PSY327H5 Lecture Notes - Lecture 10: Extraversion And Introversion, Survey Data Collection, Social Comparison Theory

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14 Nov 2018
School
Department
Course
Professor
Psychology 327
Questions
Do first impressions really matter all that much?
Is it good to believe in love at first sight?
Is it better to be more optimistic versus more realistic about our partners and
relationships?
Part 1: Forming Impressions
Part 2: Relationship Beliefs
Part 3: Perceptions in Close Relationships
Social Cognition
The process of how we perceive and make judgements about our social world
First Impressions
1/25th of a second to judge emotional expressions, ethnicity, gender
1/10th of a second to judge attractiveness, likability, trustworthiness
5 seconds to judge personality (e.g., intelligence, extraversion)
We make impressions quickly.
We quickly recognize social group membership.
Male/female
Young/old
Attractive/unattractive
Rich/poor
Ethnicity
We tend to have existing beliefs about people to those groups.
Cues from the Face
We use facial cues to make inferences about peoples personalities and traits.
Prejudice
Cues from the Face
We use facial cues to make inferences about peoples personalities and traits.
Prejudice
Sexual orientation
Cues from the Face
We use facial cues to make inferences about peoples personalities and traits.
Prejudice
Sexual orientation
Other traits: political preferences, leadership, narcissism, social class . . .
They Matter!
They influence the quality of relationships that we eventually develop.
New classmates got acquainted with one another.
Their impressions of a student’s personality predicted their feelings about each other
10 weeks later.
Primacy effect
We remember initial information better than later information.
Confirmation bias
We seek and interpret information to confirm our existing beliefs.
Overconfidence
Confidence in our initial impressions increases over time as a result of
confirmation bias.
Primacy Effect
First impressions work because of the primacy effect.
Defined as: tendency for first information we receive about others to carry special
weight
Our quick first judgments of others influence our interpretations of later information
we encounter.
Primacy Effect
Students watched a video about a girl named Hannah
Poor: deteriorating school playground, dingy house
Rich: expansive playground, big house
Guess how well she is doing in school
No differences between poor vs. rich
Then showed Hannah taking aptitude test with inconsistent performance
Hannahs Ability
150 participants surveyed on their interest in politics, political attitudes, and their
opinions on 4 key issues
Then browsed an online forum with articles offering opposing views to the four issues
while software secretly recorded how long they spent reading each article.
Participants spent more time (36% more) reading articles that support existing beliefs
Dating couples in the lab
One partner is the target and the other is perceiver
Target: answered questions about themselves
Perceiver: answered questions about the target
Questions: sexual history, self-esteem, personality, activity preferences
Then asked how confident they were that they were correct in their beliefs about how
partner would answer
Recap: First Impressions
They happen quickly.
They are lasting because of
Primacy effect
Confirmation bias
Overconfidence
Part 1: Forming Impressions
Part 2: Relationship Beliefs
Part 3: Motivated Perception and Reasoning
Relationship Beliefs
Belief: Idea about what relationships are like:
Couples that fight a lot are unhappy.
Love in a relationship is key to a successful marriage.
Individual Differences in Beliefs
People vary in their ideas of things such as:
How important romance and passion are
How much relationships are likely to change over time
How much power they and their partner have to make changes (i.e., locus
of control)
Romanticism
Defined as the view that love should be the most important basis for choosing a
partner:
If you love someone, you must love all of them.
Theres only one true love for me.
True love overcomesall obstacles.
Love is possible at first sight.
Dysfunctional Relationship Beliefs
Disagreements are destructive.
Mindreading is essential.
Partners cannot change.
Sex should be perfect every time.
Men and women are different.
Great relationships just happen.
Dysfunctional Relationship Beliefs
Disagreements are destructive.
Mindreading is essential.
Partners cannot change.
Sex should be perfect every time.
Men and women are different.
Great relationships just happen.
