Study Guide 7-10
Study Guide 7-10 H_D_FS 1610 - 01
Popular in Intimate Relationships and Marriage
Popular in Human Development
This 25 page Study Guide was uploaded by Cassidy Hall on Monday November 9, 2015. The Study Guide belongs to H_D_FS 1610 - 01 at University of Missouri - Columbia taught by Ashton Chapman in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 103 views. For similar materials see Intimate Relationships and Marriage in Human Development at University of Missouri - Columbia.
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Date Created: 11/09/15
Study Guide Chapter 7 Communicating Closeness How Communication Promotes Intimacy Personal expressions and disclosures promote relationship maintenance. We tend to pursue intimate relationships with people that make us feel understood, cared for, and validated. Relationship Maintenance is the routine behaviors and strategies partners undertake to help ensure that their relationship will continue and/or improve. Expressions and Disclosures: The Intimacy Process Model The intimacy process model is a framework that defines intimacy as arising from interactions in which person A discloses or expresses self- relevant thoughts and feelings to person B and, based on person B’s response, comes to feel understood, validated, and cared for. Relationship scientists often discuss responsiveness under the broad heading of empathy. Empathy is the capacity to understand and share another person’s thoughts and feelings. May have positive or negative implications for the relationship o It has positive implications if the partner has positive thoughts and feelings o It has negative implications if the partner has negative thoughts and feelings Communication and Intimacy Personal expressions and disclosure promote relationship maintenance Self-expansion model is a perspective based on two assumptions: people want to increase their capacity and efficacy as individual to achieve their goals and strive to acquire resources of various kinds, enrich their identities, and elaborate on what they know and what they can do; intimate relationships are a common way people attempt to accomplish self-expansion. Non-Verbal Communication Can Provide: Peoples moods or meanings Regulate interaction Relationship statuses Sensitivity and accuracy with which couples communicate nonverbally predicts relationship satisfaction. Encoding vs. Decoding- How effective are we at sending messages? Interpreting messages? Women tend to do better at both Miscommunication linked to satisfaction o Nonverbal insensitivity may make a partner less rewarding o Dissatisfaction may result in less communication efforts Social Support Research shows that people who have stronger social integration have lower levels of mortality. Social Integration is involvement with, or connection to, people around us. Social Support responsiveness to the needs of others Visible Support is the efforts to promote the well being of a partner that the recipient is aware of receiving, potentially undermining its value. Invisible support is the efforts to promote the well being of a partner that the recipient is not aware of receiving. Capitalization Capitalization is within an intimate relationship, using positive events in each partners life as opportunities to nurture and promote closeness Broaden and Build Theory is the idea that experiencing and expressing positive emotions serve two purposes: to expand and enhance how we attend to, think about, and respond to daily events; and to accumulate the resources-including physical health, intellectual ad creative capacities, spiritual connections, and social relationships-for maintaining out well-being. Sharing positive events allows us to: relive the events, see that others are pleased for us, and experience ourselves being viewed favorably by others. Forgiveness Forgiveness is the process after being hurt by a partner’s behavior, of transforming anger and the desire to retaliate into a altruistic orientation toward the offender; into an altruistic orientation toward the offender; with a desire for reconciliation. Much of the truly hard work in maintaining relationships arises when one partner hurts or betrays the other. To forgive people you must be motived and show forgiving behavior. Motivation on a intrapersonal level o The wronged partner wants to be kind to the other person rather than feel anger and a thirst for vengeance Behavior on an interpersonal level o The wronged partner lets the other know he or she no longer feels anger or a thirst for vengeance Both behavior and motivation must be present for full forgiveness Silent Forgiveness is when there is a change in intrapersonal motivation but no change in interpersonal behavior. Acts mad, even though forgiven Hollow Forgiveness is when there is a change in interpersonal behavior but no change in intrapersonal motivation Acts happy, but is still angry Forgiveness is most likely if the transgression was minor, the victim has empathy, agreeableness, and a low level of neuroticism, the transgressor apologizes, the relationship contains a