial romantic attraction. In the present research,
we tested this hypothesis in an experimental speed-dating study.
1.4. Speed dating
Research into initial attraction has generally used descriptions
of hypothetical situations where individuals rate desirable quali-
ties in a potential partner. These studies are limited as they do
not evoke the same responses and emotions as in a real-life setting,
and do not capture features of conversations that could lead to
relationship development (Finkel & Eastwick, 2008). These lim-
itations have prompted the use of the speed dating methodology
to more accurately examine predictors of initial attraction. In
speed dating, individuals meet many people and interact with each
person for a brief period of time, usually three to eight minutes.
After the interaction, each person indicates whether they wish to
continue communication with this person. If both agree, contact
details are exchanged (Finkel, Eastwick, & Matthews 2007).
Kenny’s (1994) ‘zero acquaintance’ paradigm shows that individu-
als can make accurate judgements about a person’s personality and
intelligence in very brief periods of time. Speed dating is thus an
effective way to examine predictors of initial attraction, as it allows
for individuals to meet many potential partners in a short space of
time, and it imitates real-life situations.
1.5. The present research
High dispositional mindfulness is associated with satisfying
relationships, and positive interpersonal processes. However, no
research has investigated whether dispositional mindfulness influ-
ences initial romantic attraction. The focus of the present study is
whether high dispositional mindfulness will be associated with
higher initial attraction ratings by individuals’ opposite sex partner
(partner effects) rather than whether an individual’s mindfulness
influences their own attraction ratings toward their partner (actor
effects). Although it is possible that individuals higher in mindful-
ness may be less judgemental and thus be less likely to evaluate
others harshly, it seems unlikely that an individual high in disposi-
tional mindfulness would universally rate others as more attrac-
tive. We therefore focus only on partner effects. It was predicted
that high dispositional mindfulness would be associated with
higher initial attraction ratings by individuals’ opposite sex part-
ner, beyond the effects of physical attractiveness.
2. Method
2.1. Participants
Participants were 91 undergraduate students (Mage = 20.86,
SD = 3.17). Forty-four were male (Mage = 21.12, SD = 3.64) and
47 female (Mage = 20.60, SD = 2.61). Participants were informed
that the research was designed to investigate the psychology of ini-
tial romantic attraction.
2.2. Measures
2.2.1. Mindfulness
The Five Facet Mindfulness Questionnaire (FFMQ; Baer et al.,
2006) is a 39-item measure of dispositional mindfulness. It
assesses five facets of mindfulness, and these subscales can be
summed to yield a total score. In the present research we used
the total score as the aim was to examine global relationships
between mindfulness and initial attraction and, as other research-
ers have noted (e.g., Vollestad, Siversten, & Nielsen, 2011), the total
score provides a parsimonious account of the relationship between
mindfulness and other constructs. Internal consistency in the pre-
sent sample was high (
= .84).
2.2.2. Initial attraction
The initial attraction scale assesses the degree to which Person
A is attracted to Person B (Lewandowski & Aron, 2004). The scale
consists of eight items, four that assess romantic or sexual attrac-
tion (e.g., How sexy is this person?’ and ‘How much would you like
to date this person?’) and four items that assess general attraction
(e.g., ‘Is this the type of person you would like to get to know bet-
ter?’). The questions were answered on a 9-point scale. Internal
consistency was high in the present sample (
= .95).
2.2.3. Physical attractiveness
Upon arrival to the session, photos were taken of each partici-
pant, and these were rated by two independent assessors (one
male and one female) for physical attractiveness on a 9-point scale.
The inter-class correlation coefficient (ICC) for the two raters was
.81, indicating high agreement. Mean attractiveness rating
P. Janz et al./ Personality and Individual Differences 82 (2015) 14–19 15
between the two assessors was used as the physical attractiveness
score for each participant.
2.3. Procedure
Prior to the speed-dating sessions, participants completed an
online questionnaire that assessed dispositional mindfulness. The
questionnaire also contained a measure of adult attachment as a
predictor of initial attraction, which was included as part of a
broader program of research, unrelated to the present study.
Participants provided a code on the questionnaire which was used
to match questionnaire responses with data collected during the
speed-dating session. The speed-dating sessions occurred in a large
function room arranged with eight tables with a chair on either
side. Upon arrival, participants provided their 4-digit number,
and were photographed to allow for later coding of physical attrac-
tiveness. Participants were seated with males on one side of the
tables and females on the other.
Participants were then provided with instructions and informed
they could talk to the person seated opposite them about any topic
in the three minutes allocated. A bell signalled the beginning and
end of each 3-min interaction. Upon each ring of the bell, partici-
pants moved clockwise or anti-clockwise to their next seat to com-
plete the attraction scale about the person they had interacted
with immediately prior. This procedure was repeated for every
interaction until all participants had interacted with each person
of the opposite gender. If there was an imbalance in gender at
any session, individuals were asked to sit out for that particular
interaction when they did not have a partner to interact with.
Nine sessions were conducted with each session ranging from
eight to sixteen participants.
