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Department
Psychology
Course
PSY3122
Professor
Lisa Henry
Semester
Fall

Description
Ch 12: Relationships Adult Attachment  We use different coping strategies when your relationship is in distress. 4 main different coping strategies we will talk about. Relationship Science  Examples of the research conducted today:  Ted Huston: University of Texas  John Gottman: University of Washington Question?  Do you think some people have an easier/harder time being in a successful couple relationship? o If yes, what could explain these differences? Levels of trust, communication, previous experiences, self-confidence, self-esteem, positive outlook, sense of humour, self-awareness Why do unhappy couples stay together? Children, fear of being alone, financial stress, emotional dependence, same circle of friends, time invested in the relationship, sexual reasons, religious reasons, Attachment Theory  Developmental researchers realized children displayed patterns of attachment to their major caregivers (Bowlby, 1969)  John Bowlby (1907-1990)  If it wasn’t for him, you wouldn’t be able to have parents with you during your hospital visits  He studied children in hospitals and orphans  Infants were not getting any physical contact, but still being fed. A lot of them were dying but they had no idea why. Started touching them and being more affectionate, death rate was lower  **All of us as human beings are preprogrammed to seek out proximity to our immediate caregivers. We are programmed this way for survival. We develop behaviour to make sure we stay safe and survive (crying, smiling, crawling) Attachment During Childhood John Bowlby (1907-1990)  Relationships with attachment figures during childhood affect one’s self image and the perception he/she has of the world around him/her Internal Representation models  Self: am I worthy of love?  Social relationship/others: Can I count on other people? Would you be there if I need help? Attachment During Childhood Mary Ainsworth (1913-1999)  Created the Strange Situation: Mom and child with a stranger and she was able to code based on the child’s behaviour once mom left, which category the child would fall under (one of the three below)  A procedure that aims to generate increasing although moderate, levels of anxiety in the child.  The infant’s behavior upon the parent’s return is the basis for classifying the infant into one of the 3 attachment categories o 1) Secure  when a child is in need the mother was consistently there and tentative to the child’s needs. The child is learning that they are worthy of love. They are learning that their parent is trustworthy and that they will be there in times of need o 2) Anxious/Ambivalent  upon return the child cannot be comforted In the past maybe the mother has been inconsistent with providing comfort. So they react with crying to try and make sure the parent will be consistent in the future. o 3) Avoidant (insecure)  when they sought out, their parent did not sooth them, they were not even there. Upon return the child does react to parent’s return. They learn that they have to be independent and cannot depend on our parents, self-regulation of emotions. They will keep playing or no reaction the parent.  We can predict with 75 percent accuracy what attachment style a child will have by assessing the mother’s style before her baby is even born!  Early interpersonal experiences shape the course of one’s subsequent relationships  Our attachment styles continue to shaped as adults  Different styles with different people and it is fluid (can change over time) Three Attachment Styles  They gave older adults questionnaires and asked which they fell under:  Secure attachment: “I find it relatively easy to get close to others and am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don’t worry about being abandoned or about someone getting too close to me”  Anxious / ambivalent attachment: “I find that others are reluctant to get as close as I would like. I often worry that my partner doesn’t really love me or won’t want to stay with me. I want to get very close to my partner and this sometimes scares people away”  Avoidant attachment: “I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult to trust them completely, difficult to allow myself to depend on them. I am nervous when anyone gets too close and often, others want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being”  They found that when you try and fit people into these boxes, there is a continuum; you don’t really follow into ONE category. Bartholomew (1990) created 4 styles: 1. Secure: remained the same 2. Preoccupied: new name for anxious /ambivalent. 2 ways of being avoidant 3. Fearful: you want relationships with other but you fear rejection and mistrust others. 4. Dismissing: More independent and self-reliant people they like that freedom and they would rather this that to be super close with others. Bartholomew (1991): • 2 Dimensions:  Views of Others (negative or positive)  View of Self (negative or positive) Views of self Positive Negative View of others Positive Secure: Preoccupied: confortable with preoccupied with intimacy and relationships autonomy Negative Dismissing: Self- Fearful: Fearful of reliant and rejection and uninterested in mistrustful of intimacy others th  4 type in child is disorganized This is the model we use now: • 2 Other Dimensions: – Avoidance of Intimacy (low and high) – Anxiety over Abandonment (low and high) • 2 continuous dimensions – anxiety and avoidance (Brennan, Clark, & Shaver, 1998) – Anxiety • I need a lot of reassurance that I am loved by my partner • I resent it when my partner spends time away from me – Avoidance • I prefer not to show a partner how I feel deep down • I try to avoid getting too close to my partner Romantic attachment Preoccupied: Hyperactivation Strategy  Ex: A women who goes to kiss her husband at bed and he turns away. This is her trigger. She fears he will go watch porn or seek intimacy elsewhere. So in return she keeps trying harder and this pushes him away even more.  Fearful avoidant attachment in Matt Damon. He makes reference to his childhood and tries to think of any reason as to why it won’t work with them. Totally ignores any reason she gives otherwise. Fears rejection like he was rejected as a child (the cigarette burns and he was an orphan)  The girl actress style is secure. She doesn’t want to stay with someone who doesn’t love her. She was taking a risk by asking him to go to Cali with him. She wasn’t sure if it was going to work out, but she was willing to take a chance. She doesn’t chase him out the door. Can our Attachment Styles Change Over Time?  