high level of commitment and satisfaction. Forgiveness is a process that can unfold over a long span of time Impact stage is the stage in the forgiveness process when partners learn of the transgression and begin to recognize the effect it has on them and their relationship; a time of disorientation, confusion, and hurt feelings. Meaning stage is the stage in the forgiveness process when the offended partner tries to make sense of why the transgression happened. Moving on is when the victim moves past the transgression Gottman’s Bids for Satisfaction Partners make bids to create, increase, maintain, or re-establish connection Partners make bids; even when they=re not aware that they’re doing it Loud sighs or huffs “My sister says the craziest stuff sometimes…” Whether or not partners pay attention to these bids matters the most Turning towards a partner The bid is recognized and a positive response is given Turning against partners Bid is recognized and the response is negative Turning away from partners Bids may be recognized but no response is provided Turning away from a partners bids may lead our partner to stop making bids altogether, but you are right in thinking that some bids may be negative or forcing being nice may lead to resentment Sexual Satisfaction Physical intimacy is positively related to relationship satisfaction, and predicts the quality and stability of relationships. Three possible reasons: Physical intimacy leads to relationship satisfaction o Especially for men Relationship satisfaction leads to physical intimacy Some third variable leads to both o Quality of communication Motives for sex matter When people engage in physical intimacy in order to find out if their partner still cares, this is related to lower levels of satisfaction People are committed to a relationship think and behave differently than less committed partners do Committed partners experience cognitive interdependence, positive illusions (Perceived superiority makes one ‘s partnerships seem ‘special’), Intention to alternatives (derogation of tempting alternatives.) Chapter 8 Managing Differences Conflict is Inevitable Conflict comes from competing goals; goals can be long- term or short- term At some point each partner will have different goals. Verbal Conflict Conflict is the interference of the goals of one person by another person Conflicts of interest are inevitable and are particularly high when two people are highly independent and in frequent contact Responses to conflicts can vary. Social Learning Theory It’s not just what partners say, but how they say it that matters Affect= verbal content and emotional tone Affect is the feeling or emotional expression; the emotional tone of verbal communication. Coding system is in the context of social learning theory, any one of the several schemes researchers use for classifying observed behaviors. Interactions of unhappy couples are characterized by: Less positive behavior More negative behavior More predictable patterns Longer cycles of reciprocal negative behavior Interrater Reliability is in content analysis and the coding of observational date, the extent to which multiple independent coders agree on how a specific piece of content should be categorized. Structural Model of Marital Interaction is the idea that three dimensions of behavior distinguish happy and unhappy couples when they are trying to resolve a relationship problem: the positive and negative degrees of their behavior, the degree of predictability of behaviors between them, and their ability to exit cycles of reciprocal negative behavior. The interactions of unhappy couples can be characterized by the following: o Less positive and more negative behavior o Greater predictability of behaviors o Longer cycles of reciprocal negative behavior Gottman’s Four Horseman of the Apocalypse Gottman suggests that 4 behaviors are most predictive of relationship distress and unhappiness: o Criticism Character attacks, with the intent to make someone right/wrong (e.g., “you always” or “you never”) o Contempt Attacks on the sense of self with the intent to psychologically harm (e.g, name calling, sarcasm, negative body language o Defensiveness Seeing self as the victim, warding off a perceived attack (e.g., making, excuses, cross-complaining, disagreeing and then cross-complaining, yes-butting, repeating yourself, whining) o Stonewalling Withdrawing as a way to avoid conflict; sometimes partners think they’re being neutral, but conveys disapproval, smugness, or disconnection (e.g., silence, muttering, changing the subject, removing yourself physically) Partner Perceptions of Conflict Disagreements arise in relationships not only because of competing goals, but also because partners may have different perceptions of, experiences in relationships Cognitive Editing is the tendency in happy couples to respond to a partner’s negative behaviors with neutral or even positive behaviors Reactivity hypothesis is a phenomenon in which unhappy partners are more sensitive and responsive to immediate events in their relationship, regardless of whether they