Personality and Social Interaction

Selection

Personality Characteristics Desired in a Marriage Partner

Assortative Mating for Personality: The Search for the Similar

Do People Get the Mates They Want?

Personality and the Selective Breakup of Couples

Shyness and the Selection of Risky Situations

Other Personality Traits and the Selection of Situations

Evocation

Aggression and the Evocation of Hostility Evocation of Anger and Upset in Partners Evocation through Expectancy Confirmatio

Manipulation: Social Influence Tactics

A Taxonomy of 11 Tactics of Manipulation Sex Differences in Tactics of Manipulation Personality Predictors of Tactics of Manipulation

Panning Back: An Overview of Personality and Social Interaction

Summary and Evaluation Key Terms

THE SOCIAL AND CULTURAL DOMAI

Psychological Facts About Shy People

The advertisements in personals columns often mention personality characteristics that the person is seeking in a mate (e.g., caring, sense of humor, affectionate). This highlights the fact that personality plays an important role in social interaction.

ue and Joan sipped cof fee while discussing their dates from the previous evening. "Michael seemed like a nice guy , at least at first, Sue noted. "He was polite, asked me what kind of food I liked, and seemed genuinely interested in knowing me as a person. But I was a little turned of f by the rude way he talked to the waitress. He barked at her like she was his servant. He also insisted in choosing the food for me and selected a pork dish I didn' t like. I think he was trying to show off, but it really turned me of f. Then, over dinner, he talked about himself the whole time. At the end of the evening, he tried to invite himself back to my room, but I told him that I was tired and wanted to call it a night." "Did you kiss him?" asked Joan. "Well, yes, I started to give him a good-night kiss, but he began to get really aggressive with me, and I had to push him away . All the politeness disappeared, and he stormed of f angry. I guess he wasn't such a nice guy after all. He seemed really immature. How did your date go?"

In the course of this conversation, Sue revealed a treasure trove of information about her date, Michael—information that figures prominently in the socia decisions we make. Michael displayed aggressiveness, both toward the waitress and toward Sue during the good-night kiss. He displayed self-centeredness, focusing on himself during the course of the dinner . He showed a lack of empathy , as illustrated by his uncaring attitude toward the feelings of the waitress and his abrupt sexual aggressiveness. The thin veneer of politeness quickly gave way over the evening, revealing an abrasive interpersonal disposition that turned Sue of f.

The advertisements in personals columns often mention personality characteristics that the person is seeking in a mate (e.g., caring, sense of humor, affectionate). This highlights the fact that personality plays an important role in social interaction.

The episode above illustrates several key ways in which personality plays an important role in social interaction. As we discussed in Chapter 4, personality interacts with situations in three ways: through selection, through evocation, and through manipulation of the situation. These three mechanisms can be applied to an understanding of how personality af fects interpersonal situations. First, the personality characteristics of others influence whether we select them as our dates, friends, and even marriage partners. In this episode, Sue was turned off by Michael's aggressive and self-centered personality characteristics. People' s personality characteristics also play a role in the kinds of interpersonal situations they select to enter and stay in. For example, someone with a personality dif ferent from Sue's might actually be attracted to a guy like Michael and could put up with his self-centeredness and brash behavior .

Second, the personality qualities of others evoke certain responses in us, and us in them. Michael's aggressive displays upset Sue, evoking an emotional response in her that would not have been evoked if he had behaved in a kinder , more caring manner. Furthermore, behaviors related to personality can evoke all sorts of responses in others, ranging from aggression to social support, and even to marital satisfaction in close relationships.