3. Results
Multi-level modelling (MLM) was performed in MLwin 2.28
(Rasbash, Charlton, Browne, Healy, & Cameron, 2009) which is
designed for analyzing hierarchically structured data. MLM uses
maximum likelihood estimates to manage any missing data so that
the available data set can be fully maximized. The method of analy-
sis is also widely used in analyzing data that involves a dyadic
interaction, and can effectively examine clustered data (Atkins,
2005). Male attraction refers to the males’ attraction ratings of
females, whereas female attraction refers to the females’ attraction
ratings of males. The means, standard deviations and a correlation
matrix for the variables of interest in the male and female attrac-
tion data set are shown in Table 1 and Table 2, respectively.
3.1. Physical attractiveness
First, the control variable of physical attractiveness was entered
into the model to test for effects of physical attractiveness on
attraction ratings. The standardized coefficients and standard error
values for all equations are presented in Table 3 and Table 4 for
male and female attraction ratings respectively. For male
attraction, female physical attractiveness accounted for a signifi-
cant reduction in the residual deviance, x
(1) = 13.31, p< .001,
indicating that female physical attractiveness significantly pre-
dicted male initial attraction ratings, z= 2.20, p< .001. Once stan-
dardized, b= 0.13, SE = 0.06, for every plus or minus one standard
deviation (SD) in physical attractiveness, male initial attraction rat-
ings increased or decreased by 0.13 SD. For females, there was no
significant decrease in the residual deviance x
(1) = 3.46, p= .063,
indicating female initial attraction was not predicted by male
physical attractiveness. In brief, male attraction was positively
associated with female physical attractiveness, whereas female
attraction was not associated with male physical attractiveness.
3.2. Effects of mindfulness
Once physical attractiveness was controlled for, partner’s mind-
fulness scores were added into the model as the second equation.
The association between female mindfulness and male attraction
Table 1
Means, standard deviations and correlations for male initial attraction, physical
attractiveness and mindfulness variables.
Mean SD 1234
1. Male mindfulness 127.35 14.36 1.00
2. Male initial attraction score 39.36 13.55 .18
3. Female physical
5.30 0.91 .04 .16
4. Female mindfulness 124.44 12.29 .03 .09 .05 1.00
N= 91.
p< .05.
Table 2
Means, standard deviations and correlations for female initial attraction, physical
attractiveness and mindfulness variables.
Mean SD 1234
1. Female mindfulness 124.29 12.46 1.00
2. Female initial attraction
35.79 14.15 .01 1.00
3. Male physical
4.56 0.71 .06 .09 1.00
4. Male mindfulness 127.48 14.32 .03 .13
N= 91.
p< .05.
Table 3
Variables, standardized coefficients, and standard errors of significant equations for
male initial attraction.
Variable Standardized coefficients SE
Equation 1
Constant 29.42 4.90
Female physical attractiveness 0.13
u51.64 16.86
e126.98 13.40
Equation 2
Constant 15.04 9.08
Female physical attractiveness 0.12
Female mindfulness 0.11 0.06
u53.21 17.07
e124.17 13.11
p< .05.
Table 4
Variables, standardized coefficients, and standard errors of significant equations for
female initial attraction.
Variable Standardized coefficients SE
Equation 1
Constant 46.25 5.51
Male physical attractiveness 0.11 0.06
u59.50 18.72
e136.96 14.55
Equation 2
Constant 32.98 8.33
Male physical attractiveness -0.13 0.06
Male mindfulness 0.12
u57.02 18.12
e134.80 14.31
p< .05.
16 P. Janz et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 82 (2015) 14–19
was not significant, x
(1) = 3.47, p= .062. When male mindfulness
scores were added there was a significant decrease in the residual
deviance, x
(1) = 4.384, p= .036, indicating that male mindfulness
predicted female initial attraction ratings towards the male. Once
standardized, b= 0.12, SE = 0.06, this shows that for every one SD
increase in male mindfulness, woman’s initial attraction ratings
of males increase 0.12 SDs.
4. Discussion
The aim of the present study was to examine whether disposi-
tional mindfulness predicted initial romantic attraction, beyond
the effects of physical attractiveness in a speed-dating setting.
This hypothesis was partially supported. High female physical
attractiveness predicted higher male attraction, but female mind-
fulness did not reliably predict male attraction beyond the effects
of physical attractiveness. Male physical attractiveness did not reli-
ably predict female attraction, but higher male mindfulness pre-
dicted higher female attraction beyond the effects of physical
attractiveness. In brief, males were attracted to physically attractive
women, whereas females were attracted to more mindful men.
The finding that male initial attraction was related to female
physical attractiveness is consistent with prior research (Buss
et al., 2001; Lee, Loewenstein, Ariely, Hong, & Young, 2008;
Pines, 2001), and is consistent with an evolutionary explanation.
Men value physical attractiveness of females as it is an indicator
of health and fertility (Feingold, 1990). This finding is also consis-
tent with prior speed-dating studies showing that physical attrac-
tiveness is a strong predictor of initial romantic attraction in males.
