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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - Romantic Relationships and Emotions

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University of Toronto Mississauga
Emily Impett

PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 6 – October 24, 2013 Romantic Relationships and Emotions Plan for Today: - Romantic Relationships: How do we make love last? - Emotions: What are they? How do they affect us? How do we deal with them? Questions from Last Class - “Styles”: Can you have just one? - Gender differences in attachment styles? o There are gender differences in attachment (where men are A BIT more avoidant and women A BIT more attached) - Long-distance relationships and attachment styles o People compared people in long distance and “close” relationship… people in long distance tend to be in more desire - Change over time? More likely to become secure (good news, security is the MOST stable!) o Security is the most stable attachment style over time  where once you are securely attached, you are more likely to stay securely attached Romantic Relationships Topic: - Romantic relationships: How do we make love last? - Love is something so divine, description would but make it less; „Tis what I feel, but can‟t define. „Tis what I know, but can‟t express. Two Types of Love - Passionate Love o Feeling of intense longing with physiological arousal; when it is reciprocated, we feel fulfillment and ecstasy, and hen it is not, we feel despair o “Justin is always on my mind”, “I would be in despair if he left me” - Companionate Love o Feelings of intimacy and affection we feel for another person about whom we care deeply o How much warm and affectionate love do you feel for your partner? - Feelings of Passionate love start our relatively high and decrease over time o Tend to peak at around 2 years, and that‟s when passionate love starts to take this decline - Companionate love starts out low and increases over time Companionate Love Lasts - Hundreds of couples married 15 years or longer asked why their marriages lasted - Two most important reasons: o “My spouse is my best friend” o “I like my spouse as a person” - What they didn‟t say was they would do anything for their spouse, or they would be miserable without them Predicaments of Passion - People often marry out of passionate love, but then long-term commitment is based on a state which CHANGES PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 6 – October 24, 2013 o Sometimes they assume that they are not with the “right relationship” and end up leaving the relationship - Passionate love trumps intimacy and commitment, which may bring regret (infidelity) Think of a Current or Previous Relationship - I want our relationship to last for very long time - I feel very attached to our relationship – very strongly linked to my partner - I would not feel very upset if our relationship were to end in the near future - It is likely that I will date someone other than my partner within the next year Commitment - Satisfaction: How happy are you in this relationship? o People who are happier or satisfied are going to be more committed to make that relationship last o However; satisfaction isn‟t the only thing that is important - Alternative: How happy would you be in another relationship? Or alone? - Investment: When have you put into this relationship that you would lose if the relationship were to end? o Time, making sacrifices for your partner Investment Model - Model shows that people who are highly satisfied and make a lot of investments, tend to feel more commitment (sticking it out in the long term) - This is the best predictor to see if people will stay or leave their relationships Committed Partners - Use more plural pronouns (i.e. “we”) that signal sense of shared couple identity - Are more willing to make sacrifices for a partner o Both big and small sacrifices for their partner o I.e., move across the country for their partner to have a better job (big) o I.e., engaging in sex when they are not in the mood (small) - Are more willing to forgive a partner - Derogate tempting alternatives Photo Study - Undergraduate students in romantic relationships viewed photos of attractive members of the other sex o Group 1: Told person was professional model in NYC PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 6 – October 24, 2013 o Group 2: Told person was fellow students on campus - Person in photo rated for how physical attractive they found the person to be - Results: o Group 1: Almost everyone rated the “professional model” highly attractive  Including people both committed and not committed in their relationships o Group 2: Highly committed people rated the “student on campus” as lower in attractiveness than those with lower commitment - Conclusion: o When people think that highly attractive alternatives can pose a threat in their relationship, then people in highly committed relationship won‟t find them as attractive to show their commitment to their partners Investment Pros and Cons - High investments may enable couples to weather the inevitable stormy times o Can help people ride out through rough times until they can get to the good times in relationships - But, they can also trap people in unhealthy relationships o Women with high investments and poor alternatives more likely to return to abusive partners John Gottmann - Clinical psychologist that conducts studies on marriages and relationships - Main point of his research: conflict is inevitable in relationships; o Where we experience conflict with our partners  how does this relate to the decision is partners stick it out or call it quits Gottmann‟s Approach - Bring couples into the lab - Unobtrusively record behavior, facial expressions, and physiological responses - Make them fight by having them discuss a contentious issue 4 BIG Issues - Sex: unsatisfying sex or sexual frequency o Conflict on how frequently each couple