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Chapter 12

Psychology 2075 Chapter 12: Chapter 12 textbook
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Department
Psychology
Course
Psychology 2075
Professor
Stephen Ferguson
Semester
Fall

Description
Chapter 12 – Attraction, Love, and Communication Attraction • Mere exposure effect: tendency to like person more if we have been exposed to him/her repeatedly • Homophily: tendency to have contact w/ people who share our social characteristics o Race/ethnicity o Education and age • Matching phenomenon: tendency for men and women to choose as partners people who match them, similar in attitudes, intelligence and attractiveness Laboratory to Real Life • Perceived similarity: extent to which individual believes his/her partner is similar on important characteristics • Actual and perceived similarity are associated w/ interpersonal attraction • Actual similarity important in studies involving no to short interaction (in the lab), but it was not related to attraction in existing relationships • Study asked 120 individuals in same-sex relationships w/ qualities attracted them to partner: o Most important: agreeableness (kindness, supportiveness, consideration, understanding) o Least important: status (potential for good job, security, success) • Women are more likely to show preference for masculine, dominant men, especially if interested in short-term relationships Attraction Online • What accounts for growth of online dating websites: 1. Growing proportion of population is single, so more people are looking 2. Career and time pressures lead people to seek more efficient ways to look 3. Single people are highly mobile, increasing difficulty of meeting people 4. Workplace romance is less acceptable b/c of concerns about sexual harassment • People seeking partners online are educated, affluent, 20- to 40- years old, no desire for bars • Individuals who are in relationships that started online report lower relational intimacy than those who are in relationships that started face to face th • 1/4 of Canadian online daters admit to have misrepresented themselves online • research has identified three classes of influence on relationship success: o personal characteristics ▪ online dating sites can only measure and provide information about this variable o individual change o external, uncontrollable events (unemployment, infertility, chronic illness, natural diseases) Preference Explanations Reinforcement Theory: Byrne’s Law of Attraction • tend to like people who give us reinforcements or rewards and to dislike people who give us punishments • Donn Byrne – law of attraction: our attraction to another person is proportionate to number of reinforcements that person gives us relative to total number of reinforcements plus punishments person gives us • People who are similar in age, ethnic background, and education likely to have similar outlooks on life, prefer similar activities, and like same kinds of people • Variation of reinforcement view comes from implicit egotism perspective – we are attracted to persons who are like us b/c they activate our positive views of ourselves Sociobiology: Sexual Strategies Theory • View sexual behavior w/in evolutionary perspective, focusing on heterosexual relationships • Gangestad and Buss measured prevalence of seven pathogens in 29 cultures and also obtained ratings of important of 18 attributes of mates o Physical attractiveness was considered more important by residents in societies that had greater prevalence of pathogens o One study found that there was no relationship b/w rated facial attractiveness (based on photo) and clinical assessment of health in sample adolescents, suggesting that assumed link b/w attractiveness and health is not there • Fluctuating asymmetry: asymmetry of bilateral features that are on average symmetrical in population o Developmental instability (DI) o Inability of developing body to buffer itself against random perturbations • Attractiveness might be an important indicator of fertility, fetal survival, and normal growth • dozens of studies of relationship b/w symmetry and numerous features such as: o Measures of health o Fetal outcomes o Hormonal functioning o Facial attractiveness o Reproduction (number of sexual partners) • Correlation b/w symmetry and health and fitness is small • Analysis survey data from women 18-35 (44% in relationships) found that wealthier women prefer older men, and resource control predicted preference for physical attractiveness over financial prospects Intimacy • Intimate relationships are important b/c: o Desire to someday have children and awareness that raising a child is a lot easier w/ two people o Obtain benefits of mutual trust and reciprocal recognition by another person Defining Intimacy • Perlman and Fehr - defining features of intimacy include: o openness, honesty, mutual self-disclosure o Caring, warmth, protecting, helping o Being devoted to each other, mutually attentive, mutually committed