The Importance Of Physical Attractiveness In Psychology

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In psychology, physical attractiveness is defined as the degree to which a person’s physical features are considered aesthetically pleasing or beautiful. The term often implies sexual attractiveness or desirability, but can also be distinct from either.

Although proximity, being close to one’s potential partner geographically, and similarity, sharing personal characteristics such as social status and religion, are vitally important, evidence suggests that initially, physical attractiveness is the driving factor of attraction.

Attraction is not just a ‘spark’ feeling, but a combination of many instruments. Vital components of attraction include: physical features, one’s voice, sex appeal, good health, height, extroversion, charisma, confidence,
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Physical appearance is generally the first initial impression we gain of one another and thus may be the only information upon which new relationship partners can base their attitudes toward the relationship and their potential partner (Dion, Berscheid, & Walster, 1972). We use physical attractiveness as a gatekeeper directing us toward partners who are healthy, age-appropriate, and able to reproduce (Weeden and Sabini, 2005). Therefore, we naturally choose to pursue relationships with those who are attractive to us (Luo and Zhang, 2009).

An important phenomenon that elaborates on this point is ‘assortative mating’. Assortative mating refers to the tendency for individuals to be paired with mates who have similar physical, behavioral, and psychological characteristics (Lutz, 1905; Lykken & Tellegen, 1993). It involves matching with people who have similar phenotypes, more frequently than you would have in a random mating situation. This further leads to people settling into long-term relationships with people with a similar perceived level of physical
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of Social Work, he stated that on a number of occasions during his research and professional life, he encountered couples who admitted to establishing long-term relationships with little or no physical attraction to their partners. These couples were motivated to enter relationships with the promise of security, both financially and emotionally, and often by pressures from family and friends. However, he concluded that out of these cases, it was very rarely that the couples lived happily for the length of their marriage. The negative effects on the relationship that a lack of physical attraction brings are numerous. These effects include a poor sex life, likelihood of affairs, ‘nitpicking’ or partners finding small characteristics of their partner irritating or displeasing, distance, a lack of respect and a lack of affection. These effects directly oppose many of the critical components for a healthy relationship and Aron et al.’s (1989) eleven psychological reasons for falling in love, which are: similarity, propinquity, desirable characteristics, reciprocal liking, social influences, filling needs, arousal, specific cues, readiness, isolation and mystery. Aron et al.’s 1989 research shows the several components of falling in love, but not the weight that each segment carries, therefore not fully indicating how important physical attraction

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