Third, personality is linked to the ways in which we try to influence o manipulate others. In this episode, Michael first tried the charm tactic. Then he pulled out the boasting tactic. Finally , he used coercion, trying to force himself on Sue. A man with a dif ferent constellation of personality attributes would have used dif ferent tactics of social influence, such as reason or reward

These three processes—selection, evocation, and manipulation—are three key ways in which personality interacts with the social environment. Individuals in everyday life are not exposed to all possible social situations; individuals with certain personality dispositions seek out and avoid social situations selectively . Personality also influences how we evoke di ferent reactions from other people and how others, in turn, evoke dif ferent responses from us, sometimes quite unintentionally . And personality affects how we purposefully influence, change, exploit, and manipulat the others with whom we have chosen to be associated. Among these three processes, selection is the first, since it determines the people to whom we are exposed

In everyday life, people choose to enter some situations and avoid other situations. These forms of situation selection can hinge on personality dispositions and how we view ourselves. The following story illustrates the process of selection. In this example a couple inadvertently entered a situation and then chose a rapid exit from it.

Chip and Priscilla, a Y uppie couple fr om Chicago, have just moved to Dallas and are sampling some of the tr endier nightspots on Lower Gr eenville Avenue. As they push thr ough the swinging doors of what appears to be a quaint little Western saloon right out of the TV series Gunsmoke, they are confronted by six huge bikers from the motorcycle gang Los Diablos, who turn on their barstools to glar e at them. The bikers have an average of mor e than two tattoos and thr ee missing teeth. The fumes they emit smell flammable. wo of them stare with contempt at Chip, and one leers evilly at Priscilla. "This doesn't look like our kind ofplace," Chip says to Priscilla, as they pr epare to beat a hasty retreat. (Ickes, Snyder, & Garcia, 1997, p. 165)

Social selections permeate daily life. These choices range in importance from the seemingly trivial ("Should I attend this party tonight?") to the profound ("Should I select this person as my marriage partner?"). Social selections are decision points that direct us to choose one path and avoid another . These decisions, which determine the nature of our social environments and social worlds, are often based on the personality characteristics of the selector .

Mate selection provides a dramatic example of this mechanism. When you select a long-term mate, you place yourself into close and prolonged contact with one particular other. This alters the social environment to which you are exposed and in which you will reside. By selecting a mate, you are simultaneously selecting the social acts you will experience and the network of friends and family in which those acts will be carried out.

In terms of personality characteristics, who do people seek as potential mates? Are there common personality characteristics that are highly desired by everyone? Do we look for potential mates who have personalities similar to our own or dif ferent from our own? That is, do birds of a feather flock togethe , or do opposites attract? And how is the choice of a mate linked to the likelihood that a couple will stay together over time? These questions have been the focus of a series of investigations over the past few decades. In this section, we will consider how personality af fects choice of a mate and whether couples stay together .

Personality Characteristics Desired in a Marriage Partner

What do people want in a long-term partner? This was the focus of an international investigation of 10,047 individuals located on six continents and five islands fro around the world (Buss et al., 1990). A total of 37 samples were chosen from 33 countries, representing every major racial group, religious group, and political system. Samples ranged from the coastal dwelling Australians to the South African Zulu people. The economic status of the samples varied from middle- and upper -middle class college students to lower socioeconomic groups, such as the Gujarati Indians and Soviet Estonians. Fifty researchers were involved in the data collection. Standard questionnaires were translated into the native language of each culture and then were administered to the samples by native residents of each culture. This study, the most massive ever conducted on what people want in a long-term mate, revealed that personality characteristics play a central role in the selection of a mate. In the Exercise that follows and then in T able 15.1, you can complete this questionnaire yourself and see how your selection preferences compare with those of the worldwide sample.

Exercise

INSTRUCTIONS: Evaluate the following factors in choosing a mate or marriage partner. If you consider the factor to be indispensable, give it 3 points important, but not indispensable, give it 2 points desirable, but not very important, give it 1 point irrelevant or unimportant, give it 0 points

Exercise (Continued )

_ 1. Good cook and housekeeper _

10. Desire for home and children

_ 2. Pleasing disposition _

11. Favorable social status

_ 3. Sociability _

12. Good looks

_ 4. Similar educational _

13. Similar religious

background

background

_ 5. Refinement, neatness _

14. Ambition and industriousness

_ 6. Good financial prospect _

15. Similar political background

_ 7. Chastity (no prior intercourse) _

16. Mutual attraction or love

_ 8. Dependable character _

17. Good health

_ 9. Emotional stability _

18. Education and intelligence

Now compare your ratings with the ratings given by the international sample of

10,047 men and women, shown in Table 15.1.

