Living in a Social World
Psy 324: Advanced Social Psychology
Fall, 1996
Miami University

Finding Perfection in a Modern World

Ed Berger, Ben Krieger, and Jamie Tubbs

From Modern World, by Tom Tomorrow

Our cartoon, taken from "This Modern World" by Tom Tomorrow, was related to the social psychological concept of interpersonal attraction. Our group specifically focused on the self-evaluation maintenance theory and physical attraction (as described in the textbook, Chapter 8). Class response was positive and members contributed personal experiences that correlated with the proposed theories. Previous Web assignments related to interpersonal attraction were also discussed.

The self-evaluation maintenance theory (Tesser) states that people in relationships need to maintain their self-esteem. While similar/compatible personality characteristics are positive in a relationship, similar interests/talents can prove troublesome. The theory maintains that people want to avoid threats to their self-image, and if their partner performs better than them in a relative task, this image can be hurt. For example, an individual who is an unsuccessful artist might become jealous of their successful, artistic partner.

Dutton and Aron (1974) propose the theory that emotional arousal can lead to heightened romantic/repulsive feelings. For example, if an individual is aroused by surrounding stimuli (a rickety bridge, for example), they will attribute these emotions to the person they're with. If this person is attractive, they will now be viewed as more attractive, and vice versa.

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Social Psychology / Miami University (Ohio USA). Last revised: Thursday, April 18, 2002 at 15:17:10. This document has been accessed 1,528 +  1  times since 1 June 1996. Comments & Questions to R. Sherman