Implicit Theories of Relationships (ITR)
Destiny beliefs: people are either compatible or they are not
Measuring Destiny Beliefs
1 (strongly disagree) ----------------------------- 7 (strongly agree)
1. Potential partners are either compatible or they are not.
1. A successful relationship is mostly a matter of finding a compatible partner right from
the start.
1. Potential relationship partners are either destined to get a long or they are not.
1. Relationships that do not start off well inevitably fail.
Measuring Growth Beliefs
1 (strongly disagree) ----------------------------- 7 (strongly agree)
5. The ideal relationship develops gradually over time.
5. Challenges and obstacles in a relationship can make love even stronger.
5. A successful relationship is mostly a matter of learning to resolve conflicts with a
partner.
5. A successful relationship evolves through hard work and resolution of
incompatibilities.
People with destiny beliefs are initially happier with their relationships.
But when they are faced with conflict, their satisfaction declines.
Especially sensitive to signs that their relationship is not meant to be
Disengage from the relationship when there is a problem
College students completed measure of destiny and growth beliefs
Reported on satisfaction with current romantic relationship
4 months later: broken-up or still together?
Impact of Destiny Beliefs
People with growth beliefs are constructive, optimistic, and committed in the face of
conflicts.
Fewer one-night stands, dating a partner for a longer period of time
Try to maintain the relationship when there is a problem
Do peoples beliefs about how to keep the sexual spark alive matter for their
satisfaction?
Sexual Destiny Beliefs
Study 1: Predictions
Sexual growth believers will be higher in sexual and relationship satisfaction
Sexual destiny believer will respond more negatively (i.e., feel less satisfied) when
they have a sexual disagreement with their partner.
Study 1: Methods
454 individuals in romantic relationships
Online survey about their sexual beliefs, their sexual and relationship satisfaction, and
the extent of the sexual disagreements in their relationship
Study 1: Results
Sexual growth believers reported higher sexual satisfaction and relationship
satisfaction.
Study 1: Results
Sexual destiny believers were more negatively impacted by sexual disagreements.
More specifically, they felt less satisfied when faced with sexual disagreement
compared to people low in destiny beliefs.
Sexual Destiny Beliefs
Take Home about Relationship Beliefs
Media messages often tell us about soulmates and if we can just meet the right”
person, our relationship will be easy and wonderful.
This work suggests that a different approachthinking that work and effort maintains
satisfaction (both inside and outside of the bedroom)has benefits for relationships.
Break
Part 1: Forming Impressions
Part 2: Relationship Beliefs
Part 3: Perceptions in Close Relationships
Relationship optimism
Positive illusions about partner
Coping with negative information
E.g., selective attention, empathic (in)accuracy, memory bias, adaptive
attributions, flexible standards, downward comparisons
What is a healthy way to think about our relationships?
Do we accurately estimate how long our relationships will last?
Participants, their parents, and their roommates estimated the quality of participants
romantic relationships and how long they thought they would last
Measured actual length of romantic relationships
Japanese, European-Canadian, and Asian-Canadian participants
Participants rated quality of relationship with best friend, closest family member, and
romantic partner
Also rated quality of relationships of the average person at their university
Thinking that conflict is more likely to threaten other peoples relationships as
opposed to their own
Feeling greater control or efficacy to deal with relationship difficulties than you think
other couples feel
Relationship optimism
Positive illusions about partner
Coping with negative information
E.g., selective attention, empathic (in)accuracy, memory bias, adaptive
attributions, flexible standards, downward comparisons
What is a healthy way to think about our relationships?
Enhancement bias
Emphasize partners positive qualities and minimize their faults
Judge partners more favorably than they judge themselves
Positive Illusions and Satisfaction
Positive illusions can be good for relationships - related to increased relationship
satisfaction, commitment, and couple stability
Focus on positive rather than negative aspects of the partner and relationship
Minimizes conflict
Can increase partners self-esteem and attachment security
Accurate understandings of weaknesses of a partner and relationship only engender
doubt
Partner fulfilling prophecy à our partners may live up to our idealized image of them
It depends on how unrealistic the illusions are
Minor illusions can smooth social interaction, but major illusions can
minimize problems
Partners may feel pressure to live up to ideals
Over time, we may revise the idea of an ideal partner to match our
current partner (more likely among satisfied people)
Which would you prefer?