Table 15.1 Summary of Ratings by Sex Using Entire International Sample

RATINGS BY

M A L

E S

RATINGS BY F

E M A L

E S

Ranked Value

Variable Name

Mean

Std. Dev.

Variable Name

Mean

Std. Dev.

1.

Mutual Attraction—Love

2.81

0.16

Mutual Attraction—Love

2.87

0.12

2.

Dependable Character

2.50

0.46

Dependable Character

2.69

0.31

3.

Emotional Stability and Maturity

2.47

0.20

Emotional Stability and Maturity

2.68

0.20

4.

Pleasing Disposition

2.44

0.29

Pleasing Disposition

2.52

0.30

5.

Good Health

2.31

0.33

Education and Intelligence

2.45

0.25

6.

Education and Intelligence

2.27

0.19

Sociability

2.30

0.28

7.

Sociability

2.15

0.28

Good Health

2.28

0.30

8.

Desire for Home and Children

2.09

0.50

Desire for Home and Children

2.21

0.44

9.

Refinement, Neatness

2.03

0.48

Ambition and Industriousness

2.15

0.35

10.

Good Looks

1.91

0.26

Refinement, Neatness

1.98

0.49

11.

Ambition and Industriousness

1.85

0.35

Similar Education

1.84

0.47

12.

Good Cook and Housekeeper

1.80

0.48

Good Financial Prospect

1.76

0.38

13.

Good Financial Prospect

1.51

0.42

Good Looks

1.46

0.28

14.

Similar Education

1.50

0.37

Favorable Social Status or Rating

1.46

0.39

15.

Favorable Social Status or Rating

1.16

0.28

Good Cook and Housekeeper

1.28

0.27

16.

Chastity (no previous experience in sexual intercourse)

1.06

0.69

Similar Religious Background

1.21

0.56

17.

Similar Religious Background

0.98

0.48

Similar Political Background

1.03

0.35

18.

Similar Political Background

0.92

0.36

Chastity (no previous experience in sexual intercourse)

0.75

0.66

Mean

1.87

0.57

Mean

1.94

0.63

Source: Adapted from Buss et al. (1990), p. 19, Table 4.

Source: Adapted from Buss et al. (1990), p. 19, Table 4.

As you can see in T able 15.1, mutual attraction or love was the most favored characteristic, viewed as indispensable by almost everyone in the world. Perhaps the famous rock group, the Beatles, were right—"all you need is love." After mutual attraction or love, personality characteristics loom lar ge in people's mate selection preferences. Viewed as almost as important as love are the personality factors of dependable character, emotional stability , and pleasing disposition. You may recall that these are quite close to the labels given to three of the factors in the five-facto model of personality (see Chapter 3). Dependability is close to conscientiousness. Emotional stability is identical to the fourth factor on the five-factor model. And pleasing disposition is quite close to agreeableness, the second factor in the model. Other personality factors rated highly by the international sample included sociability, refine ment and neatness, and ambition and industriousness.

Note that the respondents' top choices, except for love, were personality characteristics. Thus, personality factors play a central role in what people worldwide are looking for in a long-term mate (see also Fletcher et al., 2004).

Assortative Mating for Personality: The Search for the Similar

Over the past century , two fundamentally competing scientific theories have bee advanced for who is attracted to whom. Complementary needs theory postulates that people are attracted to those who have dif ferent personality dispositions than they have (Murstein, 1976; Winch, 1954). People who are dominant, for example, might have a need to be in a relationship with someone whom they can control and dominate. People who are submissive, according to complementary needs theory, have a need to choose a mate who can dominate and control them. One easy way to think about complementary needs theory is with the phrase "opposites attract."