are positive or negative. Talk table is a procedure for studying couple interactions during a problem- solving discussion in which they judge how positive and negative they intend their own messages to be and how positive and negative they experience the impact of their partners’ messages, thus enabling researchers to specify sources of miscommunication. Attempts to pinpoint the sources of a couples miscommunication o Partner A begins a conversation and pushes a button to indicate the intended impact of the message o Partner B rates the actual impact of the message o Partner B then generate his/her own response and rates its intended impact o Pattern continues for 10-15 minute conversation; partners can see one another, but not each other’s ratings. Happy and unhappy couples both send messages that have positive intended impact Only happy couples rate the actually impact of these messages as positive Unhappy couples rate the actual impact of messages as negative. Broad Behavior Patterns in Arguments Demand/Withdraw is a behavioral sequence common in distressed relationships in which one partner expresses a desire for change and the other partner resists change by disengaging from the interaction. Especially likely when women are the ones who want change, and one partner wants more change than another Partners perceive their behavior as reasonable o Partner A demands because Partner B is disengaged o Partner B disengages because Partner A demands Couples engaging in this pattern are said to be polarized o Polarized is referring to polar opposites; in a personal relationship, a couple is polarized when the two partners adopt opposing viewpoints in an argument Mismanaged Conflict as a Cause of Relationship Distress Conflict, and how it’s handled, matters for both our emotional and physical well-being Conflict effects our immune system (e.g., wound healing) Direct expressions, even when its negative, can bring about desired changes in relationships Negative messages may be painful and hard to hear and deliver, but if they are direct specific, and reasonable, they can benefit the relationship over time Warm and positive emotions expressed during an important discussion can reduce the adverse effects of negative statements. Outcomes of Conflict Separation-partners withdraw without resolution Domination-one partner gets his or her way Compromise- a mutually acceptable alternative is found Integrate Agreements- satisfy both partners’ goals through flexibility Structural Improvement- Partners get what they want and grow in their relationships Recognizing the pattern, and each partner’s contribution to is a good start to approaching conflict in a more effective way. Engaging in conflict recovery is key-forgive and forget Negativity is best received if it is direct, specific, and reasonable Jealousy Often tied to the potential loss of a valued relationship to a real or imagined rival Two Types of Jealousy o Reactive- occurs in response to a realistic danger o Suspicious-unfounded; partners have not misbehaved, but we assume that they have Men and women are equally likely to have feelings of jealousy o Women-unknown o Men- mutual friends Cl-Alts, feelings of inadequacy, attachment styles, and personality also influence feelings of jealousy Media plays a large role in jealousy 1 and 3 people feel worse after checking Facebook Social media draw attention to threats that we weren’t previously aware of Social media and other technologies make secret keeping harder Social media may take existing problems bigger People may react to jealousy in ways that have beneficial or harmful effects on their relationship Attachment styles help determine responses Secure individuals are more likely to express concerns and try to repair the relationship Lying Deception is intentional- creates an impression in the recipient that the deceiver knows to be untrue 92% of people in relationships report having lied at least once, but we still judge lying harshly Most lies are considered causal, spontaneous, and successful Most lies are told to benefit the liar, but some serve to benefit others Deceiver’s distrust: when people lie to others, they begin to perceive the recipients of the lies as less honest and trustworthy. Liars assume that others are like them o We feel better about ourselves when our faults are shared by others Liars perceive their own lies as less harmful than recipients People are more likely to tell a lie if they are: Outgoing and sociable Concerned with the impressions they make on others Insecurely attached Lies are typically less detailed than truths, unless liars are highly motivated Nonverbal behaviors give lies away High pitch speaking Grammatical errors Less blinking Interactions that involve lies are less pleasant/ intimate than those that involve honesty Lying undermines trust Lying is exhausting Lying provokes stress Lying erodes relational health, which we know is linked to emotional/physical health outcomes We generally assume a truth bias in our relationships As relationships become more intimate and trust increases, our accuracy in