o surrendering control, dropping defenses o Becoming emotional, feeling distressed when separation occurs • Prager – expanded on definition by making distinction b/w: o Intimate interactions ▪ Intimate experiences: the meaning a person gives to their interactions w/ another person • Associated w/ positive emotions ▪ Intimate behaviors: nonverbal, behaviors such as eye contact, smiling, physical closeness, or sexual activity o Intimate relationships: result of many intimate interactions w/ an individual, characterized by love, affection, trust, sharing and reciprocity ▪ Intimate interactions can occur outside context of intimate relationship • Intimacy: level of commitment and positive affective, cognitive, and physical closeness one experiences w/ partner in reciprocal relationship o Emphasis on closeness or sharing (intimate behavior) and on partner responsiveness, which has three dimensions – affective (emotional), cognitive and physical Intimacy and Self-Disclosure • Self-disclosure: telling personal things about yourself • Self-disclosure leads to reciprocity o Disclosure by partner may make us like and trust that person more o As social learning theorists argue, simple modelling and imitation may occur o Norms of equity Measuring Intimacy • Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships (PAIR) Inventory – measures emotional intimacy Theories of Love Triangular Theory of Love – Robert Sternberg • Love has three fundamental components: intimacy, passion and commitment Three Components of Love 1. Intimacy o Emotional component of love o Feelings of closeness or bondedness o Sense of mutual understanding o Sense of sharing one’s self o Intimate communication, sense of acceptance o Giving and receiving emotional support 2. Passion o Motivational component of love o Physical attraction o Drive for sexual expression o Physiological arousal important o Component that differentiates romantic love from other kinds of love o Faster to arouse, but in long-term relationship, it is also component that fades most quickly 3. Commitment o Cognitive component of love o Has two aspects ▪ Short-term: decision that one loves other person ▪ Long-term: commitment to maintain that relationship o What makes relationships last Triangular Theory • People who have high levels of all three components experience consummate love • Intimacy component expressed in actions such as communicating personal feelings and information, offering emotional (and perhaps financial) support, and expressing empathy for other • Passion component expressed in actions, such as kissing, touching and making love • Commitment component demonstrated by actions such as saying “I love you”, getting married, and sticking w/ relationship through hard times Evidence for Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love • Sternberg Triangular Love Scale (STLs) o Provides good measures of components, especially of passion and commitment o Scores for same relationship are stable for up to 2 months o Commitment scores increased as relationships progressed from dating to marriage o Intimacy behaviors (sharing feelings, trying to understand partner) decreased overtime as familiarity w/ partner increases • Study of German adults assess relationship b/w three components and sexual activity and satisfaction o Theory predicts that amount of passion should be most closely related to sexual activity, but results indicated that intimacy was most closely related to sexual behavior and satisfaction • In-depth interviews w/ 8 heterosexual women focused on what they considered important and positive aspects of romantic love o Women identified intimacy, passion and commitment Attachment Theory of Love • Kim Bartholomew: adults are characterized in their romantic relationships by one of four attachment styles 1. Secure lovers – 49% o Have sense of their own lovability and expectation that other people are generally accepting and responsive 2. Preoccupied lovers – 12% o Sense of their own unlovability but positive evaluation of others o Try to achieve self-acceptance by gaining acceptance of people they value o jealousy 3. Fearful lovers – 21% o Negative expectation of both themselves and other people o Expect to be rejected by others and avoid romantic relationships o Uncomfortable feeling close to, trusting, or depending on another person or having that person feel close to them 4. Dismissing lovers – 18% o Feel themselves to be worthy of love but have negative views of other people o Protect themselves against disappointment by avoiding close relationships and maintaining sense of independence • Attachment styles based on our perceptions of ourselves and on our expectations of how others will respond to us • Dismissing and fearful lovers are similar in that both avoid intimacy • Preoccupied and fearful lovers alike in that both depend on acceptance from others to feel good about themselves • person’s perception of quality of relationship w/ each parent is what predicts adult attachment style • quality of