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Social Psychology (Pp 321-339) Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College.

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Presentation on theme: "Social Psychology (Pp 321-339) Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College."— Presentation transcript:

1 Social Psychology (Pp ) Elliot Aronson University of California, Santa Cruz Timothy D. Wilson University of Virginia Robin M. Akert Wellesley College 6th edition

2 Close Relationships A researcher can’t randomly assign you to the similar or dissimilar “lover” condition and make you have a relationship! Feelings and intimacy associated with close relationships can be difficult to measure. Psychologists face a daunting task when trying to measure such complex feelings as love and passion.

3 Defining Love Companionate Love The intimacy and affection we feel when we care deeply for a person but do not experience passion or arousal in the person’s presence. Passionate Love An intense longing we feel for a person, accompanied by physiological arousal; when our love is reciprocated, we feel great fulfillment and ecstasy, but when it is not, we feel sadness and despair. Source of “hot” image: Microsoft Office Online.

4 Companionate Love People can experience companionate love in nonsexual relationships, such as close friendships, or in sexual relationships, where they experience great feelings of intimacy (companionate love) but not a great deal of the heat and passion they may once have felt. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

5 Passionate Love Passionate love involves an intense longing for another person, characterized by: The experience of physiological arousal, The feeling of shortness of breath, and Thumping heart in loved one’s presence. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

6 Passionate Love Reviewing the anthropological research on 166 societies, William Jankowiak and Edward Fischer (1992) found evidence for passionate love in 147 of them (Table 10.2) Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

7 Culture and Love Although love is a universal emotion, how we experience it (and what we expect from close relationships) is linked to culture. For example, the Japanese describe amae as an extremely positive emotional state in which one is a totally passive love object, indulged and taken care of by one’s romantic partner, much like a mother-infant relationship. Amae has no equivalent word in English or in any other Western language.

8 Culture and Love Participants in the United States, Italy, and China sorted more than a hundred emotional words into categories; their analysis indicated that love has similar and different meanings cross-culturally. The most striking difference was the presence of a “sad love” cluster in the Chinese sample. The Chinese had many love-related concepts that were sad, such as words for “sorrow-love,” “tenderness-pity,” and “sorrow-pity.” Although this “sad love” cluster made a small appearance in the U.S. and Italian samples, it was not perceived as a major aspect of love in these Western societies.

9 Culture and Love In many areas of West Africa, happily married couples do not live together in the same house, nor do they expect to sleep together every night. Marrying for love is most important to participants in Western and Westernized countries (e.g., the United States, Brazil, England, and Australia) and of least importance to participants in less developed Eastern countries (i.e., India, Pakistan, and Thailand). In Western cultures, people marry the one they love; in other cultures, people love the one they marry

10 Culture and Love Love can vary in definition and behavior in different societies. We all love, but we do not necessarily all love in the same way—or at least we don’t describe it in the same way. Romantic love is nearly universal in the human species, but cultural rules alter how that emotional state is experienced, expressed, and remembered.

11 Love and Relationships Are the causes of love similar to the causes of initial attraction? How do the factors we discussed earlier as determinants of first impressions play out in intimate relationships? And do other variables come into play when we are developing and maintaining a close relationship?

12 Evolution and Love: Choosing a Mate Evolutionary Approach to Love A theory derived from evolutionary biology that holds that men and women are attracted to different characteristics in each other (men are attracted by women’s appearance; women are attracted by men’s resources) because this maximizes their chances of reproductive success. Evolutionary Psychology The attempt to explain social behavior in terms of genetic factors that evolved over time according to the principles of natural selection.

13 Connections This Is Your Brain…In Love fMRI research found: When looking at their beloved compared to when looking at someone else, participants who self-reported higher levels of romantic love showed greater activation in the brain’s ventral tegmental area (VTA) and the caudate nucleus, which communicate with each other as part of a circuit. A great deal is already known about what causes these areas of the brain to fire (ie cocaine, chocolate, gambling) and what kind of processing they do—and now, this knowledge can be applied to the experience of passionate love. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

14 Attachment Styles in Intimate Relationships Attachment Styles The expectations people develop about relationships with others, based on the relationship they had with their primary caregiver when they were infants.

