PSYC 215 Chapter Notes - Chapter 10: Social Exchange Theory, Attachment Theory, Judson Mills

18 views22 pages
Published on 22 Apr 2013
School
McGill University
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 215
Professor
Page:
of 22
Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary
CHAPTER 10 - Relationships and Attraction (pgs. 355-403)
CHARACTERIZING RELATIONSHIPS
- investigators use longitudinal methods to examine the dynamics that unfold over time in
preexisting relationships
- what factors early in a relationship make for happier or more problematic bonds
- this kind of research faces the challenging methodological problem of self-selection (occurs
whenever investigators cannot assign participants to the conditions that are to be compared)
- when participants “select” their own condition, we can’t know whether an observed difference
between two conditions is a reflection of the different experiences of the people in those
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
- for example: couples who make special efforts to celebrate their anniversaries may be less
likely to get divorced than couples who don’t
The Importance of Relationships
- relationships come into being when individuals depend on one another for help in meeting
life’s demands
- there is a biologically based need to belong, evident in the evolutionary benefits and
universality of different relationships and in the negative consequences that accompany the
absence of relationships
Arguments for the Need to Belong
- Baumeister & Leary: point out the likely evolutionary basis of our tendency to seek out social
relationships
- Relationships help individuals and offspring survive, thus contributing to the increased
likelihood of the replication of the individual’s genes
- Long-term romantic bonds evolved, to facilitate reproduction and to raise human offspring,
who are especially vulnerable and dependent for many years
- Parent-offspring attachments help ensure that infants and children are protected and will
survive until they can function independently
- Friendship evolved as a means for non-kin to cooperate and to avoid the costs and perils of
competition and aggression
- Relationships have universal features (because they have an evolutionary basis)
o Similar kinds of dynamics should exist between romantic partners, parents and
children, between siblings, and between friends in different cultures around the world
- B & L also note that if the need to belong is truly a need, it should be satiable
o In western European cultures, college students tend to restrict their meaningful
interactions to, on average about 6 friends
o We satisfy our need for friendship with a limited number of close friends, and once
that need is satisfied, we no longer seek it in others
o But if the need to belong is not satisfied in existing relationships, people will seek to
satisfy it in other relationships
o Observational studies in prisons, find that prisoners suffer great anguish at the loss of
contact with their family. They often form substitute families based on kinship-like ties
with other prisoners
Evidence for the Need to Belong
- relationships are vital to our physical and mental well-being; When the need to belong is not
met over a long period of time, people tend to suffer profoundly negative consequences
- Harry Harlow baby rhesus monkeys
o Raised them without contact with other rhesus monkeys but with access to two
“mother surrogates” - props vaguely resembling monkeys
o The monkeys raised in isolation were not normal when they reached adolescence -
they were highly fearful, couldn’t interact with their peers and engaged in
inappropriate sexual behaviours - like attacking potential mates or failing to display
typical sexual positions during copulation
Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary
- Elephant natural experiment (involves an accidentally produced set of conditions, rather
than conditions created by an experimenter, that largely avoids self-selection problems
o elephants in some areas of Africa have been slaughtered for the ivory in their tusks,
leaving young elephants to grow up on their own
o these adolescent elephants prove to be quite antisocial and aggressive toward
members of their own species as well as others; they kill rhinoceroses for sport
o african gamekeepers have solved the problem of the wild elephants by importing adult
elephants to show the adolescents how to be elephants
- in humans, mortality rates are higher for divorced, unmarried and widowed individuals
o admissions to hospitals for psychological problems are 3-23x higher for divorced than
for married individuals
o suicide rates and crime rates are higher for single and divorced individuals
o having support from others also strengthens out cardiovascular, immune and
endocrine systems
Relationships and the Sense of Self
- Susan Andersen, Serena Chen et al. explored one important way that relationships are
central to our identities by examining what they call our relational selves - the beliefs, feelings,
and expectations about ourselves that derive from our relationships with significant others in
our lives
o when we encounter someone who reminds us of a significant other, the specific “self”
we tend to be when we’re around this significant other is activated, including
associated beliefs, feelings and expectations that then shape our interactions with the
new individual, often outside of our awareness
o for example: your mom criticizing your efforts and accomplishments. Around her, your
relational self would be defined by a sense of inadequacy and feelings of shame
when you encounter someone who reminds you of your mother, you’re likely
to transfer these beliefs, feelings and interaction patterns to that person, and
they will shape the content of the new relationship
- Hinkley and Anderson
o Had participants write down 14 descriptive sentences about a positive significant
