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Chapter 1

PSYCH354R Chapter Notes - Chapter 1: Harold Kelley, Intimate Relationship, Neuropeptide


Course Code
Denise Marigold

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Chapter 1: Why Study Intimate Relationships?
The Relationships of the Smartest Man in the World
- The most prominent figure in Einstein’s intimate life was his first wife Mileva
- Mileva’s unexpected pregnancy bought on a series of important events.
- Einstein rarely saw his wife during the pregnancy and never saw his
- He later said married his first wife out of duty.
- Mileva eventually rejected Einstein’s conditions for the continuation of
their relationship. (They separated and divorced in 1918)
- Contributing to the demise of Einstein’s first marriage was his relationship with
his first cousin, Elsa.
- They established a comfortable relationship, despite his affairs with
several women.
- The fact that Albert Einstein, by his own admission, failed as a husband and
struggled as a father suggests that success and fulfillment in intimate
relationships requires something more that a shrewd intellect.
- When asking and answering questions about these phenomena,
relationship scientists strive to serve various masters.
- One demands that we capture all the subtleties and nuances that
make relationships special.
- A second impels us to impose order on these phenomena with
rigorous research, to identify the principles, laws, and regularities
that govern them.
- A third master prompts us to apply that knowledge so that social
policies, educational programs, and clinical interventions are well
informed and practically useful.
Characteristics of an Intimate Relationship
- There are four criteria that define an intimate relationship:
- The partners are interdependent
- They consider each other special and unique (personal)
- They influence each other across a variety of domains (closeness)
- They experience some degree of mutual sexual passion
- Interdependence  the mutual influence that two people have over one another
is the defining feature of any social relationship, intimate or otherwise.
- A key aspect of interdependence is that it exists between two partners in
a relationship.
- The partners (e.g. Keith and Marina) have formed internal
representations of one another and of their relationship.
- They have an image of each other that brings with it
specific thoughts and feelings about the other person.

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- In addition, for two people to be in a relationship, the interdependence
that connects them must have bidirectionality – it has to operate in both
- Contrast this with unidirectional effects, whereby only one
person’s behavior is affected.
- Interdependence extends over time, with later interactions between
partners gaining meaning from the earlier interactions.
- There is a continuing mutual influence between partners.
- Interdependence is a necessary condition for intimacy – you cannot have
intimacy without it – but it is not a sufficient condition for intimacy.
- Intimate relationships occur not just between two interdependent people, but
between two people who treat one another as unique individuals rather than as
occupants of particular social roles or positions.
- Impersonal relationships  driven to a considerable degree by the
contexts and roles in which these people find themselves; formal and task
oriented (ex. Your hairdresser and yourself)
- Personal relationships  relatively informal and engage us at a deeper
emotional level (ex. Grandparent and grandchild)
- Even in relationships where people treat one another as unique individuals,
their degree of closeness varies.
- “the close relationship is one of strong, frequent, and diverse
interdependence that lasts over a period of time” (Harold Kelley)
- The presence of a close relationship qualifies interdependent and
personal relationships further, where we understand closeness to be
reflected by the strength, frequency, and diversity of the influences that
partners have over one another.
- The difference between a close relationship and an intimate relationship lies, we
would argue, in whether the two partners experience a mutual erotic charge, or a
shared – though not necessarily articulated – feeling that they have the potential
to be sexually intimate.
- Two people who are in a close relationship are also in an intimate
relationship if they both experience a lustful, sexual passion for one
another and an expectation that this passion will be consummated.
- Defining an intimate relationship in this way does not imply that the two
partners are necessarily happy in their relationships.
- Intimate relationship  a relationship characterized by strong,
sustained, mutual influence over a broad range of interactions, with
the possibility of sexual involvement.
Why Intimate Relationships Are Important
- The hand holding study: Participants registered less threat when holding their
partner’s hand. Moreover, the happier the women reported being in their
relationships, the less activation occurred in their threat-related brain regions.
- Heart failure study: Using the composite index to distinguish between couples
who were higher and lower in relationship quality, the researchers demonstrated
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