A. to be idealized by a romantic partner
B. to be seen accurately by a romantic partner
Is it better to feel idealized by a partner or be seen accurately?
Self-Perceptions
Our self-concepts encompass all the beliefs and feelings we have about ourselves.
The self-enhancement motive leads us to seek feedback that makes us look good
. . . but the self-verification motive leads us to seek feedback that verifies our self-
concepts.
Self-Enhancement
Self-enhancement is seen in dating relationships, where everybody feels closer to
partners who like and respect them.
Self-Verification
But self-verification becomes more potent in more committed
partnerships.
People with negative self-concepts actually feel closer to spouses who don’t approve
of them than to those who do.
In what situations are positive illusions more beneficial than self-verification?
When relationships are new -- Dating and (newly) married couples
In what situations is self-verification more beneficial for relationships than positive
illusions?
Longer term relationships (sometimes)
When it is related to aspects of self-concept that very important
Ross thinks Rachel is smarter than she thinks she is. What would we predict about
relationship satisfaction based on positive illusions; shared verification?
A. PI: satisfied; SV: dissatisfied
B. PI: dissatisfied; SV: satisfied
C. PI: satisfied; SV: satisfied
D. PI: dissatisfied; SV: dissatisfied
Relationship optimism
Positive illusions about partner
Coping with negative information
E.g., selective attention, empathic (in)accuracy, memory bias, adaptive
attributions, flexible standards, downward comparisons
What is a healthy way to think about our relationships?
How to Cope with Negative Information
Most people discover some negative fact about their partner.
Yet most people are motivated to maintain a positive view of their partner.
What can they do to cope?
How to Cope with Negative Information
Keep negative information out of awareness
selective attention
empathic accuracy (or motivated inaccuracy)
memory bias
Minimizing impact of negative information
adaptive attributions
flexible standards
downward comparisons
Selective Attention
People may simply ignore negative information
Example: spend less time looking at alternative partners if you are highly committed
to current partner
Empathic Accuracy
Empathic accuracy model: peoples motivation to understand what their partner is
thinking and feeling varies with how threatening our partners thoughts and feelings
are likely to be.
Positive: high motivation to understand partner
Negative: low motivation to understand partner
Couple Interactions in Lab
Married couples engaged in discussions about problems
Rated their emotions and perceptions of partners emotions
Outside observers rated partners thoughts and feelings in terms of how threatening
they were
Results
When partners thoughts and feelings were rated as non-threatening, couples felt
closer when they understood each other accurately.
But, when partners thoughts and feelings were rated as threatening, couples felt
closer when they misunderstood each other.
Memory Bias
Peoples memories of their past feelings are distorted by their current feelings about
their relationship
This allows them to downplay the importance of negative information, focusing
instead on the idea that their relationship is only improving over time.
How to Cope with Negative Information
Keep negative information out of awareness
selective attention
empathic accuracy (or motivated inaccuracy)
memory bias
Minimizing impact of negative information
adaptive attributions
flexible standards
downward comparisons
Adaptive Attributions
Sometimes your partners are good to you, and sometimes they arent. How do you
explain good vs. bad behaviour?
People may explain negative information away as being due to circumstances rather
than their partner and as being a temporary thing.
Explaining Good Behaviour
My husband gives me a box of my favourite chocolates.
Internal and stable attribution: He always knows just what to get me he is such a
thoughtful guy!
External and unstable attribution: He got them from someone at work today and is
just re-gifting them to me.
She cooked me a special dinner because
shes a really loving wife.
Wife acts negatively àexternal attribution
She said something mean because
she is stressed out at work.
