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Attractiveness as a function of time

  1. Jan 27, 2008 #1

    DaveC426913

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    It has been said, and I have experienced, the effect of exposure time on the increase in attractiveness of women. I'm going to presume this the generally the same for other men. I presume the same thing might happen for women's impressions of men, but I can't speak to that.

    This usually happens in the workplace where repeated contact with someone is commonplace. When I first start at a new place, I'll meet new girls and get a first superficial impression of them. I will first see the flaws in them - a big nose, a weak chin, etc. etc. This is not a conscious thing, it's just the first impression I see what makes them unique.

    But after days or weeks of intreraction with them, as I get to know them, these things disappear and I start seeing them as more and more attractive. Surely this has many factors involved - as I see them smile, or as I selectively remember times when they are at their most flattering (I'll choose to remember the angora sweater and forget the track suit).

    Now, I presume that much of the effect comes from getting to know them. As I interact with them, I appreciate them more and get to know them and like them, and I'm sure that baises my impression of their attractiveness. There's nothing that makes a woman more beautiful than a smile on her face - especialy if she's smiling at me! In fact, if my interaction is quite positive, I can find them quite attractive. (If I were a rating man, their "standing" would climb up the charts).

    But here's my question: does it work in reverse? If you meet someone and form a first impression of their attractiveness, and then they turn out to not get along with you at all, has anyone experienced the effect of someone starting to appear less attractive?
     
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  3. Jan 27, 2008 #2

    Moonbear

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    I can answer that it works for women too. I know quite a few women who are married to guys who they thought were total jerks the first time they met them, or not at all attracted, etc., but after seeing them a lot over some extended period of time, they sort of "grew" on them and they ended up very attracted. I think that part is about getting to know their personality and that overcomes the physical flaws (hey, everyone has flaws, you just need a reason to see past them).

    And, yes, I've also experienced the opposite, that someone who seemed VERY attractive at first, upon getting to know him better, turned out less than attractive. Actually, isn't this the reason most people break up over? They thing someone is attractive, start dating them, then as they get to know them, realize all the things that AREN'T attractive about them and finally dump them?
     
  4. Jan 27, 2008 #3

    Kurdt

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    Of course it works in reverse for the very same reason it works the other way round. We're geared to see physically attractive as genetically superior but as humans there is another standard we set and that is personality which in the end wins out.
     
  5. Jan 27, 2008 #4
    Maybe this is a trait inherited from distant ancestors, when the cost of selection was greater than that of procreation.
     
  6. Jan 27, 2008 #5

    lisab

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    From my (female) point of view, this holds true. Attraction is somewhat physical, but not nearly as much as it is with males.

    A great-looking man can become hideous with one mean, nasty comment.

    A plain-looking guy can become wonderful, because of his charm, humor, gentle manner, and honesty.

    For me and most of the women I know, it's all about kindness, essentially.
     
  7. Jan 27, 2008 #6

    DaveC426913

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    Does it?

    Have you experienced this?
     
  8. Jan 27, 2008 #7
    Yeah, I've noticed that too. I think a more proper title might be "time as a function of attractiveness" IMO.
     
  9. Jan 28, 2008 #8
    a wonderful thread....
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2008
  10. Jan 28, 2008 #9

    Astronuc

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    That works for me too. :smile:
     
  11. Jan 28, 2008 #10

    DaveC426913

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    Right. All of this I'm taking as a given.

    My question is: does it work in reverse? Can anyone think of a time when their opinion of another's physical attractiveness went down as they got to know them and discovered they didn't much like them.
     
  12. Jan 28, 2008 #11

    turbo

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    Most definitely.
     
  13. Jan 28, 2008 #12

    Astronuc

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    If I find a woman physically attractive, then I continue to do so regardless of personality. However, for me personality and intelligence are important factors in a relationship.

    I can still appreciate the beauty, even if I don't find the personality disagreeable. I would still maintain a cordial and friendly relationship.


    Is the question about physical attractiveness, or overall attractiveness or appeal?

    This matter seems related to Evo's thread "Smart or Attractive?" - https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=204062
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2008
  14. Jan 28, 2008 #13

    Moonbear

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    I thought I already answered that. Yes. Someone who I thought was attractive started to be a turn off in other ways and then I started noticing every flaw in his appearance too.
     