In the current study female initial attraction was not reliably
related to male physical attractiveness. This was unexpected as
some other studies (e.g., Luo & Zhang, 2009) have shown that male
physical attractiveness positively predicts female attraction. Across
studies the association between physical attractiveness and attrac-
tion is inconsistent for women’s attraction to men whereas there is
a consistent positive association of women’s physical attractive-
ness for men’s attraction to women (Eastwick & Finkel, 2008; Lee
et al., 2008). The power to detect small effects in the current
research is modest, which might explain the lack of a reliable
association. Consistent with the possibility that there might be
an inconsistent association of female attraction with men’s physi-
cal attractiveness, there was no reliable association in the current
study (in fact there was a non-significant trend (p= .06) in the
opposite direction in the current study). It appears that, at least
in the current sample, females valued internal characteristics of
males more than physical attractiveness.
In the present study female attraction to men was related to
male mindfulness, whereas male attraction to women was not reli-
ably related to male mindfulness. It is important to note there was
a non-significant trend for female mindfulness to predict male
attraction, and the lack of a reliable effect might reflect the modest
power of the study to detect a small association. The pattern of an
association of mindfulness to attraction for women but not men is
cross-sectional and so no causal conclusions can be made.
However, it is possible that women place greater emphasis on
internal characteristics like mindfulness than men for evolutionary
reasons. Women invest a great deal in the child birth and rearing
phases, and may value a male partner who can be attentive and
supportive throughout this process (Fletcher, Tither, O’Loughlin,
Friesen, & Overall, 2004). High dispositional mindfulness is asso-
ciated with positive relationship outcomes (Barnes et al., 2007),
and mindfulness interventions enhance couple satisfaction
(Carson, Carson, Gil, & Baucom, 2004), so it is possible women
are attracted to men displaying mindfulness as a marker of
potential relationship commitment and functioning.
If mindfulness does have an effect on attraction at least for
women, this raises the question of what behaviours might mediate
that association. Dispositional mindfulness is an internal charac-
teristic and therefore cannot directly influence female attraction.
As mentioned earlier, one possibility is that men higher in mindful-
ness may be more attentive to partners during the brief interac-
tions, and may have communicated more effectively. This is
consistent with prior research demonstrating that high disposi-
tional mindfulness is associated with increased attention (Keng
et al., 2011) and more effective communication in social situations
(Dekeyser et al., 2008; Heppner et al., 2008). It is also possible that
men higher in dispositional mindfulness were able to interact
without being unduly affected by potential anxiety arising from
the speed-dating situation. Much evidence indicates that mindful-
ness is associated with enhanced emotion regulation (e.g., Arch &
Craske, 2006; Keng et al., 2011) and less anxiety in social situations
(Dekeyser et al., 2008). Perhaps males higher in mindfulness were
better able to regulate any potential anxiety, and thus communi-
cate more effectively during the interactions. Future research
should investigate mediators of the association between high male
mindfulness and high female attraction. In particular, observa-
tional research that assesses how mindfulness translates into
behaviour that impacts on the other person during the interaction
would be beneficial.
Results of the present research may have implications for
individuals who are dating, particularly males. Mindfulness can
be enhanced through the practice of mindfulness meditation, and
mindfulness meditation also enhances emotion regulation capacity
(Ortner, Kilner, & Zelazo, 2007). It is possible that men who experi-
ence anxiety in dating situations may benefit from practicing
mindfulness to enhance their ability to effectively communicate
and engage with dating partners. However, future research needs
to examine the mechanisms of the mindfulness to attraction
association to understand if mindfulness has any causal impact
on romantic attraction.
4.1. Limitations and future directions
There are some limitations of the present research to be
acknowledged. First, as noted previously it is not possible to con-
clude that male mindfulness is causally related to female attrac-
tion. Clearly dispositional mindfulness reported before the speed
dating sessions cannot be altered by level of attraction by the
speed dating partners. However, covariates of mindfulness might
influence attraction. For example, high dispositional mindfulness
is associated with emotion regulation, experiencing more positive
affect and less negative affect, and low neuroticism (Brown & Ryan,
2003; Giluk, 2009; Keng et al., 2011). Thus, the possibility that
these covariates are responsible for the findings of the present
research, rather than mindfulness itself, cannot be ruled out.
Future research therefore needs to examine the relative impor-
tance of mindfulness and other individual difference characteris-
tics in the prediction of initial romantic attraction.
To assess whether mindfulness is causally associated with
attraction, it is necessary to manipulate mindfulness. Several stud-
ies indicate that experimentally manipulating mindfulness through
mindfulness induction procedures leads to a range of theoretically
relevant outcomes (e.g., Arch & Craske, 2006; Pepping, O’Donovan &
Davis, 2013). It would therefore be useful to examine whether
experimentally enhancing mindfulness leads to increased initial
attraction in a speed-dating setting. Research demonstrating that
mindfulness-based relationship enhancement has beneficial effects
on relationship outcomes in established couples (Carson et al.,
2004) is certainly consistent with the notion that mindfulness is
causally related to relationship outcomes. However, experimental
research on initial romantic attraction is needed.