Explaining Bad Behaviour
I come home from UTM and my husband snaps at me for being five minutes late.
Internal and stable attribution: He is always such an impatient and irritable person.
External and unstable attribution: He must have had a really hard day at work.
Relationship enhancing attributions: satisfied people make internal and stable
attributions for partners good behavior, and external and unstable attributions for
partners bad behavior.
Distress maintaining attributions: dissatisfied people make external and unstable
attributions for partners good behavior, and internal and stable for their partners
bad behavior.
Relationship Enhancing Attributions
Distress Maintaining Attributions
People who make internal attributions for their partners good behavior and
external attributions for their partners bad behavior become happier
People who make external attributions for partners good behavior and internal
attributions for their partners bad behavior become less satisfied
Making positive attributions for a partners negative behavior could cause people to
excuse important problems
Positive attributions are beneficial when facing relatively minor problems (e.g.,
partner leaves their socks on the floor)
But can be harmful when couples face more severe problems (e.g., partner drinks too
much)
Let’s look at some evidence
Two longitudinal studies spanning the first four years of marriage (251 couples)
Measured positive attributions for spouses negative behavior
Measured severity of problems
Partners reported satisfaction and problem severity every 6 months for 4 years
Flexible Standards
People alter their relationship standards based on how their partner behaves.
Whatever is currently perceived to be positive is considered important.
Whatever is currently perceived to be negative is considered unimportant.
Shifting Standards Over Time
Assessed ideal standards among dating couples
Assessed couples still together 3 months later
Over time, peoples standards shifted in the direction of their initial perceptions
Strategic Social Comparisons
People can strategically compare their relationship with other peoples relationships
that are not going that well to conclude that their relationship is better than other
peoples relationships.
Downward Social Comparisons
People may compare their relationship with others relationships and conclude that
their relationship is better than others.
Contrast with upward social comparison, whereby people conclude that others
relationships are better than their own.
Relationship optimism
Positive illusions about partner
Coping with negative information
E.g., selective attention, empathic (in)accuracy, memory bias, adaptive
attributions, flexible standards, downward comparisons
What is a healthy way to think about relationships?
What Is a Healthy Way to Think about Relationships?
The Case for Positive Thinking
Can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies if you see people positively, you behave in ways
that bring out the best in them and can help maintain your relationship.
Securely attached people have higher standards and they generally seek support
when stressed and resolve conflicts constructively.
As a result, relationships are happier and longer lasting
The Case for Lowering Expectations
The Case for Lowering Expectations
People may be disappointed if their expectations are too high and are not met.
If your expectations are too high, your partner will inevitably fall short.
High divorce rates: unreasonable expectations?
People with unreasonable beliefs report lower marital satisfaction.
Optimal Expectations
Positive expectations in the realm of reality seem to be ideal for promoting
relationship satisfaction.
People with expectations that are positive, but not so positive that they cant be
met, tend to be most satisfied.
Good to view partner accurately when it comes to specific traits (e.g.,
intellectual ability, athletic ability, social skills), but good to view partner more
positively when it comes to global perceptions.
Next Week
(Last week, boohoo)
Week 10
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
2:03 PM
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Psychology 327
Questions
Do first impressions really matter all that much?
Is it good to believe in love at first sight?
Is it better to be more optimistic versus more realistic about our partners and
relationships?
Part 1: Forming Impressions
Part 2: Relationship Beliefs
Part 3: Perceptions in Close Relationships
Social Cognition
The process of how we perceive and make judgements about our social world
First Impressions
1/25th of a second to judge emotional expressions, ethnicity, gender
1/10th of a second to judge attractiveness, likability, trustworthiness
5 seconds to judge personality (e.g., intelligence, extraversion)
We make impressions quickly.
We quickly recognize social group membership.
Male/female
Young/old
Attractive/unattractive
Rich/poor
Ethnicity
We tend to have existing beliefs about people to those groups.
Cues from the Face
We use facial cues to make inferences about peoples personalities and traits.
