Chapter Outline

  1. Perspectives on close relationships
    1. The ingredients of close relationships (those that are important, interdependent, and long lasting)
      1. Have capacity to arouse intense feelings
      2. Not all close relationships are characterized by emotional intimacy
    2. Culture and relationships
      1. Emphasis on love as prerequisite for marriage is unique to Western culture (i.e., individualistic cultures)
      2. People in collectivist cultures tend to value romantic love less
  2. Initial attraction and relationship development
    1. Initial encounters
      1. Proximity: geographic, residential, and other forms of spatial closeness
        1. Generally, people become acquainted with, and attracted to, those who live, work, or play nearby
        2. Research findings support importance of proximity
      2. Familiarity
        1. Mere exposure effect: an increase in positive feelings toward a novel stimulus (person) based on frequent exposure to it
        2. The more familiar a person is, the more you will like him/her
        3. But, if your initial reaction was negative, increased exposure will intensify the dislike
      3. Physical attractiveness
        1. Emphasis on physical attractiveness
          1. Attractiveness is important factor in dating, friendships
          2. Recent research suggests that gender differences in emphasis on physical attractiveness have been exaggerated
          3. Heterosexuals and homosexuals probably do not differ in the importance they place on physical attractiveness of prospective dating partner
          4. Results of cross-cultural study indicate that personal qualities (e.g., intelligence) tend to be ranked higher
        2. What makes someone attractive?
          1. Unattractive body is generally seen as greater liability than unattractive face
          2. In men: broad shoulders, slim waist and legs, small buttocks
          3. In women: medium-sized breasts, not overweight
          4. In our culture, it's more important for females to be physically attractive
        3. Matching up on looks
          1. Matching hypothesis proposes that people of similar levels of physical attractiveness gravitate toward each other
          2. Dating and married couples tend to be similar in physical attractiveness
        4. Resource exchange
          1. Contradicting matching hypothesis, studies have shown that in heterosexual dating males "trade" occupational status for physical attractiveness in females, and vice versa
          2. Evolutionary social psychologists (e.g., David Buss) suggest that findings reflect gender differences in reproductive strategies
    2. Getting acquainted
      1. Reciprocal liking: liking those who show that they like you
        1. Probably a function of self-fulfilling prophecy
        2. Research evidence indicates that playing "hard to get" is not advisable strategy
      2. Desirable personality characteristics
        1. Studies suggest most sought after qualities are kindness, consideration, honesty, and humor
        2. Personal qualities generally rated as more important than physical characteristics for long-term relationships
      3. Similarity
        1. Heterosexual married and dating couples tend to be similar in age, race, religion, social class, etc.
        2. Similarity in certain personality characteristics tends to be influential (e.g., identification with traditional gender-role characteristics, Type A characteristics)
        3. Similarity in attitudes also causes liking
    3. Established Relationships
      1. Relationship maintenance involves the actions and activities used to sustain the desired quality of a relationship. Many activities are included in relationship maintenance, including minding, an active process that involves self-disclosure and other relationship-enhancing attitudes and skills and should continue throughout the course of the relationship.
      2. Relationship satisfaction and commitment: Social exchange theory: interpersonal relationships are governed by perceptions of the rewards and costs exchanged in interactions
        1. Model predicts that relationships will continue as long as participants feel that benefits outweigh costs
        2. Based on Skinner's principle of reinforcement
        3. Comparison level: personal standard of what constitutes an acceptable balance of rewards and costs in a relationship
        4. Research findings generally consistent with predictions from exchange theory
      3. Factors in commitment in relationships
        1. Comparison level for alternatives: one's estimation of the available outcomes from alternative relationships
        2. Investments: things that people contribute to a relationship that they can't get back if the relationship ends
      4. Exchange theory principles seem to operate in similar fashion regardless of couple's sexual orientation
      5. Some evidence that principles of exchange theory apply differently in different kinds of relationships (e.g., close relationships, communal relationships)