wants to engage in sex (Men usually want more sex  gender differences) - Money: issues around spending and saving o Maybe one partner wants to spend money more freely than the other - Housework: equity around daily chores - Trust: in partner responsive 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse – (Whether a couple will stay together or break up) - Criticism o Highlighting your partner‟s personality “defects” o I.e., “You nag me all the time”, “You always complain about me” - Defensiveness o Warding off criticism through counter attack o I.e., “You think I‟m messy, look at your side of the dresser” - Contempt o Speaking “down” to your partner (superiority) o You imply you know what is best and that they don‟t know PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 6 – October 24, 2013 - Stonewalling o Ignoring or shutting out your partner (withdrawing) o Your partner tries talking about an issue, and you pull away creating distance and shut them out Video about Gottman about 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse - He refers what he calls the masters and disasters of relationships - These refer to people who end up having satisfying and long lasting relationships, or people who aren‟t satisfied and do not have long lasting relationships - Criticism: o Masters: people raise an issue, and took responsibly for a small part of the problem o Disasters: diagnosing the partners personality‟s defects, and hoping their partners would admit to the accused faults - Defensiveness: o Masters: more open to sharing the blame o Disasters: blaming the other - Contempt: o Best predictor of divorce and breakups - Stonewalling o Stonewaller doesn‟t give the usual cues a listener would give (i.e., head nods) o Turns out they were trying to calm down and not make the situation work How to Keep the Spark Alive! - Try New Things: self expansion - Celebrate your partner‟s triumphs: capitalization - Focus on what you can give: sacrifice - Appreciate your partner: gratitude Try New Things - Partners who speak out on positive experiences in their relationships tend to have more satisfying and long lasting relationships Self-Expansion - In new relationships, people are rapidly expanding their sense of self - We start to incorporate the other person into our sense of self (self-other overlap) - To maintain satisfaction, engage in self-expanding (novel and arousing) actives Novel Activities Study - Couple came into the lab and completed a pre-test measure of relationship satisfaction o Group 1: novel-arousing task  Tied together walking across mats  Got couples laughing, and got their hearts pumping o Group 2: mundane task  Designed as similar as possible to the other task, but less novel-arousing  Rolling a ball to each other, walking back and forth on mats - After task, another measure of satisfaction - Results o Couples in mundane task condition became less satisfied with their relationships after completing their task o But couples in the novel-arousing condition became more satisfied PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 6 – October 24, 2013 - Suggesting doing new things that are arousing prevents boredoms o You don‟t need to do extreme things like bungee jumping, you can do small things like trying to cook a new recipe together o These increase daily satisfaction, passion and level of sexual desire for each other Celebrate Triumphs - Respond in enthusiastic ways when good things happen to their partners Capitalization - Social support for partner during times of stress is crucial - But responsiveness in good times is as important as responsiveness in the bad - Important to celebrate a partner‟s triumphs I got an A on my Social Psych Test! - Active Constructive: OMG, that is so exciting! o Research has shown that this promotes positive emotions and relationship satisfaction - Passive Constructive: That‟s nice - Active Destructive: It must have been really easy since I know you didn‟t study very hard - Passive Destructive: What‟s for dinner? Sacrifice - Sacrifice is essential - Making sacrifices for a partner boosts relationship happiness if done for the “right” reasons o Approach goals  good for relationships  When you want to do thing that create positive outcomes in the relationships  Make the partner happy, or create intimacy o Avoidances goals  bad for relationships  Both partners will experience negative emotions and report more conflict Gratitude in Relationships - Appreciate what your partner does for you o It is important and appreciate our partners for the small things they do for us o I.e., washing the dishes, helping us with our homework - Appreciate who your partner is as a person o We don‟t only feel grateful for what they do for us, it is important to cultivate a sense of appreciation for our partner as a person - Both of these kinds of appreciation promote satisfaction and prevent break-ups o This is the best predictor if relationships ultimately stay together or not Recap: What TO Do - Try new things with your romantic partner - Celebrate and encourage your partner‟s triumphs (when good things happen) - Focus on what you can give rather than what you can get - Cultivate gratitude PSY220H5 – Social Psychology Lecture 6 – October 24, 2013 Emotions - Emotions are such an important part of our lives Four Questions - What is an emotion? - Are emotions universal or culturally specific? - What effects do our emotions have on us? - How do we regulate our emotions? (1) What is an Emotion? 4 Basic Properties - Brief o Last for a few seconds to a few minutes at most - Specific cause o Often something specific happened for you to feel a specific emotion - Signaled through face, touch, voice - Helps achieve goals o And many of these goals are social Emotion vs. Other States - Emotions are brief and tend to last for a few seconds and minutes, not days or week - Above is a chart where you can see emotions are relatively bri
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