Prejudice
Cues from the Face
We use facial cues to make inferences about peoples personalities and traits.
Prejudice
Sexual orientation
Cues from the Face
We use facial cues to make inferences about peoples personalities and traits.
Prejudice
Sexual orientation
Other traits: political preferences, leadership, narcissism, social class . . .
They Matter!
They influence the quality of relationships that we eventually develop.
New classmates got acquainted with one another.
Their impressions of a student’s personality predicted their feelings about each other
10 weeks later.
Primacy effect
We remember initial information better than later information.
Confirmation bias
We seek and interpret information to confirm our existing beliefs.
Overconfidence
Confidence in our initial impressions increases over time as a result of
confirmation bias.
Primacy Effect
First impressions work because of the primacy effect.
Defined as: tendency for first information we receive about others to carry special
weight
Our quick first judgments of others influence our interpretations of later information
we encounter.
Primacy Effect
Students watched a video about a girl named Hannah
Poor: deteriorating school playground, dingy house
Rich: expansive playground, big house
Guess how well she is doing in school
No differences between poor vs. rich
Then showed Hannah taking aptitude test with inconsistent performance
Hannahs Ability
150 participants surveyed on their interest in politics, political attitudes, and their
opinions on 4 key issues
Then browsed an online forum with articles offering opposing views to the four issues
while software secretly recorded how long they spent reading each article.
Participants spent more time (36% more) reading articles that support existing beliefs
Dating couples in the lab
One partner is the target and the other is perceiver
Target: answered questions about themselves
Perceiver: answered questions about the target
Questions: sexual history, self-esteem, personality, activity preferences
Then asked how confident they were that they were correct in their beliefs about how
partner would answer
Recap: First Impressions
They happen quickly.
They are lasting because of
Primacy effect
Confirmation bias
Overconfidence
Part 1: Forming Impressions
Part 2: Relationship Beliefs
Part 3: Motivated Perception and Reasoning
Relationship Beliefs
Belief: Idea about what relationships are like:
Couples that fight a lot are unhappy.
Love in a relationship is key to a successful marriage.
Individual Differences in Beliefs
People vary in their ideas of things such as:
How important romance and passion are
How much relationships are likely to change over time
How much power they and their partner have to make changes (i.e., locus
of control)
Romanticism
Defined as the view that love should be the most important basis for choosing a
partner:
If you love someone, you must love all of them.
Theres only one true love for me.
True love overcomesall obstacles.
Love is possible at first sight.
Dysfunctional Relationship Beliefs
Disagreements are destructive.
Mindreading is essential.
Partners cannot change.
Sex should be perfect every time.
Men and women are different.
Great relationships just happen.
Dysfunctional Relationship Beliefs
Disagreements are destructive.
Mindreading is essential.
Partners cannot change.
Sex should be perfect every time.
Men and women are different.
Great relationships just happen.
Implicit Theories of Relationships (ITR)
Destiny beliefs: people are either compatible or they are not
Measuring Destiny Beliefs
1 (strongly disagree) ----------------------------- 7 (strongly agree)
1. Potential partners are either compatible or they are not.
1. A successful relationship is mostly a matter of finding a compatible partner right from
the start.
1. Potential relationship partners are either destined to get a long or they are not.
1. Relationships that do not start off well inevitably fail.
Measuring Growth Beliefs
1 (strongly disagree) ----------------------------- 7 (strongly agree)
5. The ideal relationship develops gradually over time.
5. Challenges and obstacles in a relationship can make love even stronger.
5. A successful relationship is mostly a matter of learning to resolve conflicts with a
partner.
5. A successful relationship evolves through hard work and resolution of
incompatibilities.
People with destiny beliefs are initially happier with their relationships.
But when they are faced with conflict, their satisfaction declines.
Especially sensitive to signs that their relationship is not meant to be
Disengage from the relationship when there is a problem
College students completed measure of destiny and growth beliefs
Reported on satisfaction with current romantic relationship
4 months later: broken-up or still together?