detecting deception declines. Lies usually aren’t detected at the time they’re told- instead, lies are detected when information comes about later. We consider those who are too honest to be blunt, antisocial, and even pathological. Considering how our lies influence our intimacy with our partner is important E.g., “I’m fine” vs. “You look great in that dress!” Physical Aggression Aggressive physical contacts between intimate partners varies widely in severity and from Family sociology perspective is and approach to studying aggression in couples and families using large-scale surveys; it underestimates that level of very severe aggression Advocacy perspective is an approach to understanding and helping women affected by domestic violence, particularly intimate terrorism. Violent resistance is an unusual for of aggression in which the victim of severe abuse fights back, even to the point at which the perpetrator is killed. Aggression is measure in two different types: Intimate terrorism is a form of aggression by one partner to dominate the other. Has the goal of controlling and intimidating the partner. o Most commonly perpetrated by males against females o Best predicted by personality traits and background aggressor: People who engage in intimate terrorism in one romantic relationship are likely to engage in it in subsequent relationships o The victim sometimes may engage in violent resistance Situational Couple Violence (SCV) is a form of physical aggression between intimate partners that is usually mutual, widespread, and the result of emotional escalation. o More closely tied to relationship dynamics than individual psychopathology o Males and females are equally likely to engage in it: May be Unilateral or Bilateral Unilateral aggression is violence inflicted solely by one partner in the relationship Bilateral aggression is violent behavior perpetrated by both partners in a relationship. o Women are more likely initiate, men are more likely to harm Despite the relatively equal balance between males and females as perpetrators, we still apply gendered stereotypes to this violence. o Best predicted by situational factors, rather than personality People may engage in situational couple violence in one romantic relationship but not in others Violence in one relationship, though, is likely to continue (60-80%) o Partners may not report it as a problem, explaining it away as a rare occurrence or the result of stress or other external factors. o 57% of engaged couples report SCV in the year before marriage o 35% of cohabitating couples reported relationship violence o 16% of high school dating couples reported being the victim of dating violence o 30% of dating adults reported mid aggression, and 11% reported severe aggression o SCV is place early in relationships (vs. being something that develops over time as relationships become dissatisfying) o Couples whose aggression is more severe persistent begin their relationship with lower levels of satisfaction and become less satisfied over time o Very few people report SCV as a problem in their relationship Its relative infrequency means that its easily discounted as unimportant Sociocultural perspective on aggression is an approach to explain violence in couples by recognizing how aggressive behavior may be promoted or inhibited by various social and cultural institutions. Interpersonal perspective on aggression is an approach to explaining violence in couples that emphasizes the private and passionate nature of intimate relationships, the high degree of partner interdependence, the presence of disagreements, and variations the behavioral and cognitive capacities partners express in their interactions. o If their communication skills are poor, they may turn to violence Intraindividual perspectives on aggression is an approach to explaining violence in couples that focuses on the enduring qualities and personal histories of each partner o If their parents engaged in it, they are more likely to engage in it. Chapter 9 Beliefs and Values What We Already Know About Intimate Relationships Beliefs are an idea or theory about what the world is like. E.g., couples that fight a lot are unhappy. Values are an idea about what a person desires, aspires to, or believes should be true. E.g., if couples are truly happy, they shouldn’t fight with one another Three possible targets; Ourselves Our partner Our relationship People’s Ideas About Relationships Lay relationships theories are the accumulated knowledge that people who are not researchers have about intimate relationships E.g., Their beliefs and values General lay theories are the ideas and beliefs of people who are not researchers about how relationships function. E.g., partners who agree are happy Specific lay theories are beliefs ad values people hold about specific ongoing or prior relationships E.g., in this relationship, my partner and I agree a lot Beliefs About Relationships Expectations are a prediction about what is likely to happen in the future, often based on general beliefs about how relationships function. Locus of control is a