PSYC18 – Lecture 10 Prof’s Speech - Purple
Slide 3 – Intimate Relationships
- Differences between intimate and non-intimate relationships?
- 6 domains to consider:
o 1. Knowledge:
secret-sharing, confidential information
able to trust intimate partner with this information
o 2. Caring:
affection, motivated by affiliation
motivated by need for physical contact
caring through affection – can be done through words as well
o 3. Interdependence:
strong, enduring impact on each other
care about what the other person says and does
what the other person says and does impacts you
o 4. Mutuality:
“We” not “you and I’”
Part of your identity is tied to that other person
Part of your identity is characterized by your relationship with the other person
o 5. Trust:
“Etiquette” no longer applies
Not going to be judged by other person for trivial things
Can tell other person about feelings without fear of judgement
o 6. Commitment:
Emotional & monetary investment follows that expectation
Emotional investment: how you feel without fear of them leaving
Monetary investment: house, car
Investments are a symbol that both are on the same page
Slide 6 – Emotions that foster Intimacy
o Couples who are playful with each other during arguments often have more peaceful
exchanges, and those who are happier in their marriage often will tease each other during
o Way of communicating that encourages intimacy
o Helps put things in perspective
When arguing, can remember the playful times
o Helps in being more satisfied with the relationship
- Compassionate love
o Compassion is not only important for couples, but for all types of social exchange. People
who report feeling higher degrees of compassion see more common humanity with
others, are more generous and cooperative, and they punish others less. How do you
think these findings can inform us about how compassion might be important in
o Those who feel more compassion feel that they have more in common with the rest of the
world o Less likely to engage in negative behaviours
o Forgiveness is important for relieving stress in relationships – lowers blood pressure. But
it’s not about simply forgetting what your partner has done, but actually realizing that
making mistakes is part of being human, and accepting this.
o Not holding onto grudges has physiological consequences
o Accepting that people make mistakes and not seeing them as spiteful
Slide 7 – Tsang McCullough & Finchman (2006) Study on Forgiveness
- Research Question: How do different facets of forgiveness predict relationship well-being?
- 201 participants who had incurred interpersonal hurt at least 18 days prior to study
• Participants had to report that their partner had hurt them in some way
- Participants completed the TRIM – Transgressions Related Motivations Inventory
• TRIM measures what it means to forgive someone
Slide 8 – Forgiveness Measures
- Avoidance of transgressor
o Instead of dealing with problem, avoid person
o It is better to seek to talk and work out the problem
- Motivation to seek revenge
o Engagement in revenge doesn’t lead to solving problems, just to hurting each other more
- Benevolence (e.g. Even though her actions hurt me, I still have goodwill for her)
- Longitudinal study: 5 data collection time points:
o 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 weeks after transgression
Slide 9 – Relationship Well-Being Measures
- Relationship closeness (how close you are to the person that hurt you right now) and commitment
(how committed you are to the person that hurt you right now)
- 5 data collection time points:
o 1, 3, 5, 7 and 9 weeks after transgression.
Slide 10 – Results
- Lower levels of avoidance and revenge = higher levels of commitment and closeness
- Higher levels of benevolence = higher levels of commitment and closeness
- Did not consider the intensity of transgression
Slide 11 - Will You Be There For Me When Things Go Right? Supportive Responses to Positive Event
- Gable, Gonzaga & Strachman (2006). In Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.
- “For better or worse”… conventional focus on “for worse”
- Important to be there in bad times - leads to relationship satisfaction
- Authors look at this in terms of “event disclosures”
- - How does partner’s response to negative/positive disclosures pertain to intimacy and overall
well-being? - When romantic partners share in each other’s joys and express enthusiasm for each other’s
successes, this predicts relationship satisfaction several months later.
- Responses to negative events did not predict relationship well-being
Slide 12 –
- The Current Study
o 79 dating couples, University of California
o Minimum 6 months together, 43% cohabitating
o Heterosexual couples
- Basic procedure:
o 4 interactions
o Post hoc evaluations by the “discloser”
o Follow-up with couple in 2 months
o Looked at each partner’s evaluation of 4 interactions
Slide 13 – The Interactions
- Each partner describes 1 positive & 1 negative event.
