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PSYCH354 Notes for Midterm #2.docx

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John Rempel

The Self in Relationship - most focus on how the self shapes the relationship, but it is also possible for the relationship to shape the self - we studied how relationship status affects which domains of threat sensitivity are salient o relationship status  whether or not someone is in a close, intimate relationship o once in a partnership, you start thinking about yourself differently, which in turn changes how you view the world - based on Amoebic Self Theory o basic necessary functions (eating, protecting yourself, excreting) affect psychological sense of self o amoebas have a defined boundary, but it can change (for example, to engulf food) o whatever we include and exclude from our sense of self shapes/defines who we are  we can change yet still retain the psychological boundary that defines us o three self-domains: bodily, social, spatial-symbolic o bodily  what goes in and out of your body: there are set entrances and exits, and we want things to stay in that are good but get things out that are bad for us  i.e. disgusted by backwashing because a bodily boundary is being violated, when logically it isn’t that gross o social  we want to be with people/a partner a lot and for a long time - connections to people and a sense of belonging are important to feeling accepted  We make friends/loved ones part of the self/sense of self o Spatial-symbolic  identity marker – things that are symbolic of who we are (i.e. country/nationality, neighbourhood, possessions, etc)  markers that help define our existence in time and space  Relationships can also be symbols (i.e. I am married)  People will go to great lengths to defend a symbolic item, because they think of it as a part of themselves - Studies showed that: o Unattached people will have different threats than those in a relationship (less relevant = less salient threats) o If not in a relationship, bodily threats are more salient (i.e. how small you are – more of a salient threat when single because you’re able to be taken advantage of more easily)  People of smaller stature feel a lot of discomfort with bodily threats (i.e. getting a needle) than those of larger stature, but only if they are unattached – correlation disappears with people in a relationships (bodily threats are less salient) o Social relationships salient to both groups – measured based on how uncomfortable people would feel being excluded by certain people  We’re comfortable doing embarrassing things around people who we feel are part of us – tighter circle of people = more threatened you feel by social threats  This is true whether or not you’re in a relationship  Quality of relationships may also be important (i.e. my partner will think less o me if I pass gas in front of them) o Spatial-symbolic – how threatened am I when my identity markers are put at risk?  Among “joineds”, spatial-symbolic threat was more salient because “this could be the end of my relationship status”  Sex category – “gooey” subset (physical sex); “sex on the side” (partner not included – knowingly or not)  Bodily threat (among singles) was related to an aversion to gooey sex, but not for attached individuals, because it’s with a person who is part of who you are - When threatened by a partner’s potential actions (i.e. told they may be cheating on you), social threat sensitivity provided greater chance of pushing people away o But spatial-symbolic threat (having identity markers threatened) was correlated with pulling that person closer, because the existence of the relationship is an identity marker and you don’t want to destroy that identity marker or lose the relationship status - First Impressions  primacy effects cause us to jump to conclusions when we meet others; then confirmation biases affect our selection of subsequent data, and overconfidence leads us to put an unwarranted faith in our original judgments - Happy partners construct positive illusions that emphasize their partners’ virtues and minimize their faults - Attributions are explanations we generate for reasons that things happen – partners are affected by actor/observer effects and self-serving biases, and they tend to employ either relationship-enhancing or distress-maintaining patterns of attribution - The process of reconstructive memory helps couples stay optimistic about their futures - Dysfunctional relationship beliefs such as destiny beliefs are disadvantageous, whereas growth beliefs are more realistic and profitable o i.e. romanticism is the view that love should be the most important basis for choosing a mate, and is clearly irrational  other irrational beliefs are that disagreements are destructive, mindreading is essential, partners cannot change, sex should be perfect, men and women are different, and great relationships just happen o growth beliefs are that good relationships develop gradually as partners work at challenges and obstacles, and that with enough effort, almost any relationship can succeed - our expectations of others can become self-fulfilling prophecies - people search for self-verification, which often leads people to seek intimate partners who support their existing self-concepts - four strategies of impression management: o ingratiation (seek acceptance and liking from others) o self-promotion (recounting our accomplishments