  3. Friendship
    1. What makes a good friend?
      1. Loyalty is probably main factor
      2. Other important factors include emotional support, and letting friends be friends
    2. Gender differences in friendship
      1. Men's friendships tend to be based on shared interests, doing things together
      2. Women's friendships tend to focus on talking, emotional intimacy
      3. Women more likely to discuss personal issues, feelings
      4. Men's friendships tend to be regulated by social roles
      5. Reasons for gender differences
        1. Different pathways to intimacy
        2. Men may have less need for intimacy
        3. Consistent with traditional gender-role expectations
  4. Romantic love
    1. Myths about love
      1. When you fall in love, you'll know it
        1. Often it is difficult to distinguish love from lust
        2. Confusion about romantic relationship is not unusual
      2. When love strikes, you have no control over it
      3. True love lasts forever
      4. Love can conquer all problems
        1. Authentic love is no guarantee of successful relationship
        2. Some evidence that liking your lover may be more important than loving your lover
    2. Sexual orientation and romantic love
      1. Sexual orientation: a person's preference for emotional and sexual relationships with individuals of the same gender (homosexuals), the other gender (heterosexuals), or either gender (bisexuals)
      2. Most studies of romantic love and relationships suffer from heterosexism: the assumption that all individuals and relationships are heterosexual
        1. No way to know whether subjects are referring to same- or other-gender romantic partners
        2. Psychologists don't know as much about role of sexual orientation as they would like to
      3. In experience of love relationships, gender and identification with traditional or nontraditional gender roles seem to be more critical than sexual orientation
    3. Gender differences regarding love
      1. Research indicates that men are more romantic than women
        1. Contrarcy to traditional stereotype
        2. Women seem to be more romantic with regard to expressions of love
      2. Women may be more sensitive to problems in relationships
    4. Theories of love
      1. Robert Sternberg's triangular theory of love
        1. All love experiences have three components
          1. Passion: the intense feelings (both positive and negative) experienced in love relationships, including sexual desire
          2. Intimacy: warmth, closeness, and sharing in a relationship
          3. Commitment: the decision and intent to maintain a relationship in spite of the difficulties and costs that may arise
        2. Describes eight different types of relationships resulting from presence or absence of each of three components
      2. Romantic love as attachment
        1. Researchers who study attachment are interested in attachment styles (typical ways of interacting in close relationships)
        2. Cindy Hazan, Phillip Shaver have examined similarities between adult love and infant attachment
          1. Findings suggest that early bonding experiences produce three broad categories of adult relationships
            1. Secure adults (55 of subjects)
            2. Avoidant adults (25% of subjects)
            3. Anxious-ambivalent adults (20% of subjects)
          2. Research findings generally support theory
        3. Kim Bartholomew proposed four-category model of adult attachment styles
          1. Main difference between Bartholomew and Hazan/Shaver modes is that Bartholomew's delineates two avoidant attachment styles
            1. Fearful-avoidants
            2. Dismissing-avoidants
          2. Many researchers have praised this model.
        4. Correlates of attachment styles
          1. Securely attached individuals have more well-adjusted relationships
          2. Insecurely attached individuals may have problems with low self-esteem, loneliness
          3. Attachment patterns may exert influence beyond romantic relationships (e.g., attitudes about work)
        5. Stability of attachment styles
          1. Adult attachment styles parallel those in infancy
          2. But, some people can revise their attachment styles in response to relationship experiences
    5. The course of romantic love
      1. Research indicates that passion in relationship fades over time
      2. Why relationships fail
        1. Premature commitment
        2. Ineffective conflict resolution and conflict management skills
        3. Becoming bored with the relationship
        4. Availability of a more attractive relationship
      3. Helping relationships last
        1. Get to know other person before making long-term commitment
          1. Self-disclosure is important
          2. Best predictors of long-term relationships are levels of commitment and intimacy
        2. Emphasize positive qualities in partner, relationship
          1. Actor-observer effect: the tendency to attribute one's own behavior to situational factors and the behavior of others to personal factors
          2. Married couples generally make more negative, fewer positive comments to each other than to strangers
        3. Develop effective conflict management resolution skills
  5. Application: Loneliness
    1. The Nature of Loneliness
      1. Loneliness occurs when a person has fewer interpersonal relationships than desired or when these relationships are not as satisfying as desired
      2. Jeffrey Young identified three kinds of loneliness
        1. Chronic loneliness
        2. Transitional loneliness
        3. Transient loneliness
      3. Loneliness may not occur in all areas of a person's life
    2. Prevalence and consequences of loneliness
      1. Adolescents, young adults are loneliest age group, particularly gay and lesbian adolescents
      2. Loneliness tends to decrease with age, until very late in life
      3. Personal consequences
        1. Painful thoughts may come to dominate one's consciousness
        2. Correlation between loneliness and depression
        3. Relationship between loneliness and poor physical, psychological health
      4. Social consequences
        1. Lonely people tend to be viewed negatively by others
        2. Lonely men evaluated more negatively than lonely women
    3. The roots of loneliness
      1. Contributing social trends
        1. Technology has reduced opportunities for social interaction
        2. Individuals from divorced families tend to experience more loneliness as adults
    4. Correlates of Loneliness
      1. Shyness: discomfort, inhibition, and excessive caution in interpersonal relations
        1. Commonly associated with loneliness
        2. Seems to be situationally specific
      2. Poor Social Skills: Lonely people seem to prefer solitary activities, and tend to show low responsiveness to their conversational partners. They may exhibit anxiety about social skills
      3. Negative self-talk and self-defeating attributions
        1. Negative self-talk underlies many of other factors, prevents lonely people from actively pursuing intimacy
        2. Lonely people tend to attribute loneliness to stable, internal causes, which is ultimately self-defeating
    5. Conquering loneliness
      1. Main reason people have difficulty overcoming loneliness is that they tend to withdraw socially
      2. Some effective self-help strategies
        1. Engaging in positive self-talk
        2. Avoiding temptation to withdraw from social situations
        3. Working on one's conversational skills
      3. Professional counselors can help with social skills training