P. Janz et al. / Personality and Individual Differences 82 (2015) 14–19 17
Results clearly demonstrate that high male mindfulness pre-
dicts high female romantic attraction in a speed-dating setting.
However, it is unclear whether these results would hold across
situations. Although speed-dating mimics real-life situations,
future research should examine these associations in a variety of
contexts such as online dating websites and at parties. It is also
important to acknowledge that the sample consisted of under-
graduate university students primarily in their early twenties. It
is unclear how generalizable the results are to different age groups.
Although relationship formation typically occurs during these
years and it is therefore a useful age group to examine predictors
of romantic attraction, future research should examine these
associations across a range of age groups.
Future research should examine the behavioral mechanisms
underlying the association between high male mindfulness and
greater romantic attraction. Behavioral coding of interactions dur-
ing a speed-dating study may provide useful information regarding
what men higher in mindfulness are doing that influences female
5. Conclusions
The present study examined whether individual differences in
dispositional mindfulness influenced initial romantic attraction in
a speed-dating study, beyond the effects of physical attractiveness.
This was the first study to investigate the relationship between
mindfulness and initial attraction. Female physical attractiveness
predicted greater male attraction ratings, but female mindfulness
did not predict greater male attraction, beyond the effects of physi-
cal attractiveness. Male physical attractiveness did not predict
female romantic attraction, but higher male mindfulness predicted
higher female attraction beyond the effects of physical attractive-
ness. In summary, males were attracted to physically attractive
women, whereas females were attracted to males higher in
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... Speed dating participants have only a few minutes to converse with complete strangers before indicating (privately) whether they wish to go on a future date with them, leaving minimal time to attend to the wide array of features, interests, experiences, and personality characteristics that could be perceived as attractive. Despite brief contact allotted for speed dating and the complex dynamics of romantic attraction , physical attractiveness has a strong influence on the selections that people make (Back et al., 2011;Fisman et al., 2006;Janz et al., 2015;Kurzban & Weeden, 2005;Luo & Zhang, 2009). Speed dating participants also indicate feeling more attracted to potential partners who exhibit warmthtrustworthiness (Valentine et al., 2020), are well-groomed, have adept social skills, maintain eye contact, and use an engaging and pleasant voice (Houser et al., 2008). ...
... The final sample included 155 ratings from 64 participants (48 women and 16 men). Other speed dating studies used comparable sample sizes: Janz et al. (2015) had a sample size 91 undergraduate students, Jauk et al. (2016) recruited 90 participants in their study and van der Meij et al. (2019)had a sample size of 79 participants. For the current study, each participant submitted at least one rating but could submit up to three ratings -one for each opposite sex testers -which is why the sample size is more than twice the number of study participants. ...
Prosocial relationships are beneficial to post-conviction reintegration, but criminal stigma may limit romantic relationship access. This study implements an experimental audit of speed dating, which allows people to meet several potential partners in a brief time, to explore how conviction disclosure, offense type, and attractiveness and personality ratings affect dating interest. Three women and three men confederates of different races/ethnicities were randomly assigned to a control or one of three offense conditions before interacting one-on-one with 64 participants in 4-minute Zoom Q&A speed dating sessions. Following each interaction, participants rated one another on attractiveness, personality dimensions, and interest in dating. Findings indicate that disclosure of property offense conviction significantly reduced women’s willingness to date men confederates while assault and drug convictions did not negatively affect women’s dating interest. Women confederate disclosures of convictions did not affect men’s interest in dating them. Researching the effects of prior convictions on romantic relationship interest is challenging but important in revealing how criminal stigma varies by offense type to affect relationship capital.
... The speed dating was invented by Rabbi Yaacov Deyo in the 90's, with the purpose of helping single Jews of Los Angeles to meet each other. In this paradigm, people interested in meeting potential romantic partners have, approximately, 10-25 brief meetings with a series of partners (Fisman et al., 2006;Finkel and Eastwick, 2008), which typically last from 3 to 10 min each (Todd et al., 2007;Turowetz and Hollander, 2012;Ranganath et al., 2013;Janz et al., 2015). After the event, the participants report whether or not they are interested in exchanging contact with each potential partner (Finkel and Eastwick, 2008). ...
... Women preferentially desire, as short-term mates, men who possess cues to good genes, but value social stability and economic security above traits relating to fertility and physical appearance for long-term relationships (Regan, 1998;Li and Kenrick, 2006). Physical attractiveness is one of the most relevant variables studied in speed dating context (e.g., Todd et al., 2007;Eastwick and Finkel, 2008a;Luo and Zhang, 2009;Bhargava and Fisman, 2014;Valentine et al., 2014;Janz et al., 2015;Jauk et al., 2016). Studies using the speed dating methodology have also shown that physical attractiveness is a very important factor in attraction for both men and women (Eastwick and Finkel, 2008c;Luo and Zhang, 2009;Back et al., 2011a;Clarkson et al., 2020;Stower et al., 2020). ...