or strategically arranging public demonstrations of our skills) o intimidation (portray themselves as ruthless, dangerous, and menacing so that others will do their bidding) o supplication (people present themselves as inept to avoid obligations and to elicit help and support from others - impression management in close relationships o self-monitoring (adjust their own behaviour to fit the varying norms of different situations – high self-monitors are less committed to their partners) - partner legibility  some attributes (i.e. extroversion) are more apparent than others; some people are also better judgers of character, i.e. people with high emotional intelligence o when accurate perceptions would be worrisome, people are more inclined to be inaccurate in their perceptions of their romantic partners o perceiver influence  perceptions that are initially inaccurate may become more correct as we induce our partners to become the people we want them to be Trust - attachment theory talks about an infant learning how much he/she can rely on others to meet his/her needs  Erik Erikson said that the first thing children need to learn is trust versus mistrust - core = our expectations of others. Trust process = our confidence in expectations of others (future-oriented) o as a psychological process, trust is experience cognitively/psychologically and emotionally as a confidence that something will happen o we move through life with a set of unconscious expectations (i.e. we trust that a door will open if we push it) – not always a conscious cognitive process with trusting people either (it’s an emotional sense of security) - distrust = you can trust somebody to be a jerk. A true lack of trust is reflected in not knowing what to expect (no confidence in what they’re going to do – it is not being confident that they do something negative) - trust  the level of confidence we have that the other will act in ways that will fulfill our expectations o associated with trust, there is cognitive confidence and emotional security o requires the active presence and participation of others in ways that are frequently beyond our control o expectations range along a dimension from specific concrete behaviours to abstract interpersonal motives  we can trust people to be honest (abstract), to care about us o core expectation: our partner is motivated by caring for us and will act in ways that take our needs and desires into account  we will trust people if we believe they are meeting this core expectation Development of Trust - begins in infancy (i.e. Erikson, Bowlby)  this foundation can affect later relationships - people who are trusting (have high trust) operate from a different basic perspective of what people are like, BUT they don’t operate from the idea that everyone is alike o the hypothesis that high trust people will be easily taken advantage of is FALSE o willing to acknowledge that some people are not ready to cooperate at an emotional level - however, the distinct features of a unique relationship with a specific individual will ultimately determine trust for that person o certain relationships can teach us that not everyone is untrustworthy, but if you’ve been hurt/betrayed a lot you’re most likely to be less trusting of people - trust is most clearly demonstrated in situations of risk and vulnerability (people need to be given the chance to prove themselves, or else you can’t learn whether the person can be trusted) o i.e. if you give someone a task to complete and you watch over them while they do it, you’re likely to think they only did the job properly because they’re being watched; if you leave them to work independently and let them work, you’ll be able to trust them afterward if they do the job properly o i.e. conflict - early trust is “blind”  intense but fragile – but strengthens as the partner is responsive when it is not in their own best interest to do so (when there are differences in opinion, you can learn about trust o the trust given is not based on a lot of data, but the data tends to be unambiguous – both people are “on their best behaviour” to create the illusion of wonderfulness o i.e. disclosure  sharing personal/private information makes you vulnerable, and if people respond positively, you learn that they can be trusted  can also lead to realizations that you disagree with certain aspects, which leads to conflict  the more we trust people, the more open and intense the conflict becomes, because we feel comfortable “letting loose” Impact of Trust - trust is a “filter” through which new events and experiences are interpreted – becomes the standard upon which new experiences are judged - we only judge people’s behaviour, but we don’t care as much about what people do, we care more about why they do it (i.e. a partner bringing you an unexpected gift – why?) – the implications of our interpretation are night and day (i.e. you’re so thoughtful, what did you do wrong, or what do you want from me) - people with different levels of trust will interpret things very differently in their relationships - high, medium, and low trust  a continuum with “break points” o i.e. a partner is going on a business trip with a very attractive coworker:  high trust response: “have fun, see you when you get back”  medium trust response: “have fun, call me a lot (or) I’ll give you a call at some point” – there is some doubt  low trust response: doubt becomes a prominent feature and may even be the operating principle - high trust  what is the explanation for someone betraying your trust? (i.e. partner was supposed to pick you up from work and forgot) o It’s an accident, things happen; this won’t happen all the time; this is a character flaw o Not a high trust response: “you forgot me, you clearly don’t care about me” o You would still be angry, but you don’t blame it on your partner not caring about you  different interpretation of the person’s motives, doesn’t mean the emotional response isn’t present or as strong o What is the interpretation of your partner doing something special (i.e. bringing you flowers)?  