Chapter 9 ; Emotions in Social Relationships
Social goals and social emotions
- Robert Louis Stevensons (1886)
o He created a story that says that human beings are mixtures of good and evil
- For many theorists, there are two fundamental dimensions to human social life that provide two coordinates
o Love and strife (strife = power)
- Freud saw life in terms of sexuality and death, humankind’s creative and destructive tendencies.
- More recently theorists speak of cooperation, affiliation, and prosocial behavior on the one hand, and competition, dominance,
and antisocial behavior on the other
- The two aspects have been found in studies of
o child development = love and control
o anthropology = intimacy and superordination-subordination
o semantic analyses = evaluation (goodness) and potency
- What sets primates, especially from humans, apart from other species is the capacity for kindness
o Ex. Tibetan Buddhism, minks practice the cultivation of compassion. The conviction is that when the mind is rid of desire,
one discovers the compassionate core of human nature
o Dalai Lama: at the most fundamental level our nature is compassionate, and cooperation, not conflict, lies at the heart of
the basic principles that govern our human existence
- At the same time, in the history of Western thought anger, aggression, and revenge have been seen as unavoidable aspects of
o Ex. Stoics saw anger as the most essential to master
o For Buddhist anger is a destructive emotion
- Lorenz (1967) argued that aggression is an innate drive like hunger, and that human culture is in peril: aggression threatens to run
out of control b/c technology and bureaucracy hold back humans from reconciliation and peace making
- Ardrey (1966) speculated about a “territorial imperative”: that we are programmed for aggression in defense of territories ranging
from a seat on the bus to a nation
- He is remembered for the geese who followed him
- He married a physician so he got a professorship, but then had to go to the army as a doctor.
- Was a prisoner of war comp, he ate insects and spiders to keep healthy
- He received a Nobel Prize
- When Hitler came into power, Lorenz went along with the Nazis.
- He wrote an article in which he proposed that people who had been overdomesticated should be eliminated as an act of public
health he regretted this
Three kinds of social motivation: attachment, affiliation, and assertion
- Emotions most typically arise with evaluations of events in relation to goals.
- Attachment – its function is primarily that of protection and care for the immature infant. The infant and caregiver cooperate to
allow the infant to thrive in an environment that contains dangers
- Affiliation – warmth. May cal it affection.
o Affection – feeling of warmth and cooperativeness toward another person
o It contributes to parenting, and more generally it draws individuals together even when they are not genetically related.
o Ex. May be seen in mutual grooming of chimps. In humans, romantic love
- Assertion - is the motivation to rise in the social hierarchy, and to resist challenges from those who would diminish us.
o It is the motivation of competition and conflict
- The three social motivations are pervasive across contexts and cultures and sufficiently important in human life that they deserve
to be emphasized
Attachment and its separation from affiliation
- Bowlbys conceptualization of attachment was that its function is essentially protective.
- Even with this protection, early childhood remains the most vulnerable period of life
- The functioning of the mother as a secure base continues into adolescence
- Ainsworth et al hypothesized that infants developed their sense of trust from parents being sensitive and responsive
- Grossmann et al (1985) found that mothers who were more sensitive during their babies’ first year had infants who were more
securely attached at the end of the year, although this relationship was not found at all measurement points during the year.
o Disagrees with Ainsworth’s findings
- Atkinson et al (2005) have found further evidence of dissociation between maternal sensitivity and attachment security
- Goldberg et al (1999) conclude that alongside the protective functions of attachment there is another function that is separable
but equally important, the system of affiliation, warmth, and affection. This includes sensitivity.
- Affiliation and warmth are important in human development, but they involve different processes than of protection
o Ex. Fox and Davidson (1987)
Found that babies seeing their mothers approaching with open arms showed joy and an activation of the left
side of the cortex. System activated here is part of affiliation
By contrast, distress on separation from a caregiver involved not so much a reduction of such activation, but
changes in a separate system, on the right side of the cortex
o Macdonald (1992) also points out that although attachment occurs among all primates, only some species form
affectional bonds based on warmth.
- Human caregivers can be strong in attachment but not particularly warm to their infants
o Ex. Ainsworth (1967)
Found that hugging and kissing between infants and mothers was, for instance, not very common in Uganda,
whereas it is more common in America.
Concluded that although American mothers were warmer, their responsiveness to children’s distress was less
than the Ugandan mothers.