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What happens when we unexpectedly see an attractive potential partner? Previous studies in laboratory settings suggest that the visualization of attractive and unattractive photographs influences the perception of time. The major aim of this research is to study time perception and attraction in a realistic social scenario, by investigating if changes in subjective time measured during a speed dating are associated with attraction. The duration of the dates was variable and participants had to estimate the time that passed. Among other measures, participants also rated the potential partners in terms of their physical attractiveness before and after the dates and reported if they would like to exchange contact with them. Results showed that, in a real speed dating situation, when there is a perception of the partner as being physically more attractive, women tend to overestimate the duration of that meeting, whereas men tend to underestimate its duration. Such changes may reflect evolutionary adaptations which make the human cognitive system more responsive in situations related to reproductive fitness.
... Most of previous research focused on initial attraction elicited after a brief interaction, be it in a chat room provided by online dating services, or in speed-dating events (Finkel et al., 2012;Janz, Pepping, & Halford, 2015;Tidwell et al., 2013). However, a voluntary interaction usually only occurs after a positive reaction when first noticing another person (Cunningham & Barbee, 2008;Levinger & Snoek, 1972;Sprecher & Felmlee, 2008). ...
... However, there is also evidence that initial attraction can be influenced by other individual and contextual variables. For instance, research shows that dispositional mindfulness can predict initial attraction in a speed-dating context, regardless of facial attractiveness (Janz et al., 2015). The type of information shared in user profiles is an example of these context variables. ...
Although perceived attractiveness has consistently been shown to influence interpersonal attraction, perceiving another person as more similar to oneself is also highly important for attraction. We examine how both perceptions impact unilateral initial attraction (UIA), defined as a positive reaction following the perception of an unknown target within minimal information settings. In three studies, we examine this phenomenon in a social networking site scenario, by asking participants to imagine they were browsing such a site. In Study 1, participants reported greater UIA for an attractive target, and this effect was partially mediated by perceived similarity. In Study 2, participants reported greater UIA for a target neutral in attractiveness, after being conceptually primed with similarity. This effect was mediated by perceived attractiveness. In Study 3, both perceived similarity and perceived attractiveness were associated with increases in UIA, which in turn was associated with greater interest to interact with a target neutral in attractiveness. These novel findings show the importance of perceived similarity for UIA and the importance of this phenomenon for online interactions. We conclude by discussing general implications for online social activities, specifically relationship development.
... Among them, physical attraction and social attraction of potential partners, which are the two dimensions of interpersonal attraction concerning with "the judgment of whether people 'like' another or whether people feel good in another's presence" (Berscheid and Hatfield, 1969;McCroskey and McCain, 1974), play important roles in determining whether the potential partners will be chosen. The effect of physical attraction refers to the fact that one with attractive physical appearance would be preferred in mate choice (Janz et al, 2015;Luo and Zhang, 2009;Todd et al., 2007). Social attraction is based on social considerations, such as social status (Katsena and Dimdins, 2015), perceived similarity with oneself (Tidwell et al., 2013), etc. Social attraction of potential partners can motivate individuals to establish social associations with their partners and further sustain the associations in future (Edles and Appelrouth, 2015;Hogg, 1992). ...
Although mate choice is crucial for adults, its neural basis remains elusive. In the current study, we combined the functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS)-based hyperscanning and speed-dating to investigate the inter-brain mechanism of mate choice. Each participant was paired with two opposite-sex partners (participants) in separate speed-dating sessions and was asked to decide whether to engage in a further relationship with the paired partner after each session. The physical attraction of the daters was rated by their partners at the beginning of the dating whereas the social attraction was rated after the dating. Interpersonal neural synchronization (INS) at the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex during speed-dating rather than reading task predicts the outcome of mate choice. Moreover, social attraction rather than physical attraction affects INS during speed-dating. These findings demonstrate for the first time that INS predicts the outcome of mate choice of interacting daters in ecologically valid settings during their initial romantic encounter.
... There are many components to romantic relationships, but sexual attraction is (usually) especially important when first developing a romantic relationship (e.g. Janz et al., 2015). Unfortunately, to date, there has been very little research investigating how romantic relationships with an asexual partner differ from those with a partner who is sexually interested, although it is important to note that many asexual individuals have experienced sexual intercourse, especially before realising their asexual orientation (Mitchell & Hunnicutt, 2019). ...
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Sexual attraction is a component of most romantic relationships, making it difficult to disentangle from other motives to invest in relationships. Despite the lack of sexual attraction that characterizes asexuality, many self-identified asexual individuals report the desire to enter a romantic relationship. These understudied individuals provide a unique opportunity to study relationship investment in the absence of sexual attraction. We compared relationship investment, a well-established aspect of interpersonal relationships, between asexual (n=139) and allosexual (n=224) individuals. Participants completed a modified Investment Model Scale, which examined satisfaction, quality of alternatives, investment size, and commitment in romantic relationships and friendships. Contrary to our prediction that asexual individuals would invest less than allosexual individuals in romantic relationships, but not in friendships, they reported lower satisfaction, investment size, and commitment, and higher quality of alternatives than did allosexual individuals across both types of relationships. Although lack of sexual attraction could explain lower investment scores in romantic relationships for asexual individuals, some other effect may be responsible for reported differential investment in friendships.