a good sign of the relationship (partner is caring and thoughtful)  but, you already think they’ll do things like that, because you trust them – it is consistent with your interpretation of the partner’s motives – does not transform the relationship - Medium trust  positive or negative behaviours have a much larger impact on a relationship (stronger reaction to things in their relationship) o Medium trust people have a distinct behaviour in their interactions – high levels of conflict  make the largest number of negative attributions (more than low-trust people) o Still have hope that their partner can be good that they try, and it’s worth fighting for - Low trust  if someone does something nice for you, you question their motives because the behaviour is inconsistent with your expectations o Negative events are consistent with expectations, so you aren’t surprised by them o Low trust people are not the most hostile people  medium trust people actually have the most negative interactions  Risk of being negative/unkind to their partners is not favoured because you don’t know what they’re going to do in return – you may also be harshly criticized or rejected  If your partner isn’t concerned about your welfare, they won’t care if you express your desires/needs  no point wasting your breath telling them what’s important to you if you think their response will be that they don’t care o Low-trust people treat each other with a polite distance, and a lack of investment  acting out of a sense of self-protection/preservation  The other possible reaction is that they will be assertive (borderline aggressive) in getting what they want, depending on if it’s worth fighting for  Privately have significant doubt, but don’t bother expressing it publicly - 2 ways that trust can be broken down in a relationship o “free-fall”  major betrayal; i.e. partner is cheating; mocked you in public; etc  unambiguous and has a big impact (sends the message that your partner doesn’t care about you) o “mirrors”  small things (disclosures, conflict resolutions, etc) send the message that you trust each other; BUT this can happen in reverse as well  i.e. forgetting to pick up your partner 5 times – you run out of excuses for them Can trust be rebuilt? - After a betrayal, your conceptualization of your partner’s identity is shifted from the hypothetical “you can potentially hurt me” to “you will hurt me” – the only question is will you betray me again - But theoretically, trust should be able to be rebuilt  both offender and victim need to do work - Offender o Remorse  express regret, seek forgiveness (become vulnerable) o Recognition of wrongdoing  sincerely admit guilt, accept (appropriate) responsibility; empathic understanding of impact o Respect and care for partner  accept victim’s reactions of hurt, anger, and doubt; don’t pressure to forgive or forget, give partner time o Reform  change behaviour patterns, be reliable in “little things” - Victim o Agree to work on rebuilding relationship  take care of yourself, don’t use the betrayal as a weapon o Give partner opportunity to rebuild trust  take (small) risks, become vulnerable, allow for some (small) failures o Take responsibility where appropriate  listen to partner and understand the issues (not accepting blame, just acknowledging some of their reasoning) o Begin to forgive  non-rejection as a starting point (you’ll need more evidence than you did before to understand that someone can be trusted, because you’re starting from low-trust) Trust – Textbook Notes - drops in perceived relational value (how much we think our partners care about the relationship) can cause hurt feelings o people sometimes ignore their partners to achieve a goal, but recipients of this ostracism resent it o people experience fear, anger, and hurt of jealousy when they face potential loss of a valued relationship to a real or imagined rival o reactive jealousy occurs when people get jealous in response to a real threat o suspicious jealousy occurs when one’s partner has not misbehaved and one’s suspicions do not fit the facts at hand o worrying that you aren’t good enough to “keep” a person is a recipe for jealousy, and personality traits and attachment styles also influence jealousy o men are more likely than women to consider sexual infidelity to be more distressing than emotional infidelity o people who succeed in reducing unwanted jealousy on their own often practice self- reliance and self-bolstering o deception is intentional behaviour that creates an impression in the recipient that the deceiver knows to be untrue o lies engender deceiver’s distrust, which leads liars to perceive the recipients of their lies as untrustworthy o truth bias  leads people to assume that their partners are being honest with them o frequent