Study applied social sciences and learn about Individuals and Society.
A distance learning course providing you with a solid foundation in the social sciences.
The dynamic nature of today's world offers opportunities like we have never seen before, but at the same time, it is potentially more disruptive to the individual's well being, than ever before.
- Learning about social sciences creates a foundation for working with people anywhere; helping individuals or groups, in welfare services, counselling, or any other situation involving managing or helping people.
- Course Duration: Approximately 1,500 hours of self paced studies.
FACTORS AFFECTING INTERPERSONAL ATTRACTION
Interpersonal attraction is the dynamic that motivates people to approach another and make a positive evaluation of each other. It refers to the positive feelings we have about another person and can take many forms, such as –
It might be only be active for a short time, such as during a party, and not result in the development of a relationship, or it might bring together people who then form and maintain a lasting relationship. What draws us to that other person can vary from situation to situation. At a party, we might be drawn by the other person’s vivacity and appearance, or a look in their eyes that suggests some possibilities. At work, we might be attracted by another’s calm, competent demeanour and appearance of success.
Research strongly suggests that we form more positive impressions of people who are physically attractive, and are therefore more likely to be attracted to them. Research has shown that romantic attraction is primarily determined by physical attractiveness. In the early stages of dating, people tend to be attracted by partners who they consider physically attractive. Men have been found to value physical attractiveness as more important than women.
Other research by students has found that most of us deny this, and list physical appearance as of much lesser importance, from which we can infer that we are more attracted by physical appearance, but are a little embarrassed to admit it, perhaps because it might make us look shallow. Dion, Berscheid, and Walster (1972) found that when we meet at attractive person, we tend to believe that they share similar attitudes to us, are successful, and have a good personality. Fortunately, we all find different things attractive, and most of us have other criteria for forming a relationship as well, so even the unattractive among us (those that only a mother would consider beautiful) can be
attractive in some way to another.
In fact, physical appearance can lose its initial impact if all of our inferences about it (that this is a kind, good person who shares our general outlook) prove false. Many of us have the experience of finding a person whom we initially found physically attractive on a closer look, or of realising that a person we once considered decidedly unattractive, even ugly, has truly beautiful in our eyes. People’s perception of their own physical attractiveness also plays a role in romantic love. The Matching Hypothesis suggests that people tend to pick partners who are about equal to them in level of attractiveness.
Some argue that in addition to social values regarding beauty, we have an inherent tendency to seek out attractive partners that is based on our biology. Men and women are biologically pre-disposed to seek partners who will ensure the best chances of producing and caring for healthy, surviving children. This means that men will seek out younger, more fertile women, and women will seek out more successful, capable, physically fit, and kinder men. Research does support this theory, showing that men place greater emphasis
on physical attractiveness, and women, on socio-economic status.
We tend to be attracted to people who are similar to us in some respects, such as appearance, interests, attitudes, ages, and ethnic background. Though we tend to be attracted to more physically attractive people, we may not try to initiate or grow a relationship with them, possibly in order to maintain our own self-esteem, or maybe, as some psychologists have suggested, because if we are not as attractive as that person, we don’t believe we have much of a chance with them. In fact, some research indicates that where one person in a couple is decidedly more attractive than the other, the relationship tends not to last.
Similar interests can encourage people to engage in more shared activities, and can give them a greater appreciation of what the other does and can do, both of which can help create stronger bonds between people. Similar attitudes ensure that people in a relationship can express themselves without much fear of having their opinions seriously challenged or disparaged, again, ensuring helping to protect their self-esteem, and also creating an environment conducive to free and intimate exchange of ideas and opinions.
The more familiar we are with something, the more positive our attitude towards it becomes. This means that we tend to associate more with people that we interact with frequently, and not to form relationships with those whom we do not meet often. Familiarity is a key factor in the development of a relationship, and without repeated association, two people who might initially be highly attracted to each other are unlikely to form a lasting relationship. The more we interact with someone, the more likely we are to find them attractive.
We respond positively to those who show interest in us, and help us feel good about ourselves. In one experiment by Geller et al (1974), students were shown to be greatly distressed at being ignored, and even felt more negatively about themselves as a result. Attention and positive regard meet a deep-seated urge in us to be accepted, appreciated and noticed.
Where Might this Course Lead You?
Understanding society gives you valuable skills to work with people in contexts as varied as welfare or leisure services, to marketing and personnel management.
Learn why people interact well or poorly.
You may begin this course with preconceptions about the career you might have; but in the light of what you learn, your awareness of what you might do will expand well beyond what can be imagined at the start.
The reality is that the world is changing so fast; and new employment opportunities are emerging from the shadows every day. The one thing that is not changing though is that man is a social being; and so long as we live as part of a society, their will be a career advantage for anyone who understands the interactions that happen between people. As a graduate you may find employment in any of the following situations; or in a range of other situations that as yet have not even been conceived.
- Community Services
- Health Services
- Youth Work
- Social Welfare
- Employment Services
- Personnel Management
- Sales and Marketing
If you have any questions about the course, please don't hesitate to contact one of our social sciences tutors.