other and a negative significant other
o Participants then wrote 20 sentences that described what they were like with that
person
o 2 weeks later, participants were given a description of another person who either
resembled the participant’s own positive or negative significant other or, in a control
condition, the positive or negative significant other of another participant
o they then wrote 14 statements describing themselves at that moment
o participants exposed to a new person similar to their significant othe were more likely
to describe themselves in terms that resembled what they are like with that significant
other than were participants in the control condition
for example, if a participant listed traits like “silly” and “irrelevant” when
describing what she was like with her father, these traits were more likely to
appear in her self-description 2 weeks later after simply encountering
someone who reminded her of her father
encountering people who remind us of significant others changes how we
think about ourselves in the current situation, often at an automatic level, and
shapes the more immediate, accessible thoughts we have about ourselves
- the relational self also shapes out current interactions
o in one study, participants interacted with a target person who resembled a positive or
negative significant other of that participant
o participants liked the target who resembled a positive significant other more than the
target who resembled the negative significant other, and the well-liked target was
more likely to show positive emotion toward the participant
Bona Kim PSYC215 Chapter Summary
o the process seems to be that
1. The target reminds me of good old X
2. I therefore like the target
3. So I express positive affect toward the target
4. As a consequence, the target expresses positive affect toward me
* relationships shape the sense of self and how social events are remembered and explained. People
have certain relational selves, or beliefs, feelings, and expectations that derive from their relationships
with particular other people. When one of these is activated by a particular person, that person is seen
in light of the relevant relational self
Different Ways of Relating to Others
Communal and Exchange Relationships
- Margaret Clark and Judson Mills: argue that 2 fundamentally different types of relationships
- communal relationships and exchange relationships arise in different contexts and are
governed by different norms
o Communal relationships: those in which the individuals feel a special responsibility
for one another and often expect that their relationship will be LONG TERM
based on a sense of “oneness” and family-like sharing of common identity
people in communal relationships come to resemble one another in the timing
of their laughter and their specific emotional experiences
individuals five and receive according to the principle of need - that is,
according to who had the most pressing need at any given time
prototypical examples of communal relationships are relations between
family members and between close friends - the kinds of relationships that
are the social fabric of communal life in small villages
o exchange relationships: trade-based relationships, often SHORT TERM, in which
individuals feel no special responsibility toward one another
giving and receiving are governed by concerns about equity (you get what you
put into the relationship) and reciprocity (what you give is returned in kind)
examples of exchange relationships include interactions with salespeople and
bureaucrats, or with workers and supervisors in a business organization
- The distinction between communal and exchange relationships highlights notable cultural
differences in patterns of relationships
o first, societies differ widely in which approach they generally prefer
o people in East Asian and Latin American societies are inclined to take a communal
approach to many situations in which people in European and Commonwealth
countries would be inclined to take an exchange approach
o consider the question of how businesspeople would treat an employee who had put in
15 yrs of service but over the past year had fallen down on the job and showed little
chance of getting back on track
east Asians tended to feel that the company had an obligation to treat the
employee as family and keep him on the payroll
western businesspeople were more likely to feel that the relationship was
purely contractual, or exchange based, and that the employee should be let go
there are differences among Western nations: people from Catholic countries
are more likely to take a communal stance than people from protestant
countries
indeed, even within the US, Catholics are more likely than protestants to take
a communal stance in relationship matters

Document Summary

Characterizing relationships investigators use longitudinal methods to examine the dynamics that unfold over time in preexisting relationships. What factors early in a relationship make for happier or more problematic bonds this kind of research faces the challenging methodological problem of self-selection (occurs whenever investigators cannot assign participants to the conditions that are to be compared) Baumeister & leary: point out the likely evolutionary basis of our tendency to seek out social relationships. Relationships help individuals and offspring survive, thus contributing to the increased likelihood of the replication of the individual"s genes. Long-term romantic bonds evolved, to facilitate reproduction and to raise human offspring, who are especially vulnerable and dependent for many years. Parent-offspring attachments help ensure that infants and children are protected and will survive until they can function independently. Friendship evolved as a means for non-kin to cooperate and to avoid the costs and perils of competition and aggression.