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Lecture 9

PSY424H1 Lecture Notes - Lecture 9: Motivated Reasoning, Reset Button


Department
Psychology
Course Code
PSY424H1
Professor
Geoffrey Mac Donald
Lecture
9

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Lecture 9 [Maintaining Relationships]
Who Best Predicts Breakup?
Friends sometimes see us more accurately than we see ourselves (Vazire &
Carlson, 2011)
o Especially when we lack information e.g. the trait is external rather than
internal -> friends able to see this information more accurately like how we
listen/make eye contact with people
o Or the trait is highly desirable or undesirable (motivated reasoning bias)
E.g. intelligence is highly desirable in university
We tend to have more accurate description for traits that we don’t value
as much
Friend’s survival estimates more accurate than own (T. MacDonald & Ross, 1999)
o Predicting whether or not relationships were going to last -> friends > self
o Parents not particularly accurate because they lacked information to make
the judgment (not in the dorm to see the interactions between the couples)
o People themselves also not the most accurate because when we’re in a
relationship, we want to believe that that’s the right relationship so we’re
motivated to believe so motivated reasoning bias
o People themselves would be more accurate if they based it on how happy
they were in the relationship (happiness is better predictor)
o Roommates have the most accurate prediction -> have the most
information, get to see how they interact, but are not directly involved so
have no motivated reasoning
Her friends’ perception of commitment best predicts (Agnew et al., 2001)
o Friends of women in a relationship have the best prediction because women
tend to talk more about their relationship -> so friends of the female have
more information -> able to make better prediction
Own prediction of survival better predictor than friends’ (Loving et al, 2006)
o Kind of contradicts T. MacDonald’s study
o Only her and her friends’ predictions significant (above chance level) ->
female in the relationship has higher prediction
The best predictor to see if a relationship will last is someone who has the most
information and has no motivated reasoning bias. Since females tend to talk more
about their relationships than males, the friends of females will have the most
information and no motivated reasoning (since they themselves are not in it), so HER
FRIENDS will tend to best predict breakup.
Recovering from Dissolution (Eastwick et al., 2008; Sbarra, 2006)
Distress isn’t as bad as we predict it will be
o Tends to be better than what we predict
o Accurate about expectations of recovery time
Sadness dissipates around 1 month, anger 7-18 days
Recovery at 1 month

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o 62% of people had worked through their feelings of sadness, 69% through
anger
o Secures more likely to recover on both
Secures tend to have better emotion regulation + healthier, stronger
social network (can shift social network so they don’t need this person
anymore)
Lifting sadness due to acceptance (accept that it has happened)
Accurately reflect social reality
It used to feel good to turn to that person, but now it feels bad to
turn to that person (negative reinforcement/punishment), forces
you to turn to other people until you no longer turn to that person
Sitting with negative emotions and accepting it, gives you a realistic
sense and is actually helpful for shifting social network
o Pre-occupieds recover more slowly from sadness
o Dismissivess/avoidant recover more slowly from anger and love
More likely to hold on to the person
Suppress how much they love their partner during relationship
(because threatening) but after break-up, they no longer suppress the
love and is surrounded with a lot of love for that person (because in a
safe context) but if they get back together again, going to suppress that
love again (because it is now threatening)
Initiators no different initially -> people who initiate the breakup don’t feel
different from the people who got broken up with
o Being initiator -> can bring you guilt
o But later, initiators have less anxiety and depression
On the Rebound (Spielmann, MacDonald, & Wilson, 2009)
Rebound: starting a new relationship before fully getting over their past
relationship
Anxiously attached attempt to reinitiate with ex
o Predicted by fear of being alone (Spielmann et al., 2015)
o On days they were afraid of ending up alone, they reached out more often
trying to re-establish relationships with their exes
Anxiously attached “get over” ex when they get a new relationship ->
incentivized in the short-term to get a new partner
o Also “get over” ex when randomly assigned to be optimistic about new
relationships
I.e. showed anxiously attached some bogus research that it’s very easy
to find a new relationship -> easier to get over ex
Anxiously attached should be optimistic that there will be other people out there
for you, sit with loneliness, is it really because my ex is that amazing or is it
because im lonely and I should just sit with this loneliness and wait till I’m over
it before finding a new relationship (anxiously attached tend to find new
relationships to replace the past, easy to get into relationships, tend to end up in
lower quality relationships)
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Growth after Dissolution (Tashiro & Frazier, 2003)
Increased autonomy and growth
o “Reset button” in life
o Self-perceptions
Increased sense of self discovering things that you can do that you
thought you couldn’t do
As a couple, your partner always did something like wash the dishes
so it makes you think you can’t do other things but after breaking up,
you realize you can actually do it
You can take a punch in life you are a lot tougher than you thought you
are -> easier to say no to people who aren’t healthy for you
Stronger, healthier person than you thought you were
o Relationships
See relationship network expand single people have broader
relationship network than couples; people have a certain appetite for
social connection
A lot more social support than you thought you had strengthen
and deepen other relationships
o Priorities
Have more time to do other things; not always with partner
o Empathy
Easier to empathize with other people whose been in the same situation
as you
o Women and agreeable people reported more growth
You being willing to approach other people
Women tend to be more social
You being willing to change your own sense of self
Women tend to internalize things more; some of this was my fault
but can change
Forgiveness (Fincham, 2006)
Less negative thought, feelings and behavior toward offender
o Let go of negativity but also to begin by treating that person more
positively
o More benevolent behavior
Apology
o Forgiveness is a lot easier when the person (offender) acknowledges what
they have done and the distress that they have brought onto you
o Be vulnerable enough to admit that you’ve done something bad
o Apology validates that it’s okay for you to have this negative feelings so
making it easier to forgive
o Can facilitate positive outcomes e.g. talk about built-up issues can lead to
more intimate conversations
Forgive and forget
o Associated with weakness and vulnerability (vulnerable to being more hurt)
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