Focusing on the Exterior and the Interior. Two Investigations of the Initiation of Personal Relationships

Mark Snyder, Ellen Berscheid, Peter Glick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

Two investigations of relationship initiation were conducted to identify systematic differences in the selection of relationship partners. Specifically, it was hypothesized that the construct of self-monitoring would identify individuals who characteristically adopt distinctly different orientations when initiating dating relationships. In each of two interaction studies, low and high self-monitoring men chose a female partner for a date. Investigation 1 examined attentional differences in the initial information-seeking stage of relationship initiation in an open-field setting. Investigation 2 examined actual choices of dating partners where one type of desirable attribute in a partner had to be sacrificed in order to obtain another type of desirable attribute. Behavioral and self-report evidence revealed that in both the initial information-gathering stage and the actual choice of whom to date, low self-monitoring individuals paid a greater amount of attention to and placed greater weight on information about interior personal attributes than did high self-monitoring individuals; by contrast, high self-monitoring individuals paid more attention to and put greater weight on exterior physical appearance than did low self-monitoring individuals. Implications of these differences for the initiation, maintenance and dissolution of relationships were discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1427-1439
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of personality and social psychology
Volume48
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 1985

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