... Wachs and Cordova (2007) found that mindfulness training facilitates the transmission of empathic responding, emotional identification, emotional communication, and anger management, which enhances interpersonal functioning. This has been validated by many studies linking mindfulness to benefits within romantic relationships (e.g., Burpee & Langer, 2005;Khaddouma et al., 2015;Khaddouma et al., 2016;Kozlowski, 2013;Janz et al., 2015). Taken together, research on interpersonal mindfulness offers a model that supports the mechanisms of mindfulness in fostering skills that are beneficial to interpersonal relationships, and these benefits have been corroborated within the literature. ...
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Mindfulness-based programs (MBPs) are increasingly used to reduce parental stress and to enhance dyadic interactions between parents and children. Prior reviews examining the effects of MPBs for parents have assessed restricted target populations, limited outcomes measures, and have relied on uncontrolled studies. This systematic and meta-analytic review quantified the efficacy of MBPs for parents using comprehensive intrapersonal and interpersonal outcome measures and methodologically robust studies. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) examining the effect of MBPs on parents were identified, data were extracted, and assessed for risk of bias by two independent reviewers. Twenty studies (n = 1003) were included in the analyses. Programs had moderate effects for general stress (Hedge’s g = 0.410), internalizing psychological symptoms (Hedge’s g = 0.519), and well-being (Hedge’s g = 0.588). Small-to-moderate effects were observed for combined mindfulness (Hedge’s g = 0.295), parenting stress (Hedge’s g = 0.284), and parenting behavior (Hedge’s g = 0.299). Effects were not significant for parental interactions with children, marital outcomes, self-compassion, emotion regulation, general mindfulness, and mindful parenting. Subgroup analyses revealed that populations with medical conditions (Hedge’s g = 1.203) benefited more from MBPs compared to populations with psychological symptoms (Hedge’s g = 0.452). Furthermore, parents showed greater improvement on well-being when both parents and children engaged in mindfulness training (Hedge’s g = 0.838) compared to parents alone (Hedge’s g = 0.700). Results support the efficacy of MBPs in improving intrapersonal and interpersonal outcomes for parents. Diversity within the programs may contribute towards non-significant changes in general mindfulness and mindful parenting. Future studies should use standardized mindfulness-based parenting programs to enhance methodological rigor.
... Finkel, Eastwick, and Matthews (2007) described speed-dating as an invaluable, flexible paradigm for studying romantic attraction. Researchers have previously used this paradigm to study the initial stages of romantic attraction (Janz, Pepping, & Halford, 2015;Luo & Zhang, 2009), ideal mate preferences (Eastwick & Fin-kel, 2008), romantic decision making (Fisman, Iyengar, Kamenica, & Simonson, 2006), reciprocity (Eastwick, Finkel, Mochon, & Ariely, 2007), and perceived similarity (Tidwell, Eastwick, & Finkel, 2013). In the digital age social media is by far the most effective way to disseminate information, both personally and publicly. ...
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Mate copying, or mate-choice copying, refers to the heightened probability of choosing or preferring a prospective mate as a result of them having been previously chosen by another individual. First demonstrated in nonhuman species, increasing evidence suggests the phenomenon also occurs in humans. Mate copying may be considered a form of nonindependent mate choice, whereby individuals incorporate additional information supplied by conspecifics into the selective process. Such additional information would be especially advantageous to individuals (typically females) who face higher informational constraints in selecting mates, and who are subject to greater fitness costs in the process of selection or as a result of poor mate choice decisions. In nonhumans, mate copying occurs largely as a result of visual association, following a potential mate being observed in courtship with another opposite sex conspecific. In human beings, who use many informational modalities, including visual, verbal, social, and deductive reasoning, mate copying may be based on a wider variety of cues and factors. This article reviews the evidence for human mate copying, beginning with that predating, yet foreshadowing, recognition of the phenomenon. As the evidence is somewhat equivocal and inconsistent, an attempt to comprehend how methodological or other factors may increase, attenuate, or modulate the probability of human mate copying or its detection is undertaken. In particular, the additional roles of nonvisual or inferred information, such as a potential mate’s current availability, willingness to commit, their friendships with opposite sex peers, a former partner’s characteristics, the valence of information provided about a potential mate, expected duration of a relationship, and a rater’s level of experience in mate selection are considered.