person’s expectation about his or her ability to bring about desired changes in some aspect of life. External Locus of Control is the belief that ones success or failure is primarily the result of outside forces. Attitudes, Standards, and Ideals It’s important to distinguish between what people think is true about relationships and what people want to be true about their own relationships Attitude is a positive or negative evaluation of someone or something. People who score high in sex role traditionalism value a clear separation of the roles and responsibilities for men and women Sex role traditionalism is the tendency to value a clear and conventional separation of the roles and responsibilities for men and women. Standards are a yardstick for evaluating something; the minimum set of qualities and attributes partners require to be satisfied with their relationship. Ideals are the highest outcomes to which a person ultimately aspires. What we want, but don’t necessarily expect to find Standards represent minimum requirements; ideals represent maximum hopes and dreams. Ideals may exist for partners and relationships Evaluating Our Relationships People evaluate their relationships against each of their standards and ideals-their relationships tend to fall somewhere in-between Ideal standards model is the theory that the amount of discrepancy between values for relationships in general and perceptions of the current relationship in particular determines whether a person will be satisfied with a relationship. The greater the discrepancy between general ideals and specific perceptions, the lower the evaluation of the relationship. Ideals may differ across different aspects of the relationship Interpreting Relationship Events People’s relationship cognitions help them interpret behavior Perceptual Confirmation is the tendency to interpret new and/or ambiguous information and experiences in a manner consistent with exiting ideas, beliefs, and expectations, thereby reinforcing them. Why was my partner late to dinner? Because he or she was stuck in traffic, or because he or she is inconsiderate E.g., rejections sensitivity and relationship beliefs/ expectations Behavior in Relationships People’s relationship cognitions guide their behaviors Behavioral Confirmation is the process through which beliefs and expectations lead to behavior that elicits responses that confirm that initial beliefs and expectations. E.g., Do people respond to their partner’s lateness with an understanding smile or an accusing question Their partner will likely respond in accordance with their behavior, resulting in self-fulfilling prophecy Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is the behavior that leads to an expected experience or outcome E.g., phone conversations and attractiveness E.g., stranger meet-and-greets and likeability Self-Fulfilling Steps 1. Perceiver has an expectation 2. Perceiver acts toward the target according to the expectation 3. Target interprets the Perceiver’s behavior 4. Target acts according ot the expectation in response to the Perceiver’s behavior 5. Perceiver interprets Target’s response as consistent with the original expectation Power of Perceptions Perceptions can shape relationship beliefs and behaviors Some perceptions may be helpful, while others may be harmful for our relationships Idealizing Our Partners Positive Illusions: we tend to portray our partners in the best possible light Mix of realistic knowledge and idealized perceptions Boost our self-esteem It’s not that we ignore our partner’s faults altogether, we simply interpret them differently that everyone else Positive Illusions can be harmful of beneficial, it depends on how realistic they are Overtime we tend to revise our opinions of what we want in an ideal partner so that our standards fit the partner we have Editing our ideals and perceiving our partners as the best contributes to greater relationship satisfaction Positive Illusions-Commitment- Love=Relationship Satisfaction/Stability What Is a Healthy Way to Think About Relationships? Given importance of relationship cognitions, which ways of thinking about relationships are associated with higher levels of satisfaction? High Expectations o High expectations may come true with the processes such as perceptual and behavioral confirmation o High expectations in the realm of reality seem to be ideal Low Expectations o People may be disappointed if their expectations are too high and are not met People with expectations that are high, but not so high that they can’t be met, then to be most satisfied Expectations with respect to factors that are out of one’s control (e.g., external stressors) or ability (e.g., mind reading) are best kept lower Similarity in Partners’ Beliefs and Values Both partners in a relationship have beliefs and values, about the relationship and other matters E.g., Politics or religion Met standards > similar standards Most people have rather similar values (e.g., being kind is good; being rude is bad) Stereotype accuracy effect is the fact that two partners may share beliefs and values