Although the attachment system is most critical during the early years of life, attachment is active over the entire lifespan  Attachment styles are learned from our experiences with others  They can be “unlearned” and over time can change  Avoidant and anxious styles are more likely to change than a secure style is Individual Differences in Romantic Attachment Securely attached (Low Anxiety/Low Avoidance) • Long, stable and satisfying relationships 47%. Most studies showing 60%. Insecurely attached • Preoccupied (High Anxiety/Low Avoidance) – vigilant toward and preoccupied with their romantic partners, low relationship satisfaction 14% • Dismissing (Low Anxiety/High Avoidance) – less interested in romantic relationships, especially long-term committed ones 18% • Fearful (High Anxiety/High Avoidance) - emotional vulnerability & avoidance of closeness 21% Newer studies 60 % securely attached 25 % in avoidance category 15% in preoccupied category Relationship Quality and Satisfaction  Relationship quality is predicted most strongly by men’s low avoidance and women’s low anxiety.  Aka men are comfortable talking about their feelings and talk about their needs. Women are self-confidant, not clingy.  Secure styles tend to be more satisfied with their intimate partners than avoidant and anxious people are  More secure equals more satisfaction in both heterosexual and homosexual relationship Communication • Secure are more open with partners, more self-disclosure • Avoidant spouses are close-mouthed, little about feelings and desires • Insecure individuals provide less reassurance to loved ones than secure people Sexual Strategies • Secure – More open in communication – In tune with partners sexual needs – More likely to talk about what they want in bed  Anxious – Difficulties articulating needs – Fewer positive and more negative feelings during sex – Lower levels of arousal, intimacy, and pleasure – Lower rate of orgasm in women – Lower sexual satisfaction both men and women – You are not getting what you want, you are more likely to do things you don’t want to do. • Avoidant – Less frequency of intercourse and more solitary masturbation – Men and women have sex less often and try to avoid sex with their partner – More positive attitudes to casual emotionless sex and ‘‘one night stands’’ Sex and Motivation • Secure – Increased closeness • Preoccupied: – Gain a partner’s reassurance and avoid rejection – Hypersensitive to partner’s desire, arousal, orgasm • Avoidant – Self-enhancement – Own pleasure Partner pairing and couple dynamics • Secure partners not only prefer each other but also tend to pair up with each other • Dissimilar insecure attachment styles are attracted to each other (avoidant – anxious) • Why?? We want things to be predictable and certain. When we grow up in a hostile environment (we know it is wrong, or not the best for us) but we are in it anyway. We want to confirm the view of our self and of others. So if I am anxiously attached, if my view of self is low, who better to confirm that than someone who is also anxious attached (doesn’t express feelings, etc.). • Secure couples show better adjustment than other couples (intimacy, partners’ relationship functioning, partners’ response to conflict) • Findings are unclear regarding mixed couples (secure/insecure), but they seem to be similar to secure couples or at least better off than insecure couples • Anxious / avoidant couples • When the woman is anxious – relationship rated more negatively by both partners (satisfaction, viability, conflict) • How do these couples fare over time? • The relationships of avoidant men and anxious women – the relationships that received the most negative ratings at time 1 – were at least as stable as those of the relatively satisfied secure participants • It was the anxious men and avoidant women who evinced the highest breakup rates across time • Why do unhappy partners stay together? • 4-year longitudinal study involving 172 newly married couples • High anxiety about abandonment distinguished spouses who were unhappily married from those who were happily married and those who divorced (even after controlling for divorce attitudes, presence of a child, neuroticism, and self-esteem) Chapter notes Attraction  Gender is an important component of attraction  Geography and time limit out opportunities to meet people  We tend to be more attracted to people with whom we have had contact with several times than with people we have had little contact with.  Mere-exposure effect: repeated exposure to any stimulus, including a person, leads to a greater liking for that stimulus.  We tend to like people who are similar to use in age, ethnicity, background and economic and social status.  Homophily is the tendency to have contact with people equal in social status.  It is interesting that short-term partnerships are as homophilous as marriages and common-law relationships.  The tendency for men and women to choose as partner’s people who match them on social and personal characteristics is called the matching phenomenon.  Despite the saying “opposites attract”, dissimilar attitudes tend to cause disliking not liking.  Research so far shows that similarity in attitudes is important but similarity in personality is not.  Some research shows that similarity of attachment styles was associated with indicators of marital satisfaction but similarity in attitudes was not. Physical Attractiveness  Given a choice, more than one potential partner of any orientation prefers the one who is more physically attractive.  For the women, there was a fairly strong relationship between attractiveness and popularity. Prettier ones had been on more dates in previous year.  This similarity existed for men but it was not as pronounced.  Even young children are more attracted to children with attractive faces  BOTH young men and women rate physical appearance as most important.  Light skin was rated as more attractive, perhaps reflecting the use of white skin as standard (study with African Americans)  Attractiveness is more important to males evaluating females  Our perception of attractiveness is influenced by our evaluation of their intelligence,
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