Impact of Destiny Beliefs
People with growth beliefs are constructive, optimistic, and committed in the face of
conflicts.
Fewer one-night stands, dating a partner for a longer period of time
Try to maintain the relationship when there is a problem
Do peoples beliefs about how to keep the sexual spark alive matter for their
satisfaction?
Sexual Destiny Beliefs
Study 1: Predictions
Sexual growth believers will be higher in sexual and relationship satisfaction
Sexual destiny believer will respond more negatively (i.e., feel less satisfied) when
they have a sexual disagreement with their partner.
Study 1: Methods
454 individuals in romantic relationships
Online survey about their sexual beliefs, their sexual and relationship satisfaction, and
the extent of the sexual disagreements in their relationship
Study 1: Results
Sexual growth believers reported higher sexual satisfaction and relationship
satisfaction.
Study 1: Results
Sexual destiny believers were more negatively impacted by sexual disagreements.
More specifically, they felt less satisfied when faced with sexual disagreement
compared to people low in destiny beliefs.
Sexual Destiny Beliefs
Take Home about Relationship Beliefs
Media messages often tell us about soulmates and if we can just meet the right”
person, our relationship will be easy and wonderful.
This work suggests that a different approachthinking that work and effort maintains
satisfaction (both inside and outside of the bedroom)has benefits for relationships.
Break
Part 1: Forming Impressions
Part 2: Relationship Beliefs
Part 3: Perceptions in Close Relationships
Relationship optimism
Positive illusions about partner
Coping with negative information
E.g., selective attention, empathic (in)accuracy, memory bias, adaptive
attributions, flexible standards, downward comparisons
What is a healthy way to think about our relationships?
Do we accurately estimate how long our relationships will last?
Participants, their parents, and their roommates estimated the quality of participants
romantic relationships and how long they thought they would last
Measured actual length of romantic relationships
Japanese, European-Canadian, and Asian-Canadian participants
Participants rated quality of relationship with best friend, closest family member, and
romantic partner
Also rated quality of relationships of the average person at their university
Thinking that conflict is more likely to threaten other peoples relationships as
opposed to their own
Feeling greater control or efficacy to deal with relationship difficulties than you think
other couples feel
Relationship optimism
Positive illusions about partner
Coping with negative information
E.g., selective attention, empathic (in)accuracy, memory bias, adaptive
attributions, flexible standards, downward comparisons
What is a healthy way to think about our relationships?
Enhancement bias
Emphasize partners positive qualities and minimize their faults
Judge partners more favorably than they judge themselves
Positive Illusions and Satisfaction
Positive illusions can be good for relationships - related to increased relationship
satisfaction, commitment, and couple stability
Focus on positive rather than negative aspects of the partner and relationship
Minimizes conflict
Can increase partners self-esteem and attachment security
Accurate understandings of weaknesses of a partner and relationship only engender
doubt
Partner fulfilling prophecy à our partners may live up to our idealized image of them
It depends on how unrealistic the illusions are
Minor illusions can smooth social interaction, but major illusions can
minimize problems
Partners may feel pressure to live up to ideals
Over time, we may revise the idea of an ideal partner to match our
current partner (more likely among satisfied people)
Which would you prefer?
A. to be idealized by a romantic partner
B. to be seen accurately by a romantic partner
Is it better to feel idealized by a partner or be seen accurately?
Self-Perceptions
Our self-concepts encompass all the beliefs and feelings we have about ourselves.
The self-enhancement motive leads us to seek feedback that makes us look good
. . . but the self-verification motive leads us to seek feedback that verifies our self-
concepts.
Self-Enhancement
Self-enhancement is seen in dating relationships, where everybody feels closer to
partners who like and respect them.
Self-Verification
But self-verification becomes more potent in more committed
partnerships.
People with negative self-concepts actually feel closer to spouses who don’t approve
of them than to those who do.
In what situations are positive illusions more beneficial than self-verification?