In contrast, attraction similarity theory postulates that people are attracted to those who have similar personality characteristics. People who are dominant might be attracted to those who are also dominant, because they like someone who "pushes back." People who are extraverted, to take another example, might like partners who are also extraverted so that they can party together . One easy way to remember this theory is with the phrase "birds of a feather flock togethe ." Although there have been many proponents of both theories over the past century , the results are now in. They provide overwhelming support for the attraction similarity theory and no support for the complementary needs theory (Buss, 2003). Indeed, the only characteristic on which "opposites attract" that has been reliably documented is biological sex: Men tend to be attracted to women and women tend to be attracted to men. Although of course there will always be individual exceptions to the rule, the research shows that people are generally drawn to those who share their personalities.

People often are attracted to others who are similar to themselves. This refers to the concept of assortative mating.

One of the most common findings in the mate selection literature—that peopl are married to people who are similar to themselves—is a phenomenon known as assortative mating. For nearly every variable that has been examined—from single actions to ethnic and racial status—people seem to select mates who are similar to themselves. Even for physical characteristics such as height, weight, and, astonishingly, nose breadth and earlobe length, couples show positive correlations. Even the perceived personality of individuals based on faces—personality trait assessment based solely on judgments of photographs—shows assortative mating (Little, Burt, & Perrett, 2006). Couples who have been together the longest appeared most similar in personality—a finding that may result from couples growing more similar in person ality over time or from dissimilar couples breaking up more often.

But are these positive correlations caused by the active selection of mates who are similar? Or are these positive correlations merely by-products of other causal processes? Sheer proximity, for example, could, in principle, account for some of the positive correlations. It is known that people tend to marry those who are close by . It has even been noted that, notions of romantic love aside, the "one and only" typically lives within driving distance. It is naturally easier to meet and become intimate with someone who is close by . And, since people in close proximity may have certain common characteristics, the positive correlations found between married couples may be merely a side ef fect of mating with those who are close by , rather than the active selection of partners who are similar. Cultural institutions, such as colleges and universities, may promote assortative mating by preferentially admitting those who are similar with respect to certain variables, such as intelligence, motivation, and social skills.

To test these competing predictions, Botwin and colleagues (Botwin, Buss, & Shackelford, 1997) studied two samples of subjects—dating couples and newlywed couples. The participants were asked to express their preferences for the personality characteristics in a potential mate on 40 rating scales, which were scored on fiv dimensions of personality: extraversion, agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and intellect-openness. The next step was to assess the subjects' personality dispositions on these dimensions using the same 40 rating scales. Three data sources were used for this second stage: self-reports; reports by their partners, who had no knowledge of the preference scores of the tar get subjects; and independent reports by interviewers, who also had no knowledge of the preference scores of the tar get subjects. Then, correlations were computed between two sets of personality ratings: the ones made by the subject (self) and the average of the peer and interviewer ratings of the subject (aggregate). The subjects' expressed mate preferences to determine whether they wanted mates who were similar to themselves.

As shown in T able 15.2, these correlations were consistently positive. Those who scored high on extraversion wanted to select an extraverted person as a mate. Those who scored high on conscientiousness desired a conscientious mate. The conclusions from this study, of course, must be qualified by one important consideration perhaps the preferences people express for the personalities of their ideal mates might be influenced by the mates they already have. If an emotionally stable person i already mated to an emotionally stable person, perhaps they justify their choice by claiming that they are truly attracted to the one they are with. This could result in positive correlations between one's own personality and the personality people express for a desired mate. Nonetheless, studies of individuals who are not mated already fin the same pattern of results—people prefer those who are similar to themselves (e.g., Buss, 1984, 1985, 1987)—supporting the attraction similarity theory .

