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Causes of Interpersonal Attraction[edit]

Proximity (a.k.a., The Propinquity Effect)[edit]

One of the primary determinants of interpersonal attraction is one's proximity to others. As noted by Priest and Sawyer (1960),[1] whether it is two people in the same organization, the same city, the same country, or the entire planet, "the probability of their ever interacting is more a function of the distance between them than of any other characteristic" (p. 646). Physical proximity determines if and how often people interact, and hence is the first hurdle that must be overcome before any meaningful friendship or more intimate relationship can occur. This fact is not surprising given the vast distances that can separate people. but what is surprising is that proximity can have a major impact even at much closer distances. Whether two people are in the same building or perhaps even in the same classroom, how physically close they are can impact the likelihood that they will form a some degree of friendship.

A variety of studies have established the important role that proximity plays in interpersonal attraction. On of the first empirical investigations of this phenomenon came from Festinger, Schachter, and Back (1950).[2] They interviewed individuals within a married student housing dormitory and found that residents were significantly more likely to be good friends if they were next door neighbors than if they lived two doors apart or at the end of the same hallway. Segal (1974)[3] found similar effects in a study of the proximity effect in the context of a Maryland State Police Training Academy. Students at this training academy were assigned to dormitory rooms, as well as to seats in their classrooms, on the basis of alphabetical order. As a consequence of this arrangement, individuals whose last names were alphabetically close together were more likely to room near each other and to sit near each other during classes. Segal asked students to list their three closest friends in the training academy, and the results indicated that proximity, measured by the alphabetical closeness of the students' last names, had a powerful effect on interpersonal attraction (friendship) within the academy. In fact, proximity was a more powerful determinant of attraction than was the similarity between the students in religion, marital status, parental education, leisure activities, or attitudes.

Proximity affects interpersonal attraction not only because it is a necessary condition for acquaintance to occur, but also because it can enhance liking once acquaintanceship has occurred. Proximity results in more frequent contact, which in and of itself can increase liking. For example, Moreland and Beach (1992)[4] studied the effects of mere exposure on interpersonal attraction by manipulating how often a guest attended a class during the semester. Across a number of classes, a female guest attended either 0, 5, 10, or 15 lectures during the semester. Late in the semester, Moreland and Beach asked students in these classes to evaluate the guest. The results were that the more often the guest had attended the class, the more positively they rated the guest on a variety of measures, including judgments of intelligence, popularity, honesty, physical attractiveness, how much they would enjoy spending time with her, and how much they would like her. In sum, proximity can lead to more frequent contact, which in turn leads to greater familiarity, which in turn often leads to greater liking and interpersonal attraction. Moreover, without proximity, many of the other factors that can affect interpersonal attraction (see below) are unable to have an effect. BillyBlueJay (talk) 20:10, 7 December 2011 (UTC)


Reciprocal Liking[edit]

Physical Attractiveness[edit]

Physical attraction refers to the physical traits that produce a deep sexual desire in the opposite sex. There are a variety of differences between what male and females determine to be physically attractive. The attributes that women tend to favor in men are broken down into three main categories: a man's facial structure, muscular physique, and genetic history.

The facial structure is what women are attracted to first, including facial symmetry, clear skin from acne and scars, and a unique hairstyle. Symmetry in basic understanding is the level of facial features that are in exact alignment on opposite sides of the face. In Western societies, women often agree that a face with pronounced cheekbones, heavy-set jaw, big eyes and big big smile is physically attractive. In fact, studies by Evolutionary Biologist Randy Thornhill (1995)[5] have found that male facial symmetry was the only detremining factor that could predict the likelihood of a woman experiencing orgasm during sex. The males that possessed greater facial symmetry reported significantly more female orgasms during sexual intercourse than were reported by women with partners possessing low symmetry.

Women also focus on body mass and prefer a muscular build in the chest and upper body, as well as good body odor. Barber (1995)[6] conducted studies that have shown that females tend to prefer a moderately muscular male torso over an extremely muscular physique or lack of any physical physique at all. A man's muscular physique is a sign of athletic ability and good health, which are heritable characteristics women want their offspring to possess.