friendships in childhood and adolescence also affects adult attachment styles • earned-secure attachment: people w/ insecure attachment relationships w/ family have secure attachment relationships w/ romantic partner • research in Ontario: women who have insecure attachment styles tend to engage in sexual intercourse at younger age and have more sexual partners than do women w/ secure attachment styles • attachment styles affect relationships by affecting way partners interact • research in Nova Scotia: when individuals w/ avoidant attachment style enter into new relationships, they expect that partner will not engage in behaviors that signify commitment (honesty, spending more time together) and will engage in behaviors that signify absence of commitment (infidelity, unequal give and take) • Research in Ontario and Quebec: when either partner in a couple has avoidant attachment style, partners engage in sex less frequently and have lower sexual satisfaction Love as a Story • Love story: story about what love should be like, including characters, plot and theme • Falling in love occurs when you meet someone w/ whom you can create relationship that fits your love story • More discrepant stories of partners, less happy couple was • Sternberg and colleagues identified common love stories found in North American culture: o War stories ▪ believing that fighting make couples closer o Garden stories ▪ Love is a garden that needs ongoing cultivation, associate w/ high satisfaction o Business story ▪ Roles are employer and employee ▪ Low satisfaction o Horror story ▪ Roles are terrorizer and victim ▪ Low satisfaction • US and China couple – completed parts of Sternberg’s love stories scale o Components common to both cultures ▪ Objectification threat (partner is unpredictable, strange) ▪ Nurturing-caring (think about moments shares, nurturing relationship is important) ▪ Pornography (enjoy bizarre sexual techniques, sexually submitting even if its degrading) ▪ Pragmatism (there is a recipe for success, I am following rules) o Components unique to Americans ▪ Love as war ▪ Love as fairy tale o Components unique to Chinese ▪ Love as current trending ▪ Incomprehensibility of lover Passionate and Companionate Love • Passionate Love: state of intense longing for union w/ other person and of intense physiological arousal 1. Cognitive ▪ Preoccupation w/ loved one ▪ Idealization of person or of relationship 2. Emotional ▪ Physiological arousal ▪ Sexual attraction ▪ Desire for union 3. Behavioral ▪ Take care of other ▪ Maintaining physical closeness o Overwhelming, obsessive and all consuming o Leads to overly optimistic predictions about likelihood that relationship will last • Companionate love: feeling of deep attachment and commitment to person w/ whom one has an intimate relationship • Passionate love first stage of romantic relationship, but as relationship progresses, gradual shift to companionate love takes place o Transformation tends to occur when relationship is b/w 6 and 30 months old • Sexual desire and romantic love are independent processes • Sexual desire: motivational state leading to search for opportunities for sexual activity o Motivates proximity seeking and contact, and leads to feelings of passion (passionate love) o Responds to reproductive cues, such as physical attractiveness and high status • Romantic love: motivational state leading to attachment and commitment o Promotes self-disclosure and intimacy, leading to long-term relationships (companionate love) • From evolutionary perspective, successful reproduction requires mating and establishment of pair bond to ensure parental care of offspring o Fisher (2006) – three internal systems involved in this process, which each involves reward pathways in brain and associated hormonal changes ▪ Desire to mate • Sex drive motivates person to see partner ▪ Pairing (mating) • Processes of attraction lead t pairing, focusing of energies on specific partner ▪ Parenting • Processes of attachment lead to long-term relationships that facilitate parenting • Research: priming (subliminal exposure to) sex-related pictures and words led to outcomes associated w/ forming and maintaining close relationships o Wiliness to self-disclose among women o Willingness to sacrifice for one’s partner o Preference for positive conflict resolution strategies among men and women Biology of Love • Causes of passionate and companionate love: caused by bodily chemistry and neural activity in brain • Dopamine o Animal studies: associated w/ pair bonding o Human studies: associated w/ euphoria and crabbing ▪ Surge of dopamine in human body can produce increased energy, focused attention, and reduced need for food and sleep • Frequent presence of loved one, produced initially by passionate love, triggers production of: o Prolactin ▪ Rise following orgasm in humans ▪ Related to pair bonding in voles o Oxytocin ▪ Contribute to long-term relationships ▪ Shown to play important role
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