... It has also been studied for its promotion of "attunement, connection, and closeness in relationships" (Brown et al., 2007, p. 225). Specifically, correlations have been found between mindfulness and empathy, perspective taking, and interpersonal cooperativeness (Haimerl & Valentine, 2001;Wachs & 220 Cordova, 2007), less reactivity and enhanced feelings of safety in existing relationships (Pruitt & McCollum, 2010), and greater initial romantic attraction during speed-dating scenarios (Janz, Pepping, & Halford, 2015). Likewise, improvements in parenting and coparenting (Bögels, Hellemans, Van Deursen, Römer, & Van Der Meulen, 2014) and more secure attachment styles (Jones, Welton, Oliver, & Thoburn, 2011) have been discovered to relate 225 to higher levels of mindfulness. ...
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In an attempt to better understand the nature and effects of listening well in relationships, participants (N = 137) in romantic relationships completed assessments of active-empathic listening (AEL), social-emotional skills, trait mindfulness, and relational quality (i.e., satisfaction and commitment). Based on previous research, we offered two models: In one, we argued that social-emotional skill, mediated by mindfulness, would predict self-reports of AEL; in the other, we hypothesized that AEL, mediated by social-emotional skill and trait mindfulness, would predict relational quality. We found some support for both models. Specifically, our analyses revealed that mindfulness positively mediated the relationship between one social skill, social expressivity, and AEL. In addition, a negative mediating relationship emerged between a second social skill (social sensitivity), mindfulness, and AEL. Our results also showed mindfulness mediating the relationship between the processing aspect of AEL and relational satisfaction.
... High dispositional mindfulness is associated with increased life satisfaction (Brown & Ryan, 2003), healthy emotion regulation (Baer et al., 2004;, lower depression and anxiety, more positive affect and less negative affect (Brown & Ryan, 2003), secure attachment (Pepping, O'Donovan, & Davis, 2014;Shaver, Lavy, Saron, & Mikulincer, 2007), and increased self-esteem . High dispositional mindfulness is also associated with romantic relationship satisfaction (Barnes, Brown, Krusemark, Campbell, & Rogge, 2007;Wachs & Cordova, 2007), initial romantic attraction in women (Janz, Pepping, & Halford, 2015) and satisfaction with interpersonal relationships (Pepping, O'Donovan, Zimmer-Gembeck, & Hanisch, 2014). In brief, individuals higher in dispositional mindfulness fare better than their less mindful counterparts on a wide range of psychological and social outcomes. ...
A large and coherent body of evidence reveals that high dispositional mindfulness is a positive personal resource, yet remarkably little is known about the origins of individual differences in mindfulness. Attachment theory describes how early experiences with caregivers shape psychosocial development across the lifespan. Drawing from attachment theory, we propose that those who have received sensitive and responsive caregiving in childhood are more likely to have a secure attachment style which may, in turn, provide greater capacity for mindfulness. In an adolescent sample attending a large urban university (Study 1), there were indirect effects of parental rejection and parental warmth on mindfulness via attachment anxiety and avoidance. In Study 2 we tested the same hypotheses in a group of adolescent high school students and replicated the above pattern of results. In brief, both retrospective reports (Study 1) and current reports (Study 2) of the quality of parenting received were associated with individual differences in mindfulness via attachment processes. This research suggests that the origins of individual differences in dispositional mindfulness may have their roots in early childhood experiences.
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Positive psychological research has clearly highlighted the importance of investigating factors that contribute to well-being. One factor contributing greatly to psychological well-being is mindfulness, which has been related to a wide range of positive outcomes, including healthy self-esteem. Here, we present two studies that aim to extend prior research on mindfulness and self-esteem. In Study 1, we propose and test a theoretically derived model of the role that mindfulness plays in the prediction of self-esteem and life satisfaction. Four facets of mindfulness significantly predicted increased self-esteem, which in turn predicted overall life satisfaction. In Study 2, we extended this study by examining the direct effects of a brief mindfulness induction on state self-esteem, and found that experimentally enhancing state mindfulness led to an increase in state self-esteem. The two studies presented clearly demonstrate that mindfulness and self-esteem are related, and, importantly, that mindfulness training has direct positive effects on self-esteem.
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Emotion regulation deficits are implicated in many forms of psychosocial distress. The aim of the present research was to investigate whether emotion regulation was the process underlying the well-established association between low dispositional mindfulness and greater psychosocial distress. Two studies are presented that examined whether non-acceptance of emotion and limited access to emotion regulation strategies were the processes underlying the association between low mindfulness and depression, anxiety, stress, general psychological symptoms, interpersonal distress, and social role difficulties in a student sample (Study 1) and a clinical sample (Study 2). In Study 1, there were indirect effects of mindfulness and symptom distress, depression, anxiety, stress, and social role difficulties through non-acceptance of emotions. There were indirect associations between mindfulness and symptom distress, interpersonal distress, social role difficulties, depression, anxiety, and stress through lack of access to emotion regulation strategies. In Study 2, there were indirect associations between mindfulness and psychological symptom distress, interpersonal distress, depression, anxiety, and stress through lack of access to emotion regulation strategies. In brief, emotion regulation difficulties are, at least in part, the process underlying the association of low dispositional mindfulness and psychosocial distress.