betrayers (people who are trusted but do hurtful actions) are often unhappy, maladjusted, resentful, vengeful, and suspicious of others o victims who face up to a betrayal cope more constructively than those who try to pretend it didn’t happen – some want revenge, but more often they just have a sour outlook o Forgiveness entails giving up the right to retaliate for others’ wrongdoing, and occurs more readily when the betrayers apologize and the victims are empathic – it usually improves relationships when one’s partner is repentant Social Power - Power is a subset of influence  power involves invoking change in someone else - Social power involves the ability to compel a person to do something that he or she would not choose to do given his or her available alternatives  this is the Power Issue o Trying to influence someone to change their preferred path; social power = altering the course of another person’s behaviour, thoughts, or feelings - Influence continuum o complete freedom of choice ----------- no freedom of choice o when trying to influence someone (no power component), you give them the freedom to choose  “want to” – recommend, logical reasons, negotiate o manipulation; “ought to”  you make someone feel like they should do something – inducing guilt, acting helpless, pleading (pressuring the person – you don’t want them to have free choice, but you want them to feel like they do) o coercion; “have to”  order, threats, enticements – unsubtle ways of getting someone to do what you want – more of the Social Power portion - Sources of Power o Capacity to influence comes from your ability to reward and punish the other person o Based on your control over the resources that the other person values o The capacity to control will be a function of:  the number of resources desired by the other person that you could potentially have some control over  the amount of control you could have over the resource(s) – the other person may have alternatives for obtaining valued outcomes  how much the other person values the resource(s) that you could control - Power Principles o Power reflects the potential to bring about a desired outcome o Power is a property of the relationship, not the individual o Power is only meaningful in the context of a conflict in desired outcomes - Power as Perception o The perception of free choice may not be the same for self and other o The experience of power requires the sense that freedom of choice has been restricted o The point at which freedom of choice shift from “want to” to “out to” or “have to” can differ for self and other – it is a subjective experience - Power Differential o Objective power differential refers to the actual difference in control over values resources o Perceived power over differential may differ from actual power differential  Some may feel less powerful than they are objectively because they underestimate their own power or overestimate the power of the other  Some may be influential or intimidating (even if they don’t want to be) because of their perceived greater power o An interaction is likely to unfold on the basis of perceived rather than objective power differential - The Willingness to Use Power o People differ on their willingness to use power tactics o The use of power comes with associated costs  damage to a potential or existing relationship  Negative evaluation  someone who is trying to be manipulated wants to reestablish their own sense of control and also gain what they originally intended; so the recipient will see the manipulator in a negative light (since they’re getting them to do something they don’t want to do)  People applying power tactics are more likely to evaluate the target person more negatively – especially if the target does what they want  These relationships aren’t satisfying for either partner  People who organize themselves in a hierarchal fashion tend to value strength and devalue weakness (i.e. devaluing people who succumb to your manipulations)  Override moral values  use of power means putting your own needs first and the needs of others are secondary - Power and Trust o Power and Trust both allow us to reduce uncertainty  focus on gaining security and a sense of safety and predictability in social world o High Trust (Low Use of Power Tactics)  Other is motivated by caring for you (reduces uncertainty because you know the other person wants what’s best for you  Conflict involves problem solving using negotiation and direct communication o Low Trust (High Use of Power Tactics)  The other cannot be relied on to care for you  Conflict involves the use of power strategies to acquire or protect own interests o Therefore, in low trust relationships, influence attempts are more likely to involve efforts to direct or constrain the other’s choices  medium and low trust tend to use relatively equal numbers of coercion and manipulative tactics – more likely to push the relationship to get back on track of their own goals o In a high trust relationship, people feel safer in applying power tactics / saying what they want and being firm about it, but they aren’t going to use it because of the high trust level Power – Textbook notes - power is based on the control of valuable resources that are desired by others - principle of lesser interests  partner w less interest in continuing relationship has more power - two types of power o fate
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