Table 15.2 Personality Correlated with Mate Preferences

DATING

COUP

L E S

MARRIED

COUP

L E S

M E N

W

OMEN

M E N

W O

M E N

Trait

Self

Aggregate

Self

Aggregate

Self

Aggregate

Self

Aggregate

Surgency

.33*

.42**

.59***

.35**

.20*

.15

.30**

.25**

Agreeableness

.37*

.17

.44***

.46***

.30**

.12

.44***

.31**

Conscientiousness

.34**

.45***

.59***

.53***

.53***

.49***

.61***

.53***

Emotional Stability

.29*

.36**

.52***

.30*

.27**

.21*

.32***

.27**

Intellect-Openness

.56***

.54***

.63***

.50***

.24*

.31**

.48***

.52***

Note: Each correlation in the table refers to the relationship between the personality trait of the individual and the corresponding personality trait desired in a mate. Thus, under Men, Self-Report column, the .33* indicates that men who are highly surgent tend to prefer mates who are also surgent. The fact that all the correlations in the table are positive, many significantly so, indicates that people generally want mates who are similar to themselves in personality. Source: Personality and Mate Preferences: Five Factors in Mate Selection and Marital Satisfaction. Botwin, M. D., Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (1997).

Note: Each correlation in the table refers to the relationship between the personality trait of the individual and the corresponding personality trait desired in a mate. Thus, under Men, Self-Report column, the .33* indicates that men who are highly surgent tend to prefer mates who are also surgent. The fact that all the correlations in the table are positive, many significantly so, indicates that people generally want mates who are similar to themselves in personality. Source: Personality and Mate Preferences: Five Factors in Mate Selection and Marital Satisfaction. Botwin, M. D., Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (1997).

These data provide evidence that positive correlations on personality variables between husbands and wives are due, at least in part, to direct social preferences, based on the personality characteristics of those doing the selecting. In sum, personality characteristics appear to play a pivotal role in the social mechanism of selection.

Do People Get the Mates They Want?

A fact of human life is that we do not always get what we want, and this is true of mate selection. You may want a mate who is kind, understanding, dependable, emotionally stable, and intelligent, but such desirable mates are always in short supply , compared with the numbers of people who seek them. Therefore, many people end up mated with individuals who fall short of their ideals. It is reasonable to predict, therefore, that individuals whose mates deviate from their ideals will be less satisfie than those whose mates embody their desires.

Table 15.3 shows the correlations between the preferences that individuals express for the ideal personality characteristics of their mates and the actual personality characteristics of their obtained mates (Botwin et al., 1997, p. 127). Across three of the four subsamples—women who are dating, women who are married, and men who are married—there are modest but consistently positive correlations between the personality desired in a partner and the actual personality characteristics displayed by the partner. The correspondence between what one wants and what one gets is especially strong for sur gency and intellect-openness. In short, as a general rule, people seem to get the mates they want in terms of personality .

These correlations suggest individual dif ferences, however. Are people who get what they want happier with their marriages than people who do not? To examine this issue, Botwin et al. (1997) created dif ference scores between the preferences each individual expressed for the ideal personality of a mate and assessments of the spouse's actual personality . These difference scores were then used to predict satisfaction with the marriage, after first controlling for the main e fects of the spouse's

Table 15.3 Personality Mate Preferences and Personality of Partner Obtained

DATING

C O U P L

E S

M

A R R I E D

C O U P L

E S

WOMEN'S PREFERENCES

MEN'S PREFERENCES

WOMEN'S PREFERENCES

MEN'S PREFERENCES

Partner's Personality

Self

Aggregate

Self

Aggregate

Self

Aggregate

Self

Aggregate

Surgency

.25

.39**

.28*

.24

.39***

.49***

.31***

.32**

Agreeableness

.28*

.32

.24

.02

.20*

.40***

.03

.25

Conscientiousness

.28*

.29*

.24

.26

.36***

.46***

.13

.24

Emotional Stability

.36**

.12

.40**

.10

.27**

.37**

.07

.12

Intellect-Openness

.33**

.41**

.40**

.11

.24**

.39***

.14

.39***

Source: Personality and Mate Preferences: Five Factors in Mate Selection and Marital Satisfaction. Botwin, M. D., Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (1997).

