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I’m working on a psychology writing question and need an explanation to help me study.

After working out at the campus gym, Devin met a fellow student (Casey) on their way to the cafeteria. Both enjoy running, and it turns out that they are majoring in the same subject. Shortly after meeting, Devin and Casey started dating. Given what you have learned in this


, please discuss three reasons why Devin and Casey might have started a relationship. To fully answer this question, it is important that you reference the lecture


, textbook, and notes.

The Laws of Attraction
Process of Mate Selection
Propinquity, Similarity, Familiarity
(“pool of eligibles”)
Appearance, Personality, Status
and Context effects
Reciprocal Liking
Propinquity (Proximity)
• The closer two people are physically, the more
likely it is that an attraction will develop
• Attributable to the mere exposure effect
• Familiarity leads to liking
• Proximity may also suggest shared interests
There is much evidence that humans engage in assortative mating (i.e.,
matching with similar partners)
Selecting similar partners may bolster self-esteem by validating our own
However, similarity is not a sufficient condition for relationship success, and
not everyone is attracted to similar others
In fact, interracial and interreligious marriages are on the rise
BUT…Opposites Attract
•More true for interpersonal style (dominant vs. submissive)
• Lower availability increases perceptions of
• Pennebaker et al. (1979): as closing time approaches, other
patrons in a bar become more attractive
• Playing “hard to get” appears to increase desirability as a
dating partner
Affective Influence
• Positive affect leads us to evaluate others favorably;
negative affect leads to disliking
Consequently, “negging” is unlikely to be a particularly effective pick-up
Priming participants with pleasant or unpleasant stimuli affects liking for a
Physical Attractiveness
• Judgments of attractiveness have a biopsychosocial basis
• Attractive people are desired because they are positively
• Men tend to value attractiveness more than women (but women
still care about looks)
Physiological Arousal
If one is already physiologically aroused when meeting a new person, the
odds of attraction increase
Dutton and Aron (1974) shaky bridge study
When there are potential competing sources of arousal, we may misattribute
the source
Neurochemical Factors
• Pheromones may increase a partner’s desirability
• Dopamine and serotonin levels may facilitate or
inhibit arousal and attraction
• Oxytocin may enhance attraction by creating a
feeling of bondedness
Neurochemical Factors
Attraction Processes
• There are many similarities across sexual orientations
regarding the attraction process
• Notable differences:
• Similarity effect is not as strong
• Gay and lesbian couples more likely to be interracial and
• Propinquity may play a lesser role because many gays and
lesbians are not “out” and are increasingly meeting online
Facial Attractiveness
• Is “beauty in the eye of the beholder?”
• not entirely
• high agreement across raters, even babies!
• suggested objective, maybe quantifiable
Additional Aspects of Facial
• Smooth, clear skin
• White teeth
• Clear, sparkling eyes
• Color (e.g., in lips, eyes, skin)
• Lustrous hair
• Symmetry
Bodily Attractiveness
Are there any female “universals?”
One: waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) of 0.7
Measurement of waist hip ratio: In a lean person (left), the waist can be
measured at its narrowest point, while for a person with convex waist
(right), it may be measured at about one inch above the navel. The hip
is measured at its widest portion of the buttocks.
What, if anything, Does WHR convey?
• About female health
• About female fertility
• About female age
Bodily Attractiveness
• Breast size
• individual variability
• cultural variability
• links to health/fertility
• Butt size
• same story
“I like big butts and I can not lie
You other brothers can’t deny
That when a girl walks in with an itty bitty
And a round thing in your face
You get sprung”
(citation: Sir Mixalot – Baby Got Back, 1992)
Bodily Attractiveness
Are there any male “universals?”
Yes, two:
waist-to-hip ratio (WHR)
shoulder-to-hip ratio (SHR)
Personality & Character
• kind, understanding
• funny
• intelligent
• honest
• positive personality
• easy going
• creative, artistic
• dependable
Status & Resources
• Material resources
• Power / Status
Physical strength
Mental power (competence/confidence)
Social dominance (social presence, social respect
& influence, intrasexual competitiveness,
• Intelligence
Sex Differences
Men tend to place more value than women on:
Physical appearance
Youth (younger partner than them)
Good health
Housekeeping skills
Women tend to place more value than men on:
Social status / Resources
Ambition / Industriousness
Desire for home / children
Kindness / Dependability / Honesty / Comm skills
US Partner Preferences Over Time
Short-term vs. Long -term
• For short-term partners
• Most important;
• Physical attractiveness
• Physical & Social Masculinity (for women)
• Risk taking
• Extroversion
• Less Important:
• Personality
• Chastity/non-promiscuity
• Social status/Resources (for women)
Evolutionary Theory
• Men’s best strategy is to have many short-term
encounters with healthy & fertile women
• May explain modern heterosexual men’s emphasis on waist-tohip ratio, age, and appearance
• Women’s best strategy is to pursue long-term
relationships with reliable men
• May explain modern heterosexual women’s emphasis on status
and resources
Ideal Preferences vs. Real Life
• Sex differences in ideal preferences (for looks v.
resources) are much smaller in real life
• Initial attraction contexts
• Relationship contexts (dating & marriage)
• Individual ideal preferences do predict real-life choices
• Getting your ideal preference does not mean greater
relational success & happiness
OKCupid Experiments
Love is Blind Day (1/15/13)…new conversations went way down, BUT…
People responded to first messages 44% more often
Conversations went deeper.
Contact details were exchanged more quickly.
Conversations died at 4pm, when the pictures returned.
Flipping Matches
OKCupid studies
Gender Differences in
Receptivity to Sexual Offers
Tappé, M., Bensman, L., Hayashi, K., & Hatfield, E. (2013). Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers: A new research
prototype. Interpersona, 7(2), 323.
Study 1 : Students were given a consent form and a two-page packet. At the
top of the first page appeared a picture of a fairly attractive college man or
Participants were asked three questions:
Imagine this person comes up to you while you are walking to class and says: “I
have noticed you around campus. I find you very attractive.” How would you
respond to the following questions?
Will you go on a date with me?
Will you come back to my apartment?
Will you go to bed with me tonight?
Gender Differences in
Receptivity to Sexual Offers
Tappé, M., Bensman, L., Hayashi, K., & Hatfield, E. (2013). Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers: A new research
prototype. Interpersona, 7(2), 323.
Study 2 : Students were given a consent form and a two-page packet. At the
top of the first page appeared a picture of a fairly attractive college man or
Participants were randomly assigned to answer just one of three questions:
Imagine this person comes up to you while you are walking to class and says: “I
have noticed you around campus. I find you very attractive.” How would you
respond to the following questions?
Will you go on a date with me?
Will you come back to my apartment?
Will you go to bed with me tonight?
Gender Differences in
Receptivity to Sexual Offers
Tappé, M., Bensman, L., Hayashi, K., & Hatfield, E. (2013). Gender differences in receptivity to sexual offers: A new research
prototype. Interpersona, 7(2), 323.
Study 3 : Students were given a consent form and a two-page packet. Students
were not “forced” to participate and they were also able to select a picture
they believed to be attractive
Imagine you are not in a relationship and this person approaches you while you are
walking to meet friends for lunch and says, “Hey, you were in my class last semester and I
think you are really cute.” He or she proceeds with, “You seem like you’re a pretty nice
person. I wish I’d had a chance to talk with you before. I don’t mean to be forward and
this is unusual for me, but I was wondering if….
Will you go on a date with me?
Will you come back to my apartment?
Will you go to bed with me tonight?
Why are some people attracted to one
person and not another?
Why are some people attracted to
Why are some people not attracted to
Why does attraction change throughout
Relationships & Intimacy
• Affection: Liking/fondness without deep emotional or passionate
• Infatuation: Strong sexual attraction based on resemblance to an
“ideal” or “fantasy”
• Intimacy: Sense of closeness
• Emotional, intellectual, social and/or spiritual
• May or may not be sexual
• Involves taking the “risk” of self-disclosure
Love: “Deeper” than affection or intimacy
Single vs. Partnered?
According to research cited in your book, do single people tend to
have sex more frequently than people in relationships?
The Importance Of
• Humans have a need to belong, a near universal desire
for social ties (Baumeister & Leary, 1995)
• Relationships are important for our physical and
psychological well-being
• We can fulfill our relational needs in many ways
What Is A Relationship?
• How does each partner define it? How does the couple define it?
• Is it only official when you change your relationship status on
• But maybe “It’s Complicated.”
• Is it after some researcher-determined time frame?
• What do we count as success?
• Marriage? Lack of dissolution?
• Sex
• Satisfaction
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs – 1943
The Nature of Love
• Love is a special set of cognitions, emotions,
and behaviors observed in an intimate
• There are two main types of love studied by
psychologists: passionate & companionate
Passionate Love
• All-consuming physical and psychological state
• Feelings are very intense early on and decrease over
• Sets in before partner is known very well
• Usually temporary
Companionate Love
• Much deeper and less intense state
characterized by intimacy and commitment
• Based upon full knowledge of other person’s
• Develops gradually over time and tends to be
more enduring
• Passionate love often develops into
companionate love
Harlow’s Monkeys
Prerequisites for Intimacy and Love
• Erik Erikson
• Trust vs. Mistrust
• Autonomy vs. Shame
• Initiative vs. Guilt
• Identity vs. Role Confusion
• Intimacy vs. Isolation
Prerequisites for Intimacy and Love
• Positive self concept
• Self-acceptance
• Confident and self-sufficient
• Accept one’s own strengths and shortcomings
• Having had loving caring parents (helpful, but
not necessary)
Prerequisites for
Intimacy and Love
• Self-disclosure: exchange of vulnerability
• Distinguishes intimacy from infatuation
• Emotional intimacy can be more difficult than sexual intimacy
• Reveal your needs, feelings, emotions, and values
• Gender differences:
• Hill (2002) says:
• men find assertiveness in women as evidence of interest
• women find trust-building in men as evidence of interest
• Perrin et al. (2011) found that the only stable gender difference across
cultures was that the desire for relationship support was greater among
Theories of Love
• Attachment
• Sternberg’s Triangle
• Investment Model
Attachment Theory
• “…any behavior that results in a person attempting or retaining
proximity to some other differentiated and preferred individual…”
(Bowlby, 1977)
Attachment is a deep and enduring emotional bond that connects one
person to another across time and space (Ainsworth, 1973; Bowlby, 1969).
• Early behavior patterns influence adult attachment style (Ainsworth,
• Developmental change is also possible.
• Based on ‘Strange Situation’ research
Attachment Theory
• How parental relationships shape us…
• Children in a strange situation display patterns of
• Secure
• Anxious-ambivalent
• Anxious -avoidant
• Disorganized
• Most commonly associated with abuse
Attachment Across the Lifespan
• Initial expectancies developed with caregivers
• Generalized to peers
• Influence on romantic relationships
• Mental health is predicted by attachment
• And in turn predicts relationship quality
Predictors of Adult Attachment Style
• Age
• Adolescence associated with increased dismissive
• Older age associated with greater security
• Race/Culture
• Greater avoidant attachment in non-White ethnic groups
• Income (socio-economic status)
• Lower income associated with greater anxious attachment
Attachment Theory:
In Adulthood
Secure attachment
• not defensive or dependent on others
• enjoys being together or alone, no fear of abandonment
Anxious-Ambivalent attachment (preoccupied)
• much less trusting; jealous; possessive
• constant proof of “one & only”
Anxious-Avoidant attachment (fearful)
• not comfortable with intimacy or closeness
• sexually brief, affectionless encounters
Consequences of Insecure Attachment
Negative mental health outcomes (Riggs, Vosvick, &
Stallings, 2007)
• Sexual Risk taking (Ciesla, Roberts, & Hewitt 2004).
• Impaired sexual functioning within established heterosexual couples
(Brassard, Shaver, & Lussier, 2007)
• Increased sexual pressure
• Avoidance of sexual encounters
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory
Three basic components that make up the three corners of
a triangle
• Intimacy
• Passion
• Decision/commitment
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory
• Intimacy Component
• Emotional
• Involves feelings of warmth, closeness, connection, and
• Passion Component
• Motivational
• Consists of drives involved in romantic & physical
attraction and desire for sexual involvement
• Decision/Commitment Component
• Largely cognitive
• Short-term decision and longer-term commitment
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory
The three
components of
love combine to
produce eight
different love types
Sternberg’s Eight Varieties of Love
Type of Love
Close friends
Empty Love
Some arranged marriages
Fatuous Love
Long-distance relationships
Romantic Love
Friends with benefits
Companionate Love
Long-term, happy couples
Consummate Love
“Epic” romances
The Nature of Commitment
• Often overlaps with love, but is a distinct construct
• Viewed as a cognition about a relationship – an intention to
remain with one’s partner
• The Investment Model of commitment (Rusbult, 1980)
• Commitment is driven by three factors: satisfaction,
alternatives, and investments
The Investment Model
• 1. Satisfaction: one’s subjective evaluation of the relationship
• Are we getting what we think we deserve?
• 2. Alternatives: how desirable are other partners and relationship
• Could you get a better deal elsewhere?
• 3. Investments: everything you have put into the relationship
• Both tangible and intangible
The Investment Model
• Commitment is strongest when we are highly satisfied, have
invested much, and perceive poor-quality alternatives
• Can help explain why people stay in both good and bad
Varieties of Loving and
Committed Relationships
Monogamous vs. nonmonogamous
• Consensual nonmonogamy: an explicit agreement to have
sexual or romantic relationships with others
Types of consensual nonmonogamy
• Open relationships: relationship “home base,” but ability to pursue outside partners
• Swinging: temporary swapping of marital partners
• Polygamy: marriage with multiple spouses
Polygyny vs. polyandry
• Polyamory: multiple sexual and/or romantic partners simultaneously, with or without
• “Monogamish”: sex with others when partners are together (i.e., threesomes)
Many beliefs about nonmonogamy are unfounded
e.g., idea that nonmonogamy is always unsafe and monogamy is always
Characteristics of Good
Positive Communication
Gottman (1994): biggest predictor of early divorce was ratio of positive to
negative comments that occurred in a videotaped discussion
Defensive behaviors such as stonewalling (i.e., indifference to partner’s
concerns) also predicted early breakup
Healthy Sexuality
Couples who communicate more in bed are more sexually satisfied
(Babin, 2013)
Both verbal and nonverbal communication are important
Sexual communal strength is part of a healthy relationship
i.e., willingness to satisfy partner’s needs even when they do not align with your
Characteristics of Good
• Humans have a fundamental need to “expand” the self over
time (Aron & Aron, 1986)
• Relationships are a form of expansion, but we must continue to
engage in novel and exciting activities with our partners to keep
meeting those expansion needs
The Dark Side of Relationships
Social Disapproval
• Perceived disapproval is linked to a greater likelihood of breakup
and poor health (Lehmiller & Agnew, 2007; Lehmiller, 2012)
Insecurity and Jealousy
• Feelings may stem from many sources
• Attachment styles: patterns of approaching and developing
• Secure: easy time getting close, no fear of abandonment
• Anxious: partner does not get as close as desired, fear that partner will
leave (greater insecurity and jealousy)
• Avoidant: uncomfortable with intimacy and dependence on others
The Dark Side of Relationships
• Nonconsensual nonmonogamy: when a monogamy
agreement is violated
• Estimates of cheating prevalence vary depending upon
how infidelity is defined, type of sample, etc.
• People’s own personal definitions of cheating vary
• Cheating often precipitates breakup and divorce
Understanding jealousy
When irrational, we can eliminate
some of its pain
Can help cement or destroy a
Often linked to violence in
marriages and dating relationships
It is an aversive response
Occurs because of a partner’s real,
imagined, or likely involvement with
a third person
Sets boundaries for behaviors that
are acceptable in relationships
• Psychological dimension
• Makes one feel less attractive and
acceptable to the partner
• Enriches relationships and sparks
• Sex differences in the context and
expression of jealousy
• Men more than women are
upset by a partner’s sexual
• Women more than men are
upset by a partner’s emotional
• Managing jealousy
• Irrational jealousy can be dealt
with by addressing the underlying
causes of insecurity
• If the jealousy is well founded, the
partner may need to modify or
end the relationship with the third
• Understanding and insightful
thinking is the best way to deal
with jealousy
Jealousy – Extradyadic Involvement
Dating and cohabiting relationships
Exclusive marriages and partnerships
Nonexclusive marriages and partnerships
Open in which intimate but nonsexual
friendships with others are encouraged
Open in which outside sexual relationships
are allowed
Group marriage/multiple relationships
• Open marriage
• Swingers or polyamorists
Jealousy – Extradyadic Involvement
Sexual or romantic relationships outside of
a primary relationship
Forms of extradyadic involvement
Sexual but not emotional
Sexual and emotional
Emotional but not sexual
The Nature of Communication
Communication is a transactional process
Cultural context
• Language that is used
• Values, beliefs, and customs associated with it
Social context
• Status – A person’s position or ranking in a group is
Psychological context
• Determines how people communicate
• Individuals are unique
Nonverbal communication
• Typically, communication of feeling is nonverbal –
Proximity, eye contact, touching
Sexual Behavior*
*Sexual Images
Sexual Behavior: Variation
• Sexual expression is fundamentally individualized and
varies over the course of our lives.
• So how do we know what we want and like?
• Sexual desire is affected by physical, emotional,
and sexual relationship issues
• Self-awareness, communication, and safe
exploration are key
• Frequency varies considerably
• Sexual Orientation & Identity ≠ Sexual Behavior
What does “Sexually Active” mean?
Sexual Daydreaming & Fantasy
• Most men and women fantasize and daydream.
• Fantasies can increase sexual pleasure.
• The source of fantasies are not always obvious.
• May offer a clue to our current interests, pleasures, anxieties,
fears, or problems
• May be completely different than what we’d actually like.
People who report fantasizing have fewer sexual problems
Allow us to plan for situations that may arise
Provide escape from a dull or oppressive environment
Bring novelty and excitement into the relationship
Being “sexually active” does not
mean just one thing…
According to the NSSHB, Americans reported 41 different combinations of
sex acts during their most recent sexual encounter
Sexual activity patterns vary across the lifespan, but older adults remain
sexual beings
Many older adults continue to have active pleasurable sex lives, reporting a
range of different behaviors and partner types, however adults over the age of
40 have the lowest rates of condom use. Although these individuals may not be
as concerned about pregnancy, this suggests the need to enhance education
efforts for older individuals regarding STI risks and prevention.
Solitary Sexual Behaviors
Asexuality and celibacy
Asexuality refers to a lack of desire for partnered sex. It is best considered a
sexual orientation
Celibacy refers to refraining from sex among persons who have sexual desire
• Celibacy can be complete, partial, or involuntary
• Experiences with celibacy vary
• Viewed as a form of sexual expression
Autoeroticism: Masturbation
• Negative attitudes stem from religious and cultural
beliefs focused on procreation.
• No negative mental or physical health effects from
masturbation—actually quite beneficial!
• Common among both humans and some primates
• Reasons for masturbation
Relief of sexual tension
Partner is not available or does not want sex
Physical pleasure
An aid to falling asleep
Means to avoid STIs
• An important means of learning about our bodies
• Still do it when we have partner(s) (maybe more often!)
• Influenced by education, ethnicity, religion, and age
Education is a particularly strong factor
Masturbation & Sexual Aides
Originally developed by doctors to treat hysteria, a
diagnosis formerly given to women thought to have a
“wandering uterus”
Stigma (and some laws) about vibrators
Masters & Johnson advocated use
Can enhance knowledge and erotic dimensions of
Important to keep toys clean.
Kissing & Touching
Social and developmental significance
Touching and Foreplay
Manual and/or oral stimulation of breasts
Manual and/or oral stimulation of genitalia
Sex toys, erotica, fantasy, sexual talk
Mutual Masturbation & Tribadism
Mutual masturbation and tribadism as
a prelude to sex or as a shared erotic
Sexual Activities:
Mutual oral–genital stimulation (69)
Oral–anal stimulation (Analingus or
Don’t assume
Many variations and themes
Preferences vary by person and by pairing
Four most common positions
Penile-Vaginal Intercourse:
Missionary Position
Face-to-face, man-on-top (for heterosexual sex)
Eye contact
Breast contact
Pelvic thrusting may be easier for the man
Leaves bottom partner hands-free
Men may ejaculate more quickly
Weight imbalance
Penile-Vaginal Intercourse:
Woman on Top
Face-to-face, woman-on-top (in
hetero sex)
Greater control for women
Good angle for clitoral contact and
Can work better than other position with
semi-erect penises
Can be difficult/tiring to achieve a
Penile-Vaginal Intercourse:
Face-to-face, side-to-side
Both partners are bearing their own weight and lying down
Allows for kissing, breast stimulation, and hands free
Can be awkward
Less clitoral stimulation
Penile-Vaginal Intercourse:
Rear Entry
Rear Entry: front to back
Allows for deeper penetration (can also be a
Allows both partners to bear their own weight
Rear partner is hands free
Good during pregnancy
Less clitoral stimulation
May lack intimacy of face-to-face positions for
some people
Anal Intercourse
• Anal intercourse is a variation, NOT a
• Practiced by ALL types of couples
• Requires substantial lubrication
• Can be done in many positions
• Both men and women can achieve
orgasm during anal sex
• Riskiest for HIV transmission
• Though it is the least common behavior
among gay men
Sexual Behavior in Psychological
Self-Regulatory Theory
• Humans have a limited ability to exert self-control
• When self-control abilities are low, we are less able to resist
• Two types of self-control are relevant to sexual behavior:
• Trait self-control: overall, chronic level of self-control
• State self-control: control abilities at any given moment (subject
to depletion)
Self-regulation and Sexual
• Lower trait self-control linked to riskier sexual
behaviors (Raffaelli & Crockett, 2003)
• Lower state self-control linked to flirting with
someone other than one’s partner (Pronk et al., 2011)
Sexual Behavior in Psychological
Attachment Theory
• Stefanou & McCabe (2012):
• Anxious attachment linked to more frequent sex and sex as a
means of getting closer to a partner
• Avoidant attachment linked to less frequent sex and sex for
non-romantic reasons
• Anxious attachment also linked to less frequent condom use
(Strachman & Impett, 2009)
Health benefits
Cardiovascular health
Immune functioning
Bladder control
Lower stress*
Cognitive functioning
Longer life
Relationship benefits
Likely bidirectional relationship

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