and still be no more similar to each other than to any other member of their population, simply because most people share the same beliefs and values. Spouse’s have especially similar values Similarity in attitudes is an important basis for sexual attraction. It is difficult to study how couples with different levels of similarity differ form each other, since most couples are alike How Much Does Similarity Matter? Effect sizes appear to be rather weak and other factors seem to matter more E.g., attachment style It depends on the domain Similarity may be a bit more important when it comes to are as like sex role traditionalism o However, even those effect sizes are rather weak Culture is the shared attitudes, beliefs, norms, and values of people who speak he same language and share a geographic area, during a specific period of time Different cultures have different courtship and marriage traditions Different cultures put different emphasis on the importance of love Media Media is one means through which a culture’s beliefs and values are transmitted to the masses Research suggests that media affects: General relationship beliefs Relationship evaluations Relationship behaviors E.g., movie watching, sexual violence, and rape myths E.g., centerfolds, average nudes, and spousal love Education about media influence may promote resistance Personal Experience Intergenerational transmission and social learning Those with divorced parents tend to report: Less optimism about marriage in general Lower expectations of trust in future partner Difficulties discussing issues with romantic partners Our own relationship experience can also affect our relationship beliefs and behaviors Generalizing from past experiences may lead to: Relationship problems o E.g., unwillingness to learn form and respond to new partners Relationship growth o E.g., attachment styles Memories Reconstructive memory: we edit and update our memories as new events unfold Partner’s current feelings about one another influence what they remember about their shared past Misremembering our past can lead us to feel optimistic, but it may also lead to overconfidence Impression management: our attempts to influence the impressions of us that others form E.g., women eat less on date with attractive men E.g., men give more to charity in an attempt to impress Impression management is rarely deceitful- instead, it involves revealing, in a selective fashion, one’s real attributes Strategies of Impression Management Socially desirable impressions often achieved through: Integration-used to seek acceptance/ liking from others E.g., do favors, pay compliments, mention agreements Self Promotion- used to recount accomplishment or strategically arrange public demonstrations of our skills Undesirable impressions often achieved through: Intimidation-used to portray ourselves as ruthless, dangerous, and/or menacing Supplication- used to present ourselves as incapable or weak to avoid obligations and to elicit help and support form others Impression Management in Close Relationships Self-monitoring –quick adjustments of behavior to fit norms of different situations People who score high in self-monitoring tend to: Have more friends, but have less in common with them Surround themselves with activity specialists Steer clear of topics that would cause dispute Have shorter, somewhat less committed relationships Interestingly, we tend to go to less trouble to maintain favorable images for our intimate partners than we do for others Chapter 10 Understanding Each Other Information Processing Information Processing is all the ways we organize our perceptions, thoughts, and beliefs about the world How we link experience to meaning Quickly and subconsciously, we draw connections between specific behaviors and general beliefs/feelings Result in a hierarchy: Specific behaviors (e.g., my partner makes great lasagna) General conclusions or perceptions (e.g., my partner is a great cook) SEE FIGURE 10.3 The same specific behavior can support different conclusions Different behaviors can be perceived in different ways Our perceptions, thoughts and beliefs about a relationship and our partner vary from specific and concrete observations of behaviors to more general ideas about what our partner is like Fatal Attraction is an example of how conclusions can change over time Fatal attraction is a type of attraction in which qualities in a partner that are initially perceived as attractive grows to be sources of irritation later in the relationship When more specific behaviors support the same general conclusions, that conclusion will be more resilient to new information A specific perception of the relationship can be used to support many different interpretations or meanings Motivated Reasoning A motive is a drive to reach a specific goal A bias is a tendency to process information to protect a particular point of view Motivated reasoning is all the ways that motives, desires, and preferences shape how we select, interpret, and organize information, guided by satisfying specific needs and achieving specific goals. Serve