When relationships are new -- Dating and (newly) married couples
In what situations is self-verification more beneficial for relationships than positive
illusions?
Longer term relationships (sometimes)
When it is related to aspects of self-concept that very important
Ross thinks Rachel is smarter than she thinks she is. What would we predict about
relationship satisfaction based on positive illusions; shared verification?
A. PI: satisfied; SV: dissatisfied
B. PI: dissatisfied; SV: satisfied
C. PI: satisfied; SV: satisfied
D. PI: dissatisfied; SV: dissatisfied
Relationship optimism
Positive illusions about partner
Coping with negative information
E.g., selective attention, empathic (in)accuracy, memory bias, adaptive
attributions, flexible standards, downward comparisons
What is a healthy way to think about our relationships?
How to Cope with Negative Information
Most people discover some negative fact about their partner.
Yet most people are motivated to maintain a positive view of their partner.
What can they do to cope?
How to Cope with Negative Information
Keep negative information out of awareness
selective attention
empathic accuracy (or motivated inaccuracy)
memory bias
Minimizing impact of negative information
adaptive attributions
flexible standards
downward comparisons
Selective Attention
People may simply ignore negative information
Example: spend less time looking at alternative partners if you are highly committed
to current partner
Empathic Accuracy
Empathic accuracy model: peoples motivation to understand what their partner is
thinking and feeling varies with how threatening our partners thoughts and feelings
are likely to be.
Positive: high motivation to understand partner
Negative: low motivation to understand partner
Couple Interactions in Lab
Married couples engaged in discussions about problems
Rated their emotions and perceptions of partners emotions
Outside observers rated partners thoughts and feelings in terms of how threatening
they were
Results
When partners thoughts and feelings were rated as non-threatening, couples felt
closer when they understood each other accurately.
But, when partners thoughts and feelings were rated as threatening, couples felt
closer when they misunderstood each other.
Memory Bias
Peoples memories of their past feelings are distorted by their current feelings about
their relationship
This allows them to downplay the importance of negative information, focusing
instead on the idea that their relationship is only improving over time.
How to Cope with Negative Information
Keep negative information out of awareness
selective attention
empathic accuracy (or motivated inaccuracy)
memory bias
Minimizing impact of negative information
adaptive attributions
flexible standards
downward comparisons
Adaptive Attributions
Sometimes your partners are good to you, and sometimes they arent. How do you
explain good vs. bad behaviour?
People may explain negative information away as being due to circumstances rather
than their partner and as being a temporary thing.
Explaining Good Behaviour
My husband gives me a box of my favourite chocolates.
Internal and stable attribution: He always knows just what to get me he is such a
thoughtful guy!
External and unstable attribution: He got them from someone at work today and is
just re-gifting them to me.
She cooked me a special dinner because
shes a really loving wife.
Wife acts negatively àexternal attribution
She said something mean because
she is stressed out at work.
Explaining Bad Behaviour
I come home from UTM and my husband snaps at me for being five minutes late.
Internal and stable attribution: He is always such an impatient and irritable person.
External and unstable attribution: He must have had a really hard day at work.
Relationship enhancing attributions: satisfied people make internal and stable
attributions for partners good behavior, and external and unstable attributions for
partners bad behavior.
Distress maintaining attributions: dissatisfied people make external and unstable
attributions for partners good behavior, and internal and stable for their partners
bad behavior.
Relationship Enhancing Attributions
Distress Maintaining Attributions
People who make internal attributions for their partners good behavior and
external attributions for their partners bad behavior become happier
People who make external attributions for partners good behavior and internal
attributions for their partners bad behavior become less satisfied
Making positive attributions for a partners negative behavior could cause people to
excuse important problems
Positive attributions are beneficial when facing relatively minor problems (e.g.,
partner leaves their socks on the floor)
But can be harmful when couples face more severe problems (e.g., partner drinks too
much)
Let’s look at some evidence
Two longitudinal studies spanning the first four years of marriage (251 couples)
Measured positive attributions for spouses negative behavior
Measured severity of problems
Partners reported satisfaction and problem severity every 6 months for 4 years
Flexible Standards
People alter their relationship standards based on how their partner behaves.