Source: Personality and Mate Preferences: Five Factors in Mate Selection and Marital Satisfaction. Botwin, M. D., Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (1997).

personality. The results were consistent—one's partner's personality had a substantial effect on marital satisfaction. Specificall , people were especially happy with their relationships if they were married to partners who were high on the personality characteristics of agreeableness, emotional stability , and openness. But the dif ference scores between the partner's personality and one's ideal for that personality did not predict marital satisfaction. In other words, the key to marital happiness is having a partner who is agreeable, emotionally stable, and open, regardless of whether the partner departs in specific ways from what one wants

The correlations between the participants' marital satisfaction scores and the partners' personality scores, obtained through the partners' self-reports, are shown in Table 15.4. Having a partner who is agreeable is an especially strong predictor of being happy with one's marriage for both men and women. People married to agreeable partners are more satisfied with their sex lives, view their spouses as more lov ing and af fectionate, as a source of shared laughter , and as a source of stimulating conversation. People married to disagreeable partners are the most unhappy with the marriage and perhaps are most at risk of getting divorced.

The other personality factors that are consistently linked with marital satisfaction are conscientiousness, emotional stability , and openness. Men whose wives score high on conscientiousness are significantly more sexually satisfied with the marriage than a other husbands. Women whose husbands score high on conscientiousness are generally more satisfied, as well as happier with their spouses as sources of stimulating conver sation. Both men and women whose spouses score high on emotional stability are generally more satisfied, view their spouses as sources of encouragement and support, an enjoy spending time with their spouses. Similarly , both men and women whose spouses score high on openness are generally satisfied with the marriage and perceive that a lo of love and affection are expressed in the marriage. Women whose husbands score high on intellect-openness view their husbands as sources of stimulating conversation.

In summary, the personality of one's spouse plays an important role in marital satisfaction. Those who select mates high on agreeableness, conscientiousness, emotional stability, and openness show the greatest happiness with their marriages. Those who select mates low on these personality factors are the most unhappy with

Table 15.4 Facet of Marital Satisfaction and Spouse's Self-Reported Trait Ratings

Marital Satisfaction

SPOUSE'S

S E L F

REPORTED

TRAIT

RATINGS

S

A

C

ES

I-O

Husbands marital satisfaction

General

.12

.32***

.06

.27**

.29**

Spouse as someone to confide in

-.05

.27**

.07

.11

.05

Sexual

-.08

.31**

.32***

.25**

.04

Spouse as source of encouragement and support

.03

.29**

.11

.26**

.18

Love and affection expressed

.07

.31**

.14

.21*

.26**

Enjoyment of time spent with spouse

.11

.30**

.13

.28**

.08

Frequency of laughing with spouse

.19*

.23*

.19

.11

.24**

Spouse as source of stimulating conversation

.06

.12

-.04

.21*

.17

Wife's marital satisfaction

General

.07

.37***

.20*

.23*

.31***

Spouse as someone to confide in

.06

.25**

.15

.24**

.27**

Sexual

.08

.19*

.14

.09

.13

Spouse as source of encouragement and support

.04

.47***

.06

.20*

.31***

Love and affection expressed

-.04

.29**

.14

.28**

.33***

Enjoyment of time spent with spouse

.06

.27**

.06

.33***

.18

Frequency of laughing with spouse

-.02

.27**

-.02

.10

.08

Spouse as source of stimulating conversation

.23*

.24**

.25**

.18

.45***

Note: S = Surgency; A = Agreeableness: C = Conscientiousness: ES = Emotional Stability; I-O = Intellect-Openness. *p < .05 **p < .01 ***p < .001.

Source: Personality and Mate Preferences: Five Factors in Mate Selection and Marital Satisfaction. Botwin, M. D., Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (1997).

Note: S = Surgency; A = Agreeableness: C = Conscientiousness: ES = Emotional Stability; I-O = Intellect-Openness. *p < .05 **p < .01 ***p < .001.

Source: Personality and Mate Preferences: Five Factors in Mate Selection and Marital Satisfaction. Botwin, M. D., Buss, D. M., & Shackelford, T. K. (1997).

their marriages. Dif ferences from each person' s individual ideal, however , do not appear to contribute to marital satisfaction.