to satisfy specific needs and achieve specific goals Motives: Enhancement Accuracy Justification Enhancement: Believing the Best People are motivated to view their partners positively We want to believe that our relationships are successful, that our partners are wonderful, and that our investments are warranted Enhancement bias is the tendency to process information that supports positive beliefs about a partner and a relationship, rather than negative one Enhancement motive is the desire to support and strengthen positive views of a partner and a relationship. People frequently see their partners more positively than their partners see themselves, especially when relationships are satisfying Negativity more prominent in dissatisfied couples We believe our relationships have more positive qualities and less negative qualities than others’ relationships We tend to be overly optimistic about our relationship’s stability We are more optimist, but less accurate about our relational futures than outside observers o Best predictors= women’s friend o Second best predictors=women’s mothers Accuracy: Knowing and Being Known Accuracy motive is the desire to understand a partner and to be understood in turn People driven by this motive overestimate how much their specific experiences actually reveal about their partners (a diagnosticity bias) and seek out information and feedback that supports what they already believe (a confirmation bias) Accuracy Bias is the desire to understand a partner and to be understood in return People want to feel that they can predict what their partner will do and how their partner is likely to respond May fall prey to the confirmation bias Diagnosticity bias is a preference for information that may indicate important qualities in a partner or a relationship; the tendency to perceive such information to be more revealing that it may actually be. Confirmation bias is a preference for information that supports one’s established beliefs and expectations Justification: Being Right Justification Bias: people want to fell that they have reached conclusions that re correct People also want to feel that they are moral and responsible Justification motive is a preference for information that supports a positive view of oneself, even if it does not support a relationship. Partners driven by this motive tend to take credit for their successes and blame each other for failures, thus demonstrating a self-serving bias Self-serving bias is the tendency to take credit for our successes and to blame others or circumstances for our failures. Even if people think their relationship is not good, they are motivated to think that this conclusion is correct Sentiment override: People’s overall feelings have and impact on their perceptions of more specific aspects of their relationship Blaming our partners, rather than ourselves, for a dissatisfying relationship is protective None of these motives or biases is mutually exclusive. One partner can pursue enhancement of the relationship at the global level, while also seeking accurate information about the other partner’s strengths and limitations Reaching an Understanding Each day people acquire new information about their partner and their relationship Accommodation is the process of changing existing beliefs to integrate new information. E.g., when a partner thought to be reliable is late, the partner may no longer be perceived as reliable Assimilation is the process of integrating new information with existing knowledge without substantially changing the existing beliefs Keeping Negative Information Out of Awareness Partners may ignore negative information Selective Attention is noticing and focusing on some information or stimuli in the environment and not others. o Out of all available information, we pay attention to only some o Our desires and goals affect what information we notice n the first place, how long we pay attention, and way we overlook o Positive feelings about a partner can be maintained to the extent that negative information is ignored, through selective attention or forgotten, through memory bias. Empathy accuracy model is a framework to explain when partners should be more or less motivated to attend to and understand what each other is thinking and feeling. The model proposes that our motivation to understand our partner accurately varies, depending on how threatening our partner’s thoughts and feelings are likely to be. Partners may also try to forget threatening information quickly after it’s presented Memory bias is the tendency for people’s memories of the past to be distorted by their current feelings and desirers. o People tend to remember their relationships as improving, especially over the recent past This allows them to downplay the importance of negative information, focusing instead on the idea that their relationship is only improving over time If negative information must be acknowledged, partners can minimize its impact on their feelings about the relationship through adaptive attributions, changing their standards, using cognitive restructuring, or