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-Challenges with studying relationships: many studies are not true experiments with random
assignment. They are longitudinal studies.
-When participants select their own condition, we can never know whether an observed difference
between two conditions is a reflection of the different experiences of the people in those conditions or
is simply a result of different types of people tending to gravitate to each of the two conditions.
The Importance of Relationships
-Western cultures define themselves as independent, although human nature is profoundly social, and a
person's identity is shaped by social relationships.
-We have a need to be embedded in healthy relationships.
Arguments for the Need to Belong
-Relationships help individuals and offspring survive.
-Relationships have an evolutionary basis, and thus many universal features. Similar dynamics between
-The need to belong should be satiable.
Evidence for the need to belong
-When the need to belong is not met over a long period of time, people suffer profoundly negative
consequences, both physically and mentally.
-Mortality rates, admission to hospitals, suicide rates and crime rates are higher for divorces or widowed
-Having support from others strengthens our cardiovascular, immune and endocrine systems.
Relationships and the Sense of Self
-Our social relationships shape our sense of who we are.
-When we encounter someone who reminds us of our significant other, the specific "self" we tend to be
when we're around this significant other is activated.
-Process: 1. the person reminds me of positive X, 2. I therefore like the target, 3. I express positive affect
toward the target, and 4. as a consequence, the target expresses positive affect toward me.
Different Ways of Relating to Others
-Important to distinguish different types of relationships.
Communal and Exchange Relationships
-Two fundamentally different types of relationships.
-Communal Relationships: Relationships in which the individuals feel a special responsibility for one
another and give and receive according to the principle of need; such relationships are often long term.
People in these relationships come to resemble one another, for example in timing of laughter. Like
between family members and close friends.
-Exchange Relationships: Relationships in which individuals feel little responsibility toward one another;
giving and receiving are governed by concerns about equality and reciprocity. Like interactions with
salespeople and bureaucrats, or with workers and supervisors in a business organization.
-The distinction between these two types of relationships highlight cultural differences in patterns of
-People in East Asia and Latin America are more inclined to take communal approach where as people in
Europe and Commonwealth countries are more inclined to take the exchange approach.
-Catholics are more likely to take a communal stance than Protestants.
Reward and Social Exchange Theories of Interpersonal Relationships
-Even the most intimate relationships are based to some extent on exchange
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-People tend to like and gravitate toward those who provide them with rewards (positive exchange)
-Social Exchange Theory: A theory based on the idea that all relationships have costs and rewards, and
that how people feel about a relationship depends on their assessments of its costs and rewards and the
costs and rewards available to them in other relationships.
-If rewards are not available, the person is likely to seek out interactions in which the costs outweigh the
rewards by the smallest amount.
-Equity Theory: A theory that maintains that people are motivated to pursue fairness, or equity, in their
relationships; rewards and costs are shared roughly equally among individuals.
-Attachment Theory: A theory about how our early attachments with our parents shape our
relationships for the rest of our lives.
-Human infants are born with few survival skills. They survive by forming close relationships with
parents or parental figures.
-Over time, children develop internal "working models" of themselves and of how relationships function
based on their parents' availability and responsiveness.
-Internal working model of the self: individuals' beliefs about their lovability and competence.
-Internal working models of how relationships work: reflect individuals' beliefs about other people's
availability, warmth and ability to provide security.
Classifying Attachment Styles
-Analysis of people's responses to these measures (of attachment styles) reveal two dimensions that
capture most of the variation in adult attachment-anxiety (that a person feels about rejection and
abandonment in close relationships) and avoidance (whether a person is comfortable with or avoids
intimacy in primary adult relationships).
-People who score low on these two measures have a secure attachment style: An attachment style
characterized by feelings of security in relationships. Individuals with this style are comfortable with
intimacy and want to be close to others during times of threat and uncertainty.
-Those who are anxious but not avoidant have anxious-preoccupied attachments: An attachment style
characterized by dependency or "clinginess". People with an anxious-preoccupied style tend not to have
a positive view of themselves, but they value and seek out intimacy.
-Those who are avoidant but not anxious have a dismissive-avoidant attachment: An attachment style
characterized by independence and self-reliance. People with a dismissive-avoidant style seek less
intimacy with others and deny the importance of close relationships.
-Individuals who score high on anxiety and avoidance have a fearful-avoidant attachment: An
attachment style characterized by ambivalence and discomfort toward close relationships. People with a
fearful-avoidant style desire closeness with others but feel unworthy of others' affection and so do not
seek out intimacy.
Stability of Attachment Styles
-These attachment styles are established early and are stable throughout a person's life.
-Anxious individuals are more likely to have experienced the death of a parent, abuse, or divorce.
-Secure individuals are particularly likely to remain secure.
-Secure attachment style predicts more positive life outcomes.
-Those with anxious attachment style show higher rates of depression, eating disorders, maladaptive
drinking, and substance abuse.
-The stability of these styles is complex though, and it doesn’t mean you can't change. Questions about
whether peoples' attachment styles are the same across all relationships in their life. Another question
is whether a person's attachment style within a given relationship is stable across time.
-These studies apply mostly to Western cultures.
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