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Chapter 8

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Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC 333
Professor
Jennifer Bartz
Semester
Winter

Description
The Relationship Context of Human Behavior and Development o The goal of relationship science is to understand relationship dynamics and the antecedents and consequences of these. In order to do that, we need to map out the causal pathways by which a person’s interpersonal relationships will influence his/hers behavior.  Newfield,notalotofresearchand/or experiments. o But the little evidence available shows that the meaning of the stimuli to the individual may change a lot with changes in the relationship context  so to understand and predict behavior  need to understand the relationship context + his/hers developmental course. Conceptualization of Relationships: o The concept of relationship: o The study of relationships was hindered for many years.  In part because the word relationship, used in everyday life, wasn’t defined for the purpose of the study.  Most agree that relationships are interactions between the relationship partners: each partner’s behavior influences the other partner’s subsequent behavior within a single interaction episode. And each interaction episode influences the next one.  Relationships are inherently temporal in nature. o Types of relationships: o Similarities underlying different types of relationships are sufficient to develop a superordinate body of relationship knowledge or relatively independent bodies of knowledge?  Mechanisms to organize different categories?  Laws governing the behavior with the same partner depends on the type of relationship.  M.S. Clark and Mills: o Communal: people respond to the other’s need. o Exchange relationships: in which benefits are exchanged in repayment for prior benefits or in expectations of future benefits. Bugental and Goodnow  socialization is the process of learning the distinctive sensitivities and regulatory processes appropriate to different social domains. o Five social domains: 1. Attachment domain: proximity-maintenance within a protective relationship. 2. Hierarchical power domain: use and recognition of social dominance. 3. Coalition group domain: identification of “us” and “them”. 4. Reciprocity domain 5. Mating domain o The individualistic perspective vs. the system perspective: o Individualistic perspective: identifying associations between properties of the individual and the individual’s relationship experiences and outcomes.  but only looks at one person but a relationship is started by two persons so its value is limited. o System theory: classify systems according to the way the parts are organized or interrelated, and […] to describe typical patterns of behavior for the different classes of system as defined. Relationship are open systems, they exchange info, energy and material. The system perspective acknowledges that: 1. From the moment of conception, individuals are nested in social relationships that influence the nature and operation of the many hierarchically organized biological and behavioral systems each individual encompasses. 2. Each relationship is itself nested in a social environmental system and in a physical environmental system, which together represent each relationship's ecological niche. 3. The specific ecological niche of each relationship is, in turn, embedded in larger societal and cultural systems 4. All of these systems are simultaneously evolving and influencing each other over time. To understand if relationship is maintained/dissolved and what impact it has on the individual’s current and future behavior  necessary to understand its principles of organization: o Feedback loops: can be self-reinforcing (e.g. rejection sensitive women perceive their partners to be rejecting and thus treat them in hostile fashion, which elicits actual rejection from the partner, which, in turn reinforces the women’s perceptions that her partner is rejecting. Downey, Freitas, Micahealis, and Khouri – 1998) o Principle of equifinality: the system can reach the same end by different routes. E.g. Gottman and Levenson (1992): positive behaviors appear to be at least 5 times more frequent than negative behaviors in satisfied couples  this can be reach in different ways. o Cultural variation in relationships: Recent studies are predicated on the assumption that similar findings found across cultures may highlight universal processes derived from evolutionary adaptations (e.g. Buss (1989): similar sex differences in mate preferences in 37 cultures) o Two models of the self: (1) autonomous individualistic self (satisfaction of personal needs and individual goals. They tend to rely on dispositional explanations for behavior, and (2) self that is embedded in a web of relationships and roles (prevails in Asian cultures) >> interdependence >> behavior is oriented toward the harmonious functioning of these social entities. They tend to emphasize the social context in which behavior occurs. The role of relationships in human survival and well-being: o Social relationships and human evolution: o The small cooperative group has been the primary survival strategy of the human species. o Social group constitutes the selection environment for human evolution at the individual level.  we have built-in characteristics for socialization. o Adaptive value of social relationships and biological systems that facilitates the formation and maintenance of social bonds. E.g. Baumeister and Leary (1995): over time humans have developed a “need to belong”, a drive to maintain at least a minimum number of positive, lasting, significant relationships. o Identification with in-groups and rejection of out-groups. o Innate social response systems: o All behavior is a product of interactions between genetically determined biological properties and the environment. o Face perception: newborns posses an innate predisposition to attend to the faces its conspecific (e.g. its parents). Langlois (1987) babies prefer innately pretty faces than ugly faces. o Attachment: theory proposed by Bowlby  attachment between infant and caregiver. Infant recognizes the face, smell, voice, of its caregiver and it facilitates interaction. Adult attachment styles have been correlated with adult relationship characteristics such as self- disclosure, nurturance toward a partner under stress, social participation, and affect regulation. • How come experiences in one couple (or dyad) are replicated in other relationships  internal working model: residual of early relationship experiences affect later functioning in relationships with the same and other partners. • What are the links between attachment and other innate social responses system such as care giving or reproduction? o Brain development and relationships: o Early attachments relations have a direct effect on the development of the domains of mental functioning that serve as our conceptual anchor points: memory, narrative, emotion, representations, and states of mind o Social relationships and physical and mental well-being: o Physical health:  House, Landis, and Umberson (1998): low social integration is a major risk factor for mortality, with an aged-adjusted relative risk ratio exceeding that of cigarette smoking.  Relationship quality, e.g. social support is associated with diverse indicators of health and well-being.  Illness,
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