engaging n downward social comparisons. Minimizing the Impact of Negative Information Adaptive attribution is the explanations we use to understand each other’s behavior Links a specific observation to a broader cause or meaning Attributions are an explanation for a behavior; the explanation attributes a behavior to some more general cause When behaviors are thoughtful or affectionate, they’re best viewed as stable and internal When behaviors are thoughtless or harmful, they are vest excused as external and temporary. Satisfied couple tend to give each other credit for positive behaviors and excuse each other for negative ones o The opposite is true for dissatisfied couples Attributions may be unhealthy/harmful o E.g., intimate terrorism Attributions occur across two main dimensions: Locus dimension is in reference to attributions, the location of the cause of a behavior, usually distinguishing between causes that are internal or external to the actor o Internal or external Stability dimension is in reference to attributions, the duration of the cause of a behavior, usually distinguishing between causes that are temporary or continuous o Temporary or continual Flexible Standards Flexible standards are standards that can be changed over time so that whatever is currently perceived to be positive about a relationship is considered important and whatever is currently perceived to be negative is dismissed as unimportant E.g., flowers and thoughtfulness vs. personal time Help us preserve positive feelings about our relationships when partners change overtime or no longer meet our standards Cognitive Restructuring Cognitive Restructuring is a process by which the implications of a partner’s perceived faults are minimized by linking them to perceptions of the partner’s strengths Four Strategies: Reinterpretation o Reinterpretation is the way a partners accomplish cognitive restructuring, by connecting a partner’s acknowledged faults to higher-level positive ideals E.g., “ My partner is stubborn, but his strong beliefs make me confident in him.” Refutation o Refutation is the way that partners accomplish cognitive restructuring, by interpreting negative behaviors to minimize their impact on the relationship E.g., “Yes my partner is jealous, but I don’t think it affects our relationship.” Integration o Integration is viewing positive and negatives together E.g., “My partner can be a bit moody, but he is also very honest and trustworthy.” Compartmentalization o Compartmentalization is separating the positives and negatives E.g., “My partner has bad qualities, such as her moodiness, and good qualities, such as her trustworthiness” Social Comparisons Social Comparisons are an individual’s use of information about others to evaluate his or her own attitudes and abilities Downward Social comparison is a way of feeling better about oneself relative to others who are doing worse E.g., “I look down on others relationships” Upward Social Comparison is evaluating oneself in relation to others who are doing better in that domain E.g., “I look up to a others relationships” Derogating alternative partners is protecting a current relationship by evaluating possible alternatives to the relationship negatively Ability and Motive: The Limits of Motivated Reasoning If people could always use such mechanisms for coping with negative information, they would never grow dissatisfied with their relationships People may be limited in their ability and motivation to cope with negative information Processing negative information positively takes effort- we must be motivated to do so The Ability to Protect Relationships Stress is when people are coping with a lot of things; they may not have the cognitive resources to engage in adaptive attributions. Cognitive complexity is the extent to which a person’s thoughts about particular subjects are well integrated and take multiple dimensions into consideration E.g., Partner is kind (broad) rests on one specific example (partner donated to charity) that is explained away (donation made for tax purposes) The Motive to Protect the Relationship Commitment calibration hypothesis is the idea that threats to a relationship should motivate activates to protect the relationship only if the threat is calibrated to partners’ levels of commitment. For them to take action, a threat must be big enough to notice but not so big as to overwhelm their desire to remain in the relationship Threats must be big enough to notice, but not so big that they become overwhelming If partners feel their relationship is strong enough to withstand the negative behavior or negative information, they will not try to explain it away. There must be limits to our flexibility in assigning meaning to relationship experiences. Otherwise we could believe whatever we want and never make interpretations, or reach conclusions that might be undesirable. We are sometimes forced to make unwanted interpretations because negating in motivated reasoning takes ability and desire, and sometimes we lack one or both.
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