Lecture 2 – September 12
Interpersonal Attraction and Liking
Seeing I to I: A Pathway to Interpersonal Connectedness
Pinel, Long, Landau, Alexander, & Pyszczynski
The authors introduce the construct of I-sharing—the belief that one shares an identical subjective experience with another person—and the role it plays in liking. In Studies 1–3, participants indicated their liking for an objectively similar and an objectively dissimilar person, one of whom I-shared with them and the other of whom did not. Participants preferred the objectively similar person but only when that person I-shared with them. Studies 4 and 5 highlight the role that feelings of existential isolation and the need for closeness play in people’s attraction to I-sharers. In Study 4, people with high needs for interpersonal closeness responded to I-sharers and non-I-sharers with great intensity. In Study 5, priming participants with feelings of existential isolation increased their liking for I-sharers over objectively similar others. The results highlight the importance of shared subjective experience and have implications for interpersonal and intergroup processes.
Sexy red: Perceived sexual receptivity mediates the red-attraction relation in men viewing woman
Pazda, Elliot & Greitemeyer
In many non-human primate species, female red displays are a signal of sexualreceptivity and this signalattracts male conspeciﬁcs. In the present research, we proposed and tested a human analog whereby perceived sexual receptivity mediates the relation between red and sexual attraction in men viewing women. Two experiments were conducted, each of which provided support for the hypothesized mediational model. Experiment 1 docu-mented the mediational role of perceived sexual receptivity using the experimental–causal-chain approach, and Experiment 2 did so using the measurement-of-mediation approach. Alternative mediator variable candi-dates were ruled out, and participants showed no evidence of awareness of the red effect. These ﬁndings docu-ment red as a subtle, but surprisingly powerful environmental stimulus that can serve parallel functions in the mating game for human and non-human primates.
Participants were 24 male and 32 female undergraduate and graduate stu-dents whom the authors recruited for an examination of the effects of attitude similarity and reciprocity on the degree of attraction toward potential mates. The authors examined the effects of these 2 variables on degree of liking in long-term and short-term contexts. The authors administered a vignette about a bogus stranger to each participant, varying the stranger’s attitude similarity with and liking of the participant. The authors enclosed the vignette in a folder that described the stranger as having either very similar or very dif-ferent attitudes from the participant and that included a passage that notified the partici-pant that the stranger either likes or does not like him or her. The dependent variables included 4 indexes of the extent to which participants reported liking the bogus stranger: a scale that measured short-term mating items, a scale that measured long-term mating items, a degree-of-liking scale, and a behavioral-intention item. Across these 4 attraction-relevant dependent variables, the authors found significant main effects of the reciprocity variable. Also, the authors found a significant main effect of attitude similarity on the lika-bility measure. The authors found significant main effects of reciprocity in a long-term mating context and a short-term mating context.
When Does Playing Hard to Get Increase Romantic Attraction?
Dai, Dong & Jia
Folk wisdom suggests playing hard to get is an effective strategy in romantic attraction. However, prior research has yielded little support for this belief. This article seeks to reconcile these contrasting views by investigating how 2 hitherto unconsidered factors, (a) the asymmetry between wanting (motivational) and liking (affective) responses and (b) the degree of psychological commitment, can determine the efficacy of playing hard to get. We propose that person B playing hard to get with person A will simultaneously increase A’s wanting but decrease A’s liking of B. However, such a result will only occur if A is psychologically committed to pursuing further relations with B; otherwise, playing hard to get will decrease both wanting and liking. Two studies confirm these propositions. We discuss implications for interpersonal attraction and the interplay between emotion and motivation in determining preferences.
Lecture 3 – September 19
Relationships and Self: Self-Disclosure and Self- Concept
Interpersonal goals, others’ regard for the self, and self‐esteem: The paradoxical consequences of self‐image and compassionate goals
Canvello & Crocker
People often adopt self‐image goals to increase others’ regard for them and perhaps their own self‐esteem. But do these impression management goals achieve their intended result in close relationships? And do they endure over time? We suggest that self‐image goals predict decreased self‐esteem and close others’ regard for the self through decreased responsiveness to others. In contrast, compassionate goals, which reﬂect a genuine concern for others’ well‐being, predict increased self‐
esteem and others’ regard through increased responsiveness. We tested these hypotheses in a longitudinal study of college roommates followed across a semester. Path analyses supported both predictions, suggesting a paradox for interpersonal goals in close relationships: explicit attempts to increase close others’ regard for the self backﬁre and damage self‐esteem, but having goals to meet others’ needs result in others’ positive regard and promote self‐esteem. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Will You Be There for Me When Things Go Right? Supportive Responses to Positive Event Disclosures
Gable, Gonzaga & Strachaman
Close relationship partners often share successes and triumphs with one another, but this experience is rarely the focus of empirical study. In this study, 79 dating couples completed measures of relationship well-being and then participated in videotaped interactions in which they took turns discussing recent positive and negative events. Disclosers rated how understood, validated, and cared for they felt in each discussion, and outside observers coded responders’ behavior. Both self-report data and observational codes showed that 2 months later, responses to positive event discussions were more closely related to relationship well-being and break-up than were responses to negative event discussions. The results are discussed in terms of the recurrent, but often overlooked, role that positive emotional exchanges play in building relationship resources.