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Several recent studies have examined the association between mindfulness and attachment. However, close inspection of these studies suggests that the strength of this association may differ based on participants’ experience in mindfulness meditation. The aim of the present research was to examine a possible differential relationship between mindfulness and attachment in experienced and inexperienced mindfulness meditators. Results revealed that mindfulness and attachment were significantly related in both groups, but attachment anxiety and avoidance together accounted for more than twice the variance in mindfulness in experienced meditators compared with their inexperienced counterparts. The relationship between attachment anxiety and mindfulness was significantly stronger in the group of experienced meditators, such that this association was moderated by mindfulness meditation experience. This stronger association between attachment anxiety and mindfulness may reflect the beneficial effects of mindfulness training on both mindfulness and attachment anxiety and provides some evidence that mindfulness interventions may enhance secure attachment.
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In a sample of 59,169 persons in 42 nations, relations between marital status and subjective well-being were found to be very similar across the world. Although cultural variables were found to alter the size of certain relations between marital status and subjective well-being, the effect sizes were very small. Specifically, in terms of life satisfaction, the benefit of marriage over cohabitation was greater in collectivist than in individualist nations. In terms of positive emotions, the benefit of being married over being divorced or separated was smaller in collectivist than in individualist nations. In addition, in terms of negative emotions, the benefit of being married over being divorced or separated was smaller in nations with a high tolerance for divorce. Finally, the relations between marital status, culture, and subjective well-being did not differ by gender. Because of the small size of the effects of the cultural variables, the authors concluded that the relations between marital status and subjective well-being are very similar across the world.
Conscious efforts to improve relationships may fall short because the skillful navigation of relationships depends as much on automatic internal processes that occur outside of awareness as it does on conscious intentional effort. A growing body of research suggests that a particular form of mental training, mindfulness meditation, may improve the way the brain automatically processes and organizes relationship-relevant cognition and behavior. Mindfulness training appears to promote structural and functional changes in neural circuits that mediate attention, regulate physiology and emotion, and enhance or inhibit the capacity for empathy. After reviewing behavioral benefits and neural changes associated with mindfulness training, studies investigating the relationship between mindfulness and intimate relationship satisfaction and stability are examined. Efforts to integrate elements of mindfulness training into educational programs and therapies for couples are then reviewed. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2013 APA, all rights reserved)
Research has found that, for long-term dating, women value men with greater financial resources and higher status, while for short-term dating they value men with greater physical attractiveness. However, there are discrepant results for both long- and short-term dating. As most of the previous studies used only questionnaires, we conducted a field experiment to evaluate women’s receptivity to men’s date requests. Young male confederates who ostensibly had high, middle, or low incomes, depending on the experimental condition, asked young women walking down the street for their phone number. We found that men’s financial resources were positively associated with compliance with their request. Evolutionary theory proposing that women select men with greater resources for them and their offspring is used to explain the results.
How does the family affect the health of its adult members? It is in the family that the macro-level social and economic order affects individual physical and emotional well-being. This review presents a general model of understanding family and health that describes patterns of well-being, and then asks, "what explains these patterns?" Explanations are found in causal chains, conditional effects, and "structural amplification." The review summarizes and synthesizes ideas and findings about four factors: marriage and parenthood (which define the family), and the wife's or mother's employment and the family's social status (which connect it to the larger social order). Overall, the married are in better health than the nonmarried, but parents are not better off than nonparents. Women's employment and high family socioeconomic status tend to be associated with good physical and psychological health. Under what circumstances are these basic patterns found, and what explains these patterns—what links structure to individual health? Economic well-being and social support are considered as the basic explanations. Concluding comments point to the need for more studies of the impact of family on the sense of control, which could be an important link to health.
Evolutionary theory views gender differences in romantic attraction as large, biologically based, and caused by evolutionary forces. The greatest differences lie in men's attraction to appearance and women's attraction to status. Social construction theory, on the other hand, views gender differences in attraction as minor and as being caused primarily by social forces such as norms and stereotypes. Ninety-three American and 89 Israeli young men and women were interviewed concerning their most significant intimate relationship, in order to test the contradictory predictions of these two theories. An analysis of the interviews provides partial support for both theories: As predicted by evolutionary theory, men were more attracted by appearance. Contrary to its prediction, however, there was no gender difference in status as a cause of attraction. Furthermore, gender differences were found where evolutionary theory does not predict them and not found where expected. As predicted by social construction theory, culture had an effect on attraction. These findings suggest a need for an integrated theory of romantic attraction that combines aspects of both theories.
Interest in mindfulness and its enhancement has burgeoned in recent years. In this article, we discuss in detail the nature of mindfulness and its relation to other, established theories of attention and awareness in day-to-day life. We then examine theory and evidence for the role of mindfulness in curtailing negative functioning and enhancing positive outcomes in several important life domains, including mental health, physical health, behavioral regulation, and interpersonal relationships. The processes through which mindfulness is theorized to have its beneficial effects are then discussed, along with proposed directions for theoretical development and empirical research.