Both a male's facial symmetry and muscular physique influence the female's interpretation of the man's genetic history. Thornhill (1999)[7] has also been studying facial symmetry patterns between sexes for over two decades, "It makes sense to use symmetry variation in mate choice. If you choose a perfectly symmetrical partner and reproduce with them, your offspring will have a better chance of being symmetric and able to deal with perturbations". Thus, women tend to assume that males with facial symmetrical and muscular physiques have a strong genetic history of psychically attractive characteristics.

Although physical attraction plays a major role in mate selection for females, Feingold (1991)[8] determined that modern Western societies have notably increased the emphasis males place on female appearance. Similar to women, men predominately focues on a female's facial symmetry, as well as their body mass and youthfulness. Along with facial symmetry, Buss (2003)[9] recorded that men prefer women with full lips, smooth clear skin, and clear blue eyes. In terms of body mass, our Western culture promotes thinness in women as a strong determinant of attractiveness, whereas other cultures often prefer plumper women. Breast size preference also varies drastically between cultures, although Furnham and Swami (2007)[10] concluded that Western societies tend to prefer larger, firmer breasts and rounder buttocks.

Youthfulness is essential for male mate selection because reproductive success has been strongly correlated with a woman's age in all cultures. For example, Buss (2003)[11] studied the age differences between male and female partners across 37 diverse cultures. He concluded that men tend to choose younger female mates because of their higher rates to potentially reproduce, therefore men often seek younger mates.

Although all these different aspects contribute to physical attraction in males and females, both sexes frequently follow the Matching Principle, which states that people typically select partners who are on a similar level of attractiveness. Casedawgs (talk) 23:29, 13 December 2011 (UTC)

Societal Standards and the Building of Relationships Influenced by Physical Attractiveness[edit]

Physical attractiveness effects social interactions and determines the interworking of friendships and relationships. In nearly every species, attractiveness determines who is more or less a rival for courting and mating. Humans seem to pick friends based on attractiveness and prefer friends who are less attractive; therefore, they seem as less of a threat. Research by Bleske and Buss (2000) has demonstrated that attractiveness holds a large hold on how human beings feel about friends and rivals. Research has “revealed that women agreed on which friend was more attractive, and the less attractive members of each friendship pair perceived more mating rivalry in their friendship than did the more attractive members of each friendship pair” (cited in: Bleske-Rechek and Lighthall (2010))[12]. The more attractive members had greater confidence in their ability to overcome their less attractive friends.

Furthermore, attractiveness plays a large role in determining desire for a potential partner and in relationships. Huston (1973) studied and observed whether expectations of mutual desire have a greater impact on people's desire for a potential partner the more physically attractive the partner was. The study aimed to determine if reciprocity manipulation has a greater impact on a participant's desire for attractiveness, relative to moderately attractiveness, and relatively unattractive potential partners. This study found that reciprocal manipulation had a greater impact if the potential partner was attractive rather than moderately attractive or relatively unattractive. This analysis showed the effect was due to the participant's initial expectations of the potential partner’s desire (cited in: Greitemeyer (2010))[13].

Physical attractiveness is important in people’s perceptions of those around them. Perceptions of attractiveness create opinions, preferences, and hold a large role in the creation of relationships and interaction between human beings. One may not pursue a friendly relationship with another person if he or she feels threatened by the others attractiveness. Also, one may not pursue a relationship with another person if he or she feels they will be seen as less attractive when compared to the other person. One may also surround him or herself with those who are opposite of their physical attractiveness in order to gain some type of advantage. A more attractive person may choose to create friendly relationships with those who are less attractive in order to seem more appealing to an outsider looking in on a group’s physical attractiveness. Similarly, a less attractive person may choose to join a friend group with more attractive people in order to attract more attention from outsiders looking in. According to research by Wade (2000) on physical attractiveness, personal attributes are important in determining how much an individual values physical attractiveness in their friends and romantic partners. Attractiveness may steer one toward a potential partner, but may also detour them from those they are intimidated by due to greater physical attractiveness (cited in: Jonason (2009))[14].

