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Lecture 8

Psych 354 - Lecture 8.doc

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Denise Marigold

LECTURE 8 – SOCIAL COGNITION #1: IDEALIZATION VS. UNDERSTANDING Understanding vs. Idealization - understanding: seeing our partners as they see themselves, understanding their flaws as well as their virtues (ex: your partner is shy, you might understand they might be shy in particular situations) - Idealization: see them in positive light. (ex; see our partner is shy, idealize partner, see partner as less shy than he/she see themselves) - People thought understanding partner and seeing them as they truly are is the most mature form of love, Involves seeing reality in partner - two sides of argument 1. people argue it is important to love the real person who is less than perfect, instead of falling in love with an imagined construction a. people on receiving end will feel more secure in partner’s love cuz they know partner understand, and know their true selves (unconditional love) 2. people often dream of being idealized, want partner to see them in best possible light even if that light is rose colored, no necessarily want to be worshiped, want partner to see very best and not see flaws (positive illusions) - some people’s reaction of positive illusions are very negative = immature form of love, - do not see true partner, diluted somewhat, in love with illusion, fantasy, - people who do this to their partner will be disappointed cuz partner may not live up to expectations - Seems like understanding partner is the best way to go in partners in relationships, but its actually not - Recently research shows we tend to motivated perceivers: see things the way we want to see them to some extent - Taylor and brown  people who see themselves in positive light , tend to be better adjusted, positive illusions are good for our mental health - seeing partners with some optimal level of positive illusions may promote relationship stability and well being Understanding Partners (Swann, De La Ronde and HIxon, 1994) - Swann argues that dating couples see each other in an idealized way - Dating partners are in the unique position of continually evaluating and judging each others' traits. What this does is create an atmosphere where dating partners seek acceptance from each other, but where they are also judging whether they want to stay with each other. - Any hint of criticism, or of not liking everything about your partner, or of your partner not liking everything about you may then signal that the relationship is not on track for the long term. - dating partners tend to each other in a very positive in way very early in the relationship (romantic period) - married couples seek personal and mutual goals, using each other as a safe base to pursue goals - partners can offer different and interesting perspective of their partner such as skills and abilities, flaws and failings - can also offer suggestions about who they become, further, children etc - Swann and colleagues argue though that once couples make the commitment and get married, the evaluation phase is over - Couples are committed; they are not as worried about how their partners evaluate them. As their relationships persist, couples become increasingly interdependent on each other to raise children, manage their households and to foster their career success - In order to accomplish some of these goals they sometimes need to identify each other's strengths AND weaknesses - Swann and his colleagues think that married couples will interpret each other's criticisms differently than dating couples will. - They will be less concerned when their partners criticize them that such criticism denotes some problem within the relationship. - Self-verification theory suggests that people prefer to receive information about themselves that verifies, or is consistent with their own views of themselves – that is they like to be understood for who they are - self-verification: want to be understood for EXACLTY who we are, want partner to know our strengths and weaknesses - Self-verification theory suggests that social interaction is smoothest when people evaluate each other the same way that they see themselves - When people don't see us the same way as we see ourselves, we may almost feel as if we've pulled the wool over the other person's eyes and have inadvertently given the other person the wrong impression about us - This leaves that other person open to being disappointed later when we don't live up to the impression the other has about who we are. - low self-esteem people in particular are likely to prefer evaluations that are self-verifying - tend to seek negative evaluations of themselves and they tend to elicit feedback about themselves that confirms their own self-views - High self-esteem are more likely to seek feedback about themselves that casts them in a positive light and they prefer interacting with others who see them in a positive light. Results 1. For dating couples, self-esteem didn't matter. No matter their level of self-esteem, people who were in dating relationships reported that they were more satisfied, or more intimate in their relationships, when their partners evaluated them favorably 2. Married individuals who had high self-esteem were happiest when their partners saw them in a positive light, as did the dating couples. However, married individuals who had more negative self-concepts were relatively unhappy when their partners viewed them very positively, but were actually happier when their partners viewed them less favorably. Idealizations (Murray, Holmes, and Gri
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