- MacDonald (1992) and Goldberg et al (1999) hypothesized that the separate systems of attachment and affiliative warmth can be
differently prioritized in different cultures
o We touch and hug those to whom we feel affectionate
o Chimps spend 20% of their time grooming
- Clark and Finkel (2005)
o Wrote about affiliation in terms of what they call communal relating (Caring) as opposed to relating in terms of exchange
o People express more emotions in relationships that are communal
Emotions as social
- Emotions are social in several different ways:
o Emotions are evaluations of events that affect different kinds of social goals
People are anxious if an attachment figure is not there
People are happy when they see a friend
o Emotions are not solely determined by appraisals of events.
Emotions are reappraised, so that the emotions become amalgams of what started them and the social
negotiations they have occasioned.
o Emotions create social relationships.
Angry expression shows conflict
Aube and Senteni (1996) emotions are commitments. We commit ourselves, for a time at least, to the
relationship for which the emotion sets the frame.
Clark, Fitness, and Brissette (2004) argue that emotions signal our goals and others can then be responsive to
- The 3 social motivations do not coexist: in human society they need actively to be combined.
o Sexual love = attachment and affiliation
o Effective parenting – needs all 3
Emotions within intimate relationships
Early attachment as a template for later love
- Bowlby said that the long term love two people cooperate to accomplish together is an affectional bond
- Bowlby’s idea was that the attachment relationship of infancy creates a template for later intimate relationships.
- Darwin (1872) supposed that the infant pattern of holding and being held is elaborated in adult caressing.
- Freud added the romantic notion that adult love is the return to the Eden of blissful merging with one’s original love, with one’s
o Adult romantic love and sexuality, according to this, is an elaboration upon universal, evolved, behavioral patterns of
- Shaver, Hazan, and Bradshaw (1988) propose that adult love depends on 3 systems:
o Caregiving of infants by parents
o Sexual relating of reproduction
They argue that attachment and care giving both carry forward experiences from infancy to adult relating.
Maternal care giving and affiliative warmth
- Principal researcher in the area of maternal caregiving is Alison Fleming.
o Studies both lab animals and humans
o In rats, mothers show 3 distinctive kinds of maternal behavior toward their infants
When infant rats suckle, the mothers assume a crouching posture over them
If infants get out of the nest, they make ultrasonic squeaks and mothers retrieve them. Retrieval is dependent
on the nucleus accumbens
Mothers lick their infants particular on and around the ano-genital region
- Retrieving is a species characteristic pattern
- Retrieval is equivalent, in human mothers, to the attachment function of responding to the babies cries, picking them up, and
keeping them safe.
- In infant rats, being licked and stimulated in a tactile way, is essential for health and proper development. It switches on various
neural and hormonal systems
- Micheal Meaney’s group has shown:
o Baby rats who were licked more and nursed more by their mothers made a difference in DNA methylation at a gene
promoter region in the hippocampus.
o Experience of being licked and nursed more was found to affect gene expression, which in turn had a calming effect on
responses to stress of the offspring in their adulthood. This is a new finding of gene environment interaction, of how
although environmental experience does not affect genes as such, it can alter genes’ expression
- Fleming and her group has shown that the physical touching is dependent, both in rats and humans, on the mother herself having
experienced bodily contact when she was an infant: that is, intergenerational transmission of mothering depends on experience
o Human mothers can raise children perfectly successfully without being particularly affectionate to them, but their
children’s ability to show affection in their later life, and perhaps their interest in affection, depends on having been
objects of affection to their parents
- Mother and father fall in love with their infant
o This love will sustain them through the life upheavals that child rearing demands
- Winnicott (1958)
o “primary maternal preoccupation” – sustains the devotion they need for the baby to flourish.
- Klaus and Kennel (1976) described a process of the mother becoming bonded to her baby by bodily contact during the first days of
delivery. They recommended this body contact as early infant care.
o They were over stated: parents, who, for whatever reason, are unable to have close contact with their babies in the first
few days do become perfectly good and loving parents, and their babies thrive just as well.
o Most tellingly, adoptive parents who have not had early contact make just as good loving parents and fathers as
- Fathers who were present at birth of children showed more intense attachment to their infants early on.
Affiliation and sexual relating
- Male provisioning hypothesis – hypothesis, due to Owen Lovejoy, that with human pair bonding, which is thought to have come
into being with the evolutionary emergence of upright walking, the male devotes economic input (provisioning) to a particular
female, and to her young which he is likely to have fathered