Personality and the Selective Breakup of Couples

We have examined two ways in which personality plays a role in the mate selection process. First, there appear to be universal selection preferences—personality characteristics that everyone desires in a potential mate, such as dependability and emotional stability. Second, beyond the desires shared by everyone, people prefer partners who are similar to themselves in personality—dominant people prefer other dominant people, conscientious people prefer other conscientious people, and so on. But there is a third role that personality plays in the process of selection—its role in the selective breakup of marriages.

According to one theory of conflict between the sexes, breakups should occu more when one's desires are violated than when they are fulfilled (Buss, 2003) Following this so-called violation of desir e theory, we would predict that people married to others who lack desired characteristics, such as dependability and emotional stability, will more frequently dissolve the marriage. We would also predict, based on people's preferences for those who share their personality attributes, that the couples who are dissimilar on personality will break up more often than those who fulfill desires for similarit . Are these predictions borne out in the research findings

Across a wide variety of studies, emotional instability has been the most consistent personality predictor of marital instability and divorce, emer ging as a signifi cant predictor in nearly every study that has included a measure of it (Kelly & Conley , 1987). Low impulse control, or low conscientiousness (i.e., being impulsive and unreliable), particularly as exhibited by husbands, also emer ges as a good predictor of marital dissolution (Bentler & Newcomb, 1978; Kelly & Conley , 1987). Finally, low agreeableness predicts marital dissatisfaction and divorce, although this result is less consistent and less powerful than that found for emotional instability and low conscientiousness (Burgess & Wallin, 1953; Kelly & Conley , 1987).

These results suggest that being married to someone who lacks the personality characteristics that are most widely desired—dependability , emotional stability , and pleasing disposition—puts one most at risk for breakup. Thus, people actively seek mates who are dependable and emotionally stable, and those who fail to choose such mates are more at risk for termination of the marriage. Recent studies also point to two other influences of personality on relationship satisfaction or dissatisfaction. One i similarity in overall personality pr ofile rather than similarity in individual personality traits (Luo & Klohnen, 2005). The second is closeness of match between an individual's conception of an ideal mate and their partner's actual personality (Zentner, 2005). Both personality profile similarity and congruence between ideal and actual partner are linke with positive relationship outcomes, such as marital quality .

Another study examined the fate of 203 dating couples over the course of two years (Hill, Rubin, & Peplau, 1976). Over that time, roughly half of the couples broke up and half stayed together . An important predictor of which couples stayed together was their similarity in personality and values. Those who were most dissimilar were more likely to break up. These findings provide further support for the violation of desir theory. Those who fail to get what they want—in this case, mates who are to themselves similar—tend to break up more often than those who do get what they want.

In summary, personality plays two key roles in the selection of mates. First, as part of the initial selection process, it determines the mates to whom we are attracted and the mates whom we desire. Second, personality af fects satisfaction with one' s mate and therefore determines the selective breakup of couples. Those who fail to select partners who are similar to themselves, as well as agreeable, conscientious, and emotionally stable, tend to break up more often than those who succeed in selecting such mates.

Shyness and the Selection of Risky Situations

Although mate selection provides a dramatic example of the ef fects of personality on social choices, several other domains of selection have also been explored by personality researchers. One important domain pertains to the ef fects of the personality disposition of shyness. Shyness is defined by a tendency to feel tense, worried, or anxious durin social interactions or even when anticipating a social interaction (Addison & Schmidt, 1999). Shyness is a common phenomenon, and more than 90 percent of the population reports experiencing shyness at some point during their lives (Zimbardo, 1977). Some people, however, seem to be dispositionally shy—they tend to feel awkward in most social situations and, so, tend to avoid situations in which they will be forced to interact with people, as described in Chapter 14.

The effects of shyness on the selection of situations have been well documented. During high school and early adulthood, shy individuals tend to avoid social situations, resulting in a form of isolation (Schmidt & Fox, 1995). Shy women are also more likely to avoid going to the doctor for gynecological exams, and hence they put themselves at greater health risk (Kowalski & Brown, 1994). They are less likely to bring up the awkward issue of contraception with their partners before sexual intercourse and, so, put themselves in potentially dangerous sexual situations (Bruch & Hynes, 1987).