Societal pressures place certain guidelines on what and who will be attractive. Research by writers such as Lasch (1978) and Horney (1937) suggest idealized images raise comparison standards for attractiveness and lower satisfaction with one's own attractiveness (cited in: Richins (1991))[15]. People are always comparing attractiveness to those who are deemed physically attractive. Advertisements and campaigns create the basis of what is to be desired. Although one may perceive what is attractive differently than another person, societal pressures still play a role in determining who people choose to surround themselves with, based on their average perception of physical attractiveness. Sed77215 (talk) 04:05, 16 December 2011 (UTC) Sed77215 (talk) 03:00, 15 December 2011 (UTC) Sed77215 (talk) 00:09, 15 December 2011 (UTC) Sed77215 (talk) 02:43, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Selection of Date Choice Based on Physical Attractiveness and its Possible Link to Facial Symmetry, Averageness, and Age[edit]

When considering physical attractiveness, an important issue to most people is the selection of the individuals with whom they will choose to attempt a relationship. It is easy to accept that romantic fantasies are grounded solely in the perceived attractiveness of the individual desired. However, the real world is not quite this simple.

Lewin, Dembo, Festinger, and Sears (1944) (as cited in Walster, Aronson, Abrahams and Rottman (1966))[16]showed that in everyday situations, an individual’s level of aspiration --how badly they want something and the amount of effort they are willing to put forth to obtain it-- is guided by the degree of desire that pertains to their goal. The perceived likelihood of obtaining the goal also plays a factor. Walster, Aronson, Abrahams and Rottmann (1966) suggested an individual’s basic romantic choices are determined using these same standards of decision making. Lewin et al. (1944) noted that people are less likely to desire goals if they believe they cannot be obtained. In relation to romanticism, this creates a situation where a person will feel a potential date is not within reach as their desirability increases (due mostly to an expectation of competition from possibly better suited men/women). Following this reasoning, people will be more likely to attempt a romantic relationship with individuals displaying less attractiveness than the individuals in their fantasies (Walster et al., 1966).

Lewin et al. (1944) research into level of aspiration in obtaining a goal is similar to that of Walster et al. (1966) work into physical attractiveness in another way. Lewin et al. (1944) found that level of aspiration depended on the pursuer’s self-conceived skill level in obtaining the goal. This led Walster et al. (1966) to hypothesize the following:

1) An individual who believes himself highly socially desirable will seek an individual of higher physical attractiveness than will an individual of lower self-perceived social desirability.

2) In a social situation, individuals belonging to the same level of social desirability will seek each other out as potential dates.

3) After dating, individuals of similar social desirability will also like each other the most.

Walster et al. (1966) only found evidence that supported hypothesis 1. It seems the best predictor of date seeking behavior (for both men and women) is the attractiveness of the other individual. This leads us to ask what physical characteristics are interpreted as attractive. Foos and Clark (2011)[17] showed that the age of a face plays an important role in its perceived attractiveness. They found that young and middle-aged individuals show a greater attraction to younger faces than they do to older faces. However, older adults found a similar level of attraction to the faces of individuals throughout the entire range of facial ages (Foos and Clark, 2011).

People judge "average" faces as more attractive than those with unusal or unique facial features. Many studies have produced results showing this phenomenon to be true. Graphically, many faces have been composed into a single face(considered statistically average) using computer generation. It has been experimentally proven that these averaged faces are interpreted to be more attractive than any one individual’s face (Grammer and Thronhill, 1994).[18]

Facial symmetry is perceived as attractive in humans. Scholars suspect that this attraction’s roots can be traced to evolutionary causes. The “good genes theory” proposes that facial symmetry was an indicator of a healthy genome. It is generally accepted that a deviation away from facial symmetry could be a sign of physical stressors (such as illness and disease). Therefore, according to Darwin’s theory of natural selection, it would be beneficial if these genes were selected out of existence, by a species, using mate choice. Facial asymmetry is negative correlated with perceived health in the laboