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Learning Objectives

After studying this chapter, you should be able to:

  1. Describe the role of propinquity in attraction. Distinguish between physical and functional distance. Explain why the propinquity effect works.
  2. Discuss the importance of similarity in attraction. For what kinds of attributes does similarity seem to be important? Explain how similarity seems to be a self-reinforcing mechanism. Describe three reasons why we like people whose characteristics and beliefs are similar to our own.
  3. Discuss the importance of reciprocal liking in attraction. Discuss the role of self-esteem in reciprocal liking.
  4. Discuss the consequences of physical attractiveness for liking strangers and for maintaining relationships. Describe whether there is a sex difference in the importance of physical attractiveness. Identify the facial features associated with high attractiveness in females and in males. Describe the evidence for a universal standard of beauty.
  5. Describe the underlying variable that links attractiveness, propinquity, and similarity.
  6. Describe the “what is beautiful is good” stereotype and explain how this stereotype might produce a self-fulfilling prophecy. Describe cross-cultural similarities and differences in the stereotype.
  7. Identify the basic concepts of social exchange theory. Distinguish between comparison level and comparison level for alternatives.
  8. Describe equity theory and indicate how partners in a relationship respond when they are over- or under-benefited in an inequitable relationship. Identify how equity theory differs from social exchange theory.
  9. Identify obstacles to the study of long-term, close relationships.
  10. Distinguish between passionate and companionate types of love proposed by Hatfield. Discuss cross-cultural differences in the importance of these two kinds of love.
  11. Discuss cultural differences in how people label the experiences of romantic love and in how they make decisions to marry. Identify cultural differences in love styles.
  12. Describe how Rusbult’s investment model extends social exchange theory. Identify the three things we need to know in order to predict whether people will stay in an intimate relationship.
  13. Describe how partners’ concerns with equity differ depending on whether the partners are involved in an exchange or in a communal relationship. Identify the types of relationships that are likely to be communal.
  14. Describe evolutionary biology’s explanation of the experience of romantic love. Identify the differences between men and women in the characteristics involved in mate selection and the different strategies of men and women in romantic relationships. Discuss support for sociobiological theory and discuss alternative explanations.
  15. Identify the key assumption of attachment theory and distinguish between the three attachment styles. Discuss the implications of this theory for people’s experience of intimate relationships. Discuss whether attachment style can change. Describe support for attachment theory and identify a qualification of this research.
  16. Discuss research findings in the area of relationship dissolution. Identify the five different methods that people use in ending a relationship. Describe Duck’s four-step process of relationship dissolution. Describe Rusbult’s typology of four types of behavior that occur in troubled relationships. Discuss the relational dialectics approach to the breakup of relationships, and describe what qualities characterize “fatal attractions.”
  17. Identify the most important determinant of how people feel after a romantic relationship is terminated. Identify individual and situational factors that determine whether ex-loved ones will want to remain friends.

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