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Lecture 15

Lecture 15- personality and social relationships.docx

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Ulrich Schimmack

Personality and Social Relationships Introduction  Close social relationships one of the most important motives/values for many people  Social relationships vary in quality  Western cultures- divorce accepted and common practice to end bad relationship o Strong indication that people are unhappy with their marriage o Low divorce rate doesn’t mean everyone is happily married; not culturally acceptable o Divorce rate for Canada suggests marriages are unsuccessful and end in divorce  Looking at how personality traits influence social relationships  How consistent people’s behaviours and feelings are across different relationships Parent-Infant relationship: attachment theory  Attachment theory: infants need their parents to survive; look to parents for help specially during times of need, stress or uncertainty  Stranger situation test- children left alone with stranger (anxiety provoking situation), mother returns (behaviour of infant observed at this stage) o Secure attachment- infants regards mother as someone who can and will protect it during times of need o Avoidant attachment- implied infant does not trust mother to protect him and tries to cope with anxiety without mother’s help o Anxious/ambivalent attachment- child overwhelmed by stressful situation and doesn’t know how to act  Assumption made is that secure attachment provides infants with important experience that they can trust someone to take care of them o Allows for positive developed and forming better social relationships later one  Insecurely attached children grow up thinking they cant rely on anyone which has negative consequences on their personality and social relationships  Another assumption is that the attachment style is partially shaped by the parents or can be based on genetic dispositions Infant attachment and childhood personality  Some evidence that infants’ attachment predicts children’s personality  Studies found that secure attachment during infancy is a negative predictor of neuroticism and positive predictor of extraversion and openness Infant attachment: parents vs. infants influence  How much infant’s attachment styles are influenced by infant’s personality vs. parent’s parenting behaviour  Measures show stronger MZ than DZ correlations indicating that infant’s genes contribute to attachment styles  Twins have more similar attachment styles than we would predict based on their genetic relatedness; environmental similarity reflects influence of parents on infants  Fathers also influence their infant’s attachment styles Adult attachment styles  Systematically related to Big Five (secure-lower neuroticism, higher extraversion, agreeableness and consciousness)  Consistent with assumption that secure infant attachment leads to better social relationships and positive personality later on in life  Romantic relationships- attachment styles better predictors of relationship status, length and satisfaction than personality traits o Openness predicted length of relationships (more open-> casual dating) and higher neuroticism associated with lower relationship satisfaction Longitudinal Evidence  Infant’s attachment style significant predictor of observer ratings of romantic relationships and it is a strong effect; also a predictor of self-reported closeness but effect was weaker Twin studies of adult attachment styles  Attachment theory predicts that twins should have similar attachment styles beyond influence of their genes; reason being that the theory predicts parents shape infant’s attachment and parental influence continues to shape attachment behaviours in adulthood o Shared environmental
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