  15. Jan 28, 2008 #14

    BobG

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    Yes, and much more so.

    The attractiveness of a person you like increases in a more subtle fashion, since it's on a more unconcious level.

    The attractiveness of a person you dislike decreases in a more malicious fashion. You intentionally remember their more unflattering moments and enjoy it too much to pretend it's only happening on an unconcious level.

    I didn't just reveal that I'm abnormally psychotic, did I? :redface:
     
  16. Jan 28, 2008 #15
    I'm not going to touch this one with a ten-foot pole. I mean should I tell my wife she used be better looking, or worse? When I first met my wife she had a pretty good left hook. And it has only improved with time.
     
  17. Jan 28, 2008 #16

    DaveC426913

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    This would be a vote on the nay side: as in : no, physcial attractiveness does not decrease as we get to know a person and find we like them less.
    I think the appeal aspect goes without saying. There little doubt that the appeal of a person is very closely related to their personality.

    I am asking specifically about the physical aspect.
     
  18. Jan 28, 2008 #17

    DaveC426913

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    This would be a vote on the yeh side. i.e. yes, it does happen.

    (I wasn't ignoring you, but others seem to be slightly missing the point of the thread. so far, only two opinions, one on each side of the issue.)
     
  19. Jan 28, 2008 #18

    DaveC426913

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    It sounds plausible, yes. But is it true? Have you experienced it? I'm trying to think of an example where I experienced it.
     
  20. Jan 28, 2008 #19

    jim mcnamara

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    I see. Your relationship your relationship with her has been:
    Code (Text):

    1. open mouth, remove foot
    2. duck
    3. apologize.
    4. goto #1
     
     
  21. Jan 28, 2008 #20
    Oh! Thanks.
     
  22. Jan 28, 2008 #21

    BobG

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    Yes, even though I think it's kind of immature.

    The link between physical appeal and opinion of a person's personality is used pretty strongly in the news business, as well, although not quite the same as your original post.

    There's a lot of things that would be entirely inappropriate for a news reporter to say in his story because it would reveal a very strong bias in the reporter. Ideally, the reporter would report all stories in an unbiased fashion.

    There are no such restrictions on selecting photographs to go with news stories. The perfect example was the Florida recount. Every story about the recount tried to stay neutral and present both sides in the text, but the pictures of Katherine Harris got worse and worse with each story. By the end of the recount, you couldn't help but imagine the editors giggling through the photo selection process like teenage boys or girls. At the beginning of the recount, Katherine Harris was a fairly attractive woman. By the end, she looked like Cruella Deville in most of the news magazines. Regardless of the words in the text, how could anyone that looked so evil be anything but pure evil?

    You can check out news stories about other characters as well. Just by looking through the pictures you can tell whether the story is going to be positive or negative.

    That's not direct evidence for what you're asking, but that link between physical attractiveness and feelings for a person are very strong. If the affect can't work both ways (feelings affecting appearance) then an awful lot of ugly babies are going to wind up in a basket on people's doorsteps.
     
  23. Jan 28, 2008 #22
    For sure! There is a very attractive Russian woman where I work, but any time someone approaches her she gives them the cold shoulder. Several times I've said hello to her as I walk by and she ignores me. Then one day, out of the blue, she says hello. Next day I pass by and say hi and she ignores me again. Others I work with have similar stories, and not just the men. I still recognize her as attractive, but I have lost any interest in getting to know her. She doesn't seem interested in being friendly.

    I also find a woman more attractive after several positive interactions.
     
  24. Jan 28, 2008 #23
    I dunno. Look in the mirror and tell us what you see.:rofl:
     
  25. Jan 28, 2008 #24
    I believe attractiveness of a women decreases with time more rapidly than that of a man. The reason being you can tell the fertility of women by her age. For example most women over the age of 50 cannot have children, or the odds of them having unhealthy children increases, so they are, instinctively, less desirable. However, a man's sperm is pretty much just as fertile at 50 as they were at 20. So women, instinctively, do not take age into consideration as much as men. Just my theory, anyway.
     
  26. Jan 28, 2008 #25

    Evo

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    Ditto what Moonbear said.
     
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