Perhaps most interesting, shyness appears to af fect whether a person is willing to select risky situations in the form of gambles (Addison & Schmidt, 1999). In one experiment, shy people were identified through the Cheek (1983) shyness scale, which contains item such as "I find it hard to talk to strangers and "I feel inhibited in social situations." On entry into the laboratory , each participant received the following instructions: "During this part of the experiment, you have a chance to win some money by picking a poker chip out of this container . There are 100 poker chips in this box that are numbered from 1 to 100. . . ." The participants were given a choice to pick a gamble that they would most likely win (95 percent odds of winning), but from which they would receive only a small amount of money (e.g., 250), or to pick a riskier gamble, perhaps with only a 5 percent chance of winning, but from which, if they won, they would receive $4.75. The experimenters also recorded the heart rate of the participants during their choice of gambles.

The results were striking. The shy women differed substantially from their non-shy counterparts in choosing the smaller bets that were linked with a higher likelihood of winning. The nonshy women, in contrast, chose the riskier bets with a lower likelihood of winning but with a lar ger payoff if they did win. During the task, the shy participants showed a lar ger increase in heart rate, suggesting that fearfulness might have led them to avoid the risky gambles.

These studies illustrate the importance of the personality disposition of shyness in the selection of, or avoidance of, certain situations. Shy women tend to avoid others, creating social isolation, and to avoid choosing risky gambles. Perhaps paradoxically , they also avoid going to the doctor for gynecological exams and avoid obtaining condoms, thus putting them at greater health risk than less shy women. Shyness, in short, appears to have a substantial impact on the selective entry into, or avoidance of, situations.

Other Personality Traits and the Selection of Situations

A wide variety of other personality traits have been shown to af fect selective entry into, or avoidance of, certain situations (Ickes, Snyder , & Garcia, 1997). Those who are characteristically more empathic, for example, are more likely to enter situations such as volunteering for community activities (Davis et al., 1999). And those high on psy-choticism seem to choose more volatile and spontaneous situations more than formal or stable ones (Furnham, 1982). Those high on Machiavellianism prefer face-to-face situations, perhaps because these of fer a better chance to ply their social manipulative skills to exploit others (Geis & Moon, 1981).

Shy individuals often feel tense or anxious in social situations and often avoid entering situations in which they would be forced to interact with others.

One of the most thoroughly explored personality variables in the context of situation selection has been sensation seeking. High sensation seekers are more likely to volunteer for unusual experiments, such as studies involving drugs or sex (Zuckerman, 1978). Furthermore, high sensation seekers, even during high school, have been found to more frequently choose to enter risky situations (Donohew et al., 2000). High school students high in sensation seeking, more than their low sensation-seeking peers, more frequently attend parties where alcohol or marijuana is available to be consumed. They also more often have unwanted sex when drunk. Those who are high in sensation seeking also tend to select social situations characterized by high-risk sexual behavior (McCoul & Haslam, 2001). In a study of 1 12 heterosexual men, those who scored high on sensation seeking were more likely than their low-scoring peers to have unprotected sex more frequently (r = .21, p < .05). Even more striking, high sensation seekers had sexual intercourse with many more dif ferent partners than low sensation seekers (r = .45, p < .001). Interestingly, there were no links between sensation seeking and choosing risky sexual behaviors among the sample of 104 homosexual men. Personality, in sum, affects the situations to which people are exposed through their selective entry into, or avoidance of, certain kinds of activities.

Overcome Shyness 101

Overcome Shyness 101

You can find out step by step what you need to do to overcome the feeling of being shy. There are a vast number of ways that you can stop feeling shy all of the time and start enjoying your life. You can take these options one step at a time so that you gradually stop feeling shy and start feeling more confident in yourself, enjoying every aspect of your life. You can learn how to not be shy and start to become much more confident and outgoing with this book.

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