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Lecture 4

PSYC 362 Lecture Notes - Lecture 4: Reward System, Mental Model, Opportunity Cost

Course Code
PSYC 362
Rebecca Cobb

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PSYC 362 M4 Self-Expansion
- Why do we form intimate relationships?
- What affects quality and duration of intimate relationships?
Self-Expansion (SE) model
Self-Expansion Motivation (#1)
- A desire to expand, inherently pleasurable and motivating, may be unconscious
Contexts of research
1. Initial attraction
- People are more attracted to to others
- Who are perceived as offering opportunities for expanding the self
- When relationship formation is uncertain
- Desire for self-expansion is high
- Potential expansion is toward one’s ideal self
2. “Falling in love”
- Early stage of intense romantic love
- Rapid self-expansion → motivational state: intense desire for
union with the loved one → dopamine reward system

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- Also offset physical pain, craving for tobacco
- Mutual self-disclosure, risk-taking, increase in self-efficacy
- Similar to intense love in long-term pairings
- Still manifest when subjects are still in love with someone who has
rejected them
3. Shared novel and challenging activities
- Decline in opportunities for self-expansion over time
- BC know each other too well, heard stories, disclosures
- Coast on positive associations for a time, but then impact of lack
of self-expansion
- Possibility of boredom, habituation, too little uncertainty
- Engage in exciting activities (VS pleasant) → restore energy
increases relationship satisfaction, less boredom, positive affect
increased relationship quality
- Greater activation in reward areas, eg globus pallidus, inferior
occipital gyrus
- Effects are due to cooperating with the partner on the tasks
- Increase observed communication
- Novelty is the most important of the effect
4. Partner’s support
- For long-term ongoing relationship
- “Michelangelo phenomenon”: through interpersonal process, partners
“sculpt” each other’s selves by promoting those skills and attributes
(while downplaying others) that match the partner’s ideal self
- Support development of their partner’s ideal self
- VS Blueberry phenomenon, in which interdependent individuals
bring out the worst qualities in each other
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