Daily Self-Disclosure and Sleep in Couples
Kane, Slatcher, Reynolds, Repetti, & Robles
An emerging literature provides evidence for the association between romantic relationship quality and sleep, an important factor in health and well-being. However, we still know very little about the specific relationship processes that affect sleep behavior. Therefore, the goal of this study was to examine how self-disclosure, an important relational process linked to intimacy, relationship satisfaction, and health, is associated with sleep behavior. Method: As part of a larger study of family processes, wives (n ϭ 46) and husbands (n ϭ 38) from 46 cohabiting families completed 56 days of daily diaries. Spouses completed evening diaries assessing daily self-disclosure, relationship satisfaction, and mood and morning diaries assessing the prior night’s sleep. Multilevel modeling was used to explore the effects of both daily variation in and average levels across the 56 days of self-disclosure on sleep. Results: Daily variation in self-disclosure predicted sleep outcomes for wives, but not for husbands. On days when wives self-disclosed more to their spouses than their average level, their subjective sleep quality and sleep efficiency that night improved. Furthermore, daily self-disclosure buffered the effect of high negative mood on sleep latency for wives, but not husbands. In contrast, higher average levels of self-disclosure predicted less waking during the night for husbands, but not for wives. Conclusion: The association between self-disclosure and sleep is one mechanism by which daily relationship functioning may influence health and well-being. Gender may play a role in how self-disclosure is associated with sleep.
Are You Happy for Me? How Sharing Positive Events With Others Provides Personal and Interpersonal Benefits
Reis, Smith, Carmichael, Caprariello, Tsai, Rodriguez, & Maniaci
Sharing good news with others is one way that people can savor those experiences while building personal and interpersonal resources. Although prior research has established the benefits of this process, called capitalization, there has been little research and no experiments to examine the underlying mechanisms. In this article, we report results from 4 experiments and 1 daily diary study conducted to examine 2 mechanisms relevant to capitalization: that sharing good news with others increases the perceived value of those events, especially when others respond enthusiastically, and that enthusiastic responses to shared good news promote the development of trust and a prosocial orientation toward the other. These studies found consistent support for these effects across both interactions with strangers and in everyday close relationships.
Lecture 4 – September 26
An examination of relational-interdependent self-construal, communal strength, and pro-relationship behaviors in friendships
Mattingly, Oswald, & Clark
Individual differences in relational-interdependent self-construal (RISC) are associated with positive rela-tionship characteristics. This suggests that RISC is positively associated with the degree to which individ-uals view their relationships as communally-oriented (i.e., governed by norms of responsiveness), which should in turn be associated with increased use of pro-relationship behaviors. Thus, the current study explored the associations between RISC, communal strength, and pro-relationship behaviors in friend-ships. As predicted, RISC was positively associated with pro-relationship behavior use, but this associa-tion was mediated by greater communal strength. This suggests that increased RISC is associated with greater relationship satisfaction because the manner in which individuals view their relationships (i.e., communally) explains the association between RISC and constructive relationship behavior.
Are you really just friends? Predicting the audience challenge in cross-sex friendships
Schoonover & McEwan
Cross-sex friends experience a variety of challenges including the audience challenge: when cross-sex friends are mistaken for a romantic couple by other members of their social network. This research sought to explore the various factors that might inﬂuence cross-sex friends’ experience of the audience challenge. Cross-sex friends who were strictly platonic were less likely to experience the audience challenge and less likely to be concerned about the audience challenge than individuals in mutual romance, desires romance, or reject romance friendships. Regression analyses indicated cross-sex friends tend to experience the audience challenge the least when their friendship network is supportive of cross-sex friends. The relation between network support and the audience challenge is moderated by romantic desire and sexual activity.
Creating positive out-group attitudes through inter-group couple friendships and implications for compassionate love.
Welker, Slatcher, Baker, & Aron
Building personal relationships with out-group members is an important catalyst of positive intergroup attitudes. In a 2 Â 2 experimental design, Caucasian and African American individuals and couples were randomly assigned to interact in either cross-race or same-race individual dyads and couple pairs. Participants completed pretest measures of race attitudes and engaged in a high self-disclosure closeness-induction task with an in-group or out-group race member in pairs of couples or individuals and completed measures of self-disclosure and intergroup attitudes. These results suggest that intergroup contact in the presence of romantic partners may be particularly effective for improving intergroup attitudes. We explore the implications of these results for developing compassionate love toward out-groups.