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PSYC 215 (296)
John Lydon (79)


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PSYC 215
John Lydon

SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY CH. 10 NOTES- RELATIONSHIPS AND ATTRACTION Relationships  Characterizing relationships: o Harder to study because we can‟t do true experiments with random assignment to study relationships, but study them using longitudinal methods to examine the dynamics in relationships o Problem of self-selection: participants can “select” their own condition, so the observed difference can either be seen as a reflection of the different experiences of the people in that condition or simply a result of different types of people gravitating to each of the two conditions  The importance of relationships o Baumeister & Leary argued that humans have a biological need to belong and be in relationships, not unlike our need for water or shelter o Just like emotion, relationships feature universality and cultural variation  Evidence for the need to belong o Series of experiments by Harry Harlow (1959) with baby rhesus monkeys demonstrating the need for a mother not just a prop; monkeys raised in isolation lacked in social skills and didn‟t demonstrate appropriate behavior during adolescence o Humans also suffer serious consequences from a lack of company  Mortality rates, rates of admission to hospitals for psychological problems, suicide rates, and crime rates are all higher for divorced, single, or widowed individuals  Relationships and sense of self o Social interactions shape our sense of self (this is called relational self) o We associate certain emotions and behaviors with certain significant others, and when someone else triggers thoughts of that significant other, we arouse the emotions associated with them and apply them to this new person (Andersen & Chen & Hinckley)  We change ourselves in interactions with significant others because the situation activates and calls to mind accessible traits associated with that person to remain consistent in our relationships  In an illustrative study, people interacted with people who resembled positive and negative significant others; participants treated the positive stranger with more positive affect, and were in turn treated more positively by the stranger (Berk & Andersen)  Different ways of relating to others; different types of interpersonal relationships o Communal and exchange relationships (Clark & Mills)  Communal relationships: relationships in which the individuals feel a special responsibility for one another and give and receive according to the principle of need; these are long term relationships  Based on a sense of „oneness‟ and resemblance; people in this type of relationship tend to resemble each other in emotive response and behavior  Ex: close friendship and family members  Exchange relationships: relationships in which individuals feel little responsibility toward one another; giving and receiving are governed by concerns about equity and reciprocity  Ex: workers and their supervisors; business relationships  People in East Asian and Latin American societies tend to take communal approach to relationships, whereas people in European and Commonwealth countries tend to take exchange approach  Catholics are more likely to take communal approach than Protestants within Western nations o Reward and social exchange theories of interpersonal relationships  All relationships have an aspect of exchange; we gravitate towards friends who provide us with rewards and benefits, whether they be tangible or intangible, conscious or unconscious  This goes the other way too; a simple way to appeal to others in a friendship is to provide them with rewards (praise, gifts, etc.)  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  We „shop around‟ to find the most rewarding relationships  Equity theory: a theory that maintains that people are motivated to pursue fairness, or equity, in which individuals have an equal share or rewards and costs  Attachment Styles o Attachment theory: our early attachments with our parents and caregivers shape our relationships for the rest of our lives (Bowlby) o Evolution has given both infants and parents a variety of traits that foster parent-offspring attachments (like vocal cues and facial expressions) o Children create “working models” of themselves and of how relationships function based on their parents‟ availability and responsiveness  Working models of self shape individuals‟ beliefs about their lovability and competence  Working models of relationships reflect individuals‟ beliefs about other people‟s availability, warmth, and ability to provide security o Mary Ainsworth classified attachment styles of infants based on how they reacted to separation from and reunion with their caregivers in novel and familiar environments o Attachment styles of adults are classified on axes of avoidance and anxiety o Four attachment styles: (three main are secure, anxious-ambivalent, and avoidant)  Secure attachment: characterized by feelings of security in relationships; low anxiety and low avoidance; individuals are comfortable with intimacy and want to be close to others in times of threat and uncertainty  Anxious-preoccupied: characterized by dependency, or „clinginess‟; low avoidance but high anxiety; individuals tend to have negative view of self, but value and seek out intimacy  Dismissive-avoidant: characterized by independence and self- reliance; low anxiety but high avoidance; individuals tend to seek less intimacy and deny the importance of close relationships  Fearful-avoidant: characterized by ambivalence and discomfort towards close relationships; high anxiety and high avoidance; individuals tend to desire closeness with others but feel unworthy of others‟ affection and so they do not seek out intimacy o These attachment styles are fairly stable throughout a person‟s life  Secure people were the most likely to stay secure and report the greatest relationship satisfaction  Anxious attachment people reported especially high rates of depression, substance abuse, and eating disorders o Baldwin found that attachment styles can vary in an individuals‟ different relationships and can be momentarily primed or activated; there is also room for change in attachment style within a specific relationship Attraction  Proximity o Propinquity: physical proximity; has an effect on relationships forming o Study at an MIT residence in the 1940s showed that even within a confined space, the closer the residents were in propinquity, the greater chance for friendships to form o Functional distance: the tendency of an architectural layout to encourage or inhibit certain activities, including contact for people o Proximity promotes friendship by literally bringing people together o It also aids friendship because we tend to like people more just based on the knowledge that we expect to be interacting with them often o Mere exposure effect: the more we are exposed to something or someone, the more we tend to like it or them (Zajonc)  There is a strong correlation between people‟s preference for letters in the English alphabet and how often they appear in the language  Study with unfamiliar Turkish words presented to English speakers showed that the more they saw a given word, the more likely they were to think it referred to something good  Rats raised in an environment with Mozart playing later tripped a switch to „vote‟ and show a preference for Mozart; those raised on Schoenberg „voted‟ for Schoenberg  We tend to prefer true images of others and reverse images of ourselves because we are used to viewing ourselves in a mirror o One explanation for this hypothesizes that repeated exposure tends to lead to liking because we find it easier to perceive and cognitively process familiar stimuli, making it more “fluent”, and people find fluency appealing, thus we find the stimuli appealing o Robert Zajonc provided another hypothesis for this effect; repeated exposure to a stimuli in the absence of negative consequences leads us to associate the stimulus with the absence of anything negative and form a comfortable, pleasant attachment to the stimuli; this helps us distinguish “safe” stimuli from those that are not “safe”  Similarity o People tend to like people who are similar to themselves; engaged couples sh
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