Whatever is currently perceived to be positive is considered important.
Whatever is currently perceived to be negative is considered unimportant.
Shifting Standards Over Time
Assessed ideal standards among dating couples
Assessed couples still together 3 months later
Over time, peoples standards shifted in the direction of their initial perceptions
Strategic Social Comparisons
People can strategically compare their relationship with other peoples relationships
that are not going that well to conclude that their relationship is better than other
peoples relationships.
Downward Social Comparisons
People may compare their relationship with others relationships and conclude that
their relationship is better than others.
Contrast with upward social comparison, whereby people conclude that others
relationships are better than their own.
Relationship optimism
Positive illusions about partner
Coping with negative information
E.g., selective attention, empathic (in)accuracy, memory bias, adaptive
attributions, flexible standards, downward comparisons
What is a healthy way to think about relationships?
What Is a Healthy Way to Think about Relationships?
The Case for Positive Thinking
Can lead to self-fulfilling prophecies if you see people positively, you behave in ways
that bring out the best in them and can help maintain your relationship.
Securely attached people have higher standards and they generally seek support
when stressed and resolve conflicts constructively.
As a result, relationships are happier and longer lasting
The Case for Lowering Expectations
The Case for Lowering Expectations
People may be disappointed if their expectations are too high and are not met.
If your expectations are too high, your partner will inevitably fall short.
High divorce rates: unreasonable expectations?
People with unreasonable beliefs report lower marital satisfaction.
Optimal Expectations
Positive expectations in the realm of reality seem to be ideal for promoting
relationship satisfaction.
People with expectations that are positive, but not so positive that they cant be
met, tend to be most satisfied.
Good to view partner accurately when it comes to specific traits (e.g.,
intellectual ability, athletic ability, social skills), but good to view partner more
positively when it comes to global perceptions.
Next Week
(Last week, boohoo)
Week 10
Wednesday, November 14, 2018 2:03 PM
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Psychology 327
Questions
Do first impressions really matter all that much?
Is it good to believe in love at first sight?
Is it better to be more optimistic versus more realistic about our partners and
relationships?
Part 1: Forming Impressions
Part 2: Relationship Beliefs
Part 3: Perceptions in Close Relationships
Social Cognition
The process of how we perceive and make judgements about our social world
First Impressions
1/25th of a second to judge emotional expressions, ethnicity, gender
1/10th of a second to judge attractiveness, likability, trustworthiness
5 seconds to judge personality (e.g., intelligence, extraversion)
We make impressions quickly.
We quickly recognize social group membership.
Male/female
Young/old
Attractive/unattractive
Rich/poor
Ethnicity
We tend to have existing beliefs about people to those groups.
Cues from the Face
We use facial cues to make inferences about peoples personalities and traits.
Prejudice
Cues from the Face
We use facial cues to make inferences about peoples personalities and traits.
Prejudice
Sexual orientation
Cues from the Face
We use facial cues to make inferences about peoples personalities and traits.
Prejudice
Sexual orientation
Other traits: political preferences, leadership, narcissism, social class . . .
They Matter!
They influence the quality of relationships that we eventually develop.
New classmates got acquainted with one another.
Their impressions of a student’s personality predicted their feelings about each other
10 weeks later.
Primacy effect
We remember initial information better than later information.
Confirmation bias
We seek and interpret information to confirm our existing beliefs.
Overconfidence
Confidence in our initial impressions increases over time as a result of
confirmation bias.
Primacy Effect
First impressions work because of the primacy effect.
Defined as: tendency for first information we receive about others to carry special
weight
Our quick first judgments of others influence our interpretations of later information
we encounter.
Primacy Effect
Students watched a video about a girl named Hannah
Poor: deteriorating sch