- Each person is “discloser” and “responder” twice.
o Each partner is discloser for each event and responder for each event
- 4 critical interactions
- What type of events qualify?
o Individual experiences
o Past, present, future
Slide 14 – The Post Hoc Evaluations
- “Discloser” evaluates “responder” after each interaction:
o How responsive the responder is when listening to event
- 1. Reis’s (2003) Responsiveness scale
o Responsiveness scale – how validated discloser felt when talking to partner about event
- How understood, validated, cared for “discloser” felt.
- Level of agreement with items such as:
o My partner saw the “real me”…
o My partner focused on the “best side” of me…
o My partner valued my abilities and opinions…
Slide 15 – The Follow-up
- 2 months after study.
- Relationship Quality Measures:
- 1. How good is your relationship compared to most?
- 2. Commitment level
- 3. Desire for Affection
- = composite score computed Relationship Well-Being
Slide 16 –
- Regression Analysis
- Outcome variable: Relationship Well-Being 2 months later
- Predictor 1: Responsiveness to negative event
- Predictor 2: Responsiveness to positive event - Is relationship well-being predicted by the quality of feedback provided to you by your partner
when you described a positive and negative life event?
- Regressive reveals different predictive models for men and women
- For Men:
- Relationship well-being jointly accounted for by:
- Female partner’s responsiveness to description of positive and negative event.
- Both positive predictors.
- For Women:
- Relationship well-being only predicted by:
- Male partner’s responsiveness to woman’s description of positive event.
- Gable’s “For better or for worse” study showed”
o 1. Important to tell partner about good and bad events
o 2. Low responsiveness to good events is common yet particularly damaging
Slide 19 – Segway to Next Study
- Everyday wisdom suggests that commiserating builds intimacy in romantic relationships.
- Research emphasizes importance of recognizing successes
- What about negative emotions in non-romantic social contexts?
Slide 20 – Positive of Negative Emotions?
- Graham et al. (2008). In Personality & Social Psychology Bulletin
- Does the expression of negative emotions hurt or promote interpersonal relationships?
- Not just romantic relationships this time
- A series of studies
Slide 21 – Study 1
- Participants read vignettes of situations where others were experiencing negative emotions
o Given two scenarios
o In both situations, the person was not very happy
o Does the reader want to help the person they are reading about?
- IVs that might contribute to decision:
- 1. Emotion type (anxiety, sadness) 2. Expression (yes, no)
- Finding: Explicitly expressing anxiety or sadness promotes the desire to help!
Slide 22 – Study 2
- Wanted to extend study 1 findings
- What about real-life not imagination?
- Actual helping vs. intention to help
- Used real behaviours instead of hypothetical
- Participants watched a confederate giving a speech
- Conditions: confederate expressed negative emotions in speech or expressed positive emotions in
- IV that might contribute:
- 1. Expression (yes, no)
- Finding: Explicitly expressing anxiety promotes helping! Slide 23 – Study 3
- Field study
- In mid-summer:
o Before moving into dorm for 1 year of college
o Participants rate willingness to express negative emotions (anger specifically)
- End of first semester:
o How many friends have you made?
o Quality of the intimacy of your closest friendships?
o Controlled for: neuroticism, gender, self-esteem
o Regression analysis
Predictor: willingness to express negative emotion
Outcomes: # friends, quality of intimacy
o Does propensity to express anger affect quality and quantity of relationships?
- Key Finding 1: Willingness predicts quantity of social ties
- Key Finding 2: Willingness predicts quality of intimacy
o More anger = more friends, and more quality relationships
- Conclusion: Expressing Negative Emotions Has Positive Relationship Outcomes
o When someone opens up to you emotionally, it is a sign of trust
o It elicits social support
o It promotes the establishment of new relationships
o It heightens intimacy in close relationships
o More likely to want to help people who exhibit negative emotions
Slide 27 – Not all negative emotions are constructive
- Oatley mentions the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse”
- Chapter 9, p. 237
- Negative behaviors damaging to marriages:
o 1. Criticism
People who continuously find faults in their partners have lower relationship
o 2. Stonewalling
Arguing style that goes hand-in-hand with other
When partners react with defense to their relationship problems, this is
problematic for relationships – because it does not lead to conflict resolution
Technique where you avoid the problem at hand and you don’t want to deal with
Makes partner feel that you don’t care
o 3. Defensiveness
Focus on defending self and proving that you are right and who is wrong
Arguing should lead