15 Types of Relationships (Between Infants/Mothers) Secure Attachment Style An attachment style characterized by trust, a lack of concern with being abandoned, and the view that one is worthy and well liked. Avoidant Attachment Style An attachment style characterized by a suppression of attachment needs, because attempts to be intimate have been rebuffed; people with this style find it difficult to develop intimate relationships. Anxious/Ambivalent Attachment Style An attachment style characterized by a concern that others will not reciprocate one’s desire for intimacy, resulting in higher-than-average levels of anxiety.

16 Attachment Style Combinations Anxious and avoidant people become couples because they both match each other’s relationship schema: Anxious people expect to be more invested in their relationships than their partners. Avoidant people expect to be less committed than their partners. However, anxious-avoidant pairs report little satisfaction with their relationships

17 Attachment theory does not mean that if people had unhappy relationships with their parents, they are doomed to repeat this same kind of unhappy relationship with everyone they ever meet. People can and do change; their experiences in relationships can help them learn new and more healthy ways of relating to others than what they experienced as children. Research findings in attachment theory can help you understand your behavior and your partner’s behavior when you find yourself having problems Notes

18 Social Exchange in Long-Term Relationships Couples were found to focus more on rewards during the first months of their relationships. If the relationships were perceived as offering a lot of rewards, the people reported feeling happy and satisfied. The perception of rewards continued to be important over time. At seven months, couples who were still together believed their rewards had increased over time. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

19 Of course, we know that many people do not leave their partners, even when they are dissatisfied and their other alternatives look bright. Research indicates that we need to consider at least one additional factor to understand close relationships—a person’s level of investment in the relationship… Social Exchange in Long-Term Relationships

20 Investment Model (Caryl Rusbult) The theory that people’s commitment to a relationship depends not only on their satisfaction with the relationship in terms of rewards, costs, and comparison level and their comparison level for alternatives but also on how much they have invested in the relationship that would be lost by leaving it.

21 The Investment Model of Commitment

22 A Test of the Investment Model, Rusbult (1983)

23 Summary of Investment Model To predict whether people will stay in an intimate relationship, we need to know: (1) How satisfied they are with the relationship, (2) What they think of the alternatives, and (3) How great their investment in the relationship is.

24 Equity in Long-Term Relationships Does equity theory operate in long-term relationships the same way it does in new or less intimate relationships? Not exactly: The more we get to know someone, the more reluctant we are to believe that we are simply exchanging favors and the less inclined we are to expect immediate compensation for a favor done. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

25 Exchange & Communal Relationships Exchange Relationships Relationships governed by the need for equity (i.e., for an equal ratio of rewards and costs). Communal Relationships Relationships in which people’s primary concern is being responsive to the other person’s needs.


27 Ending Intimate Relationships The current American divorce rate is nearly 50 percent of the current marriage rate and has been for the past two decades. And of course, countless romantic relationships between unmarried individuals end every day. After many years of studying what love is and how it blooms, social psychologists are now beginning to explore the end of the story—how it dies. Source of image: Microsoft Office Online.

28 Steps in Dissolving Close Relationships

29 The Process of Breaking Up Caryl Rusbult’s identified four types of behavior that occur in troubled relationships. Destructive behaviors Actively harming the relationship (e.g., abusing the partner, threatening to break up, actually leaving). Passively allowing the relationship to deteriorate (e.g., refusing to deal with problems, ignoring the partner or spending less time together, putting no energy into the relationship). Constructive behaviors Actively trying to improve the relationship (e.g., discussing problems, trying to change, going to a therapist). Passively remaining loyal to the relationship (e.g., waiting and hoping that the situation will improve, being supportive rather than fighting, remaining optimistic).

30 The Process of Breaking Up Femlee (1998) explored exactly what qualities, in close relationships, turn out to be fatal attractions The person is different from you in a specific way The person is different from you because s/he has a quality that is unique in a general sense The person is different from you because s/he has a quality that is extreme in a general sense

31 The Experience of Breaking Up Can we predict the different ways people will feel when their relationship ends? The breakers, those who indicated a high level of responsibility for the breakup, decision feel less distress over the breakup than do the breakees, the ones they break up with.

32 Importance of Remaining Friends After the Breakup

33 The Experience of Breaking Up The breakup moral: If you find yourself in a romantic relationship and your partner seems inclined to break it off, try to end it mutually. Your experience will be less traumatic because you will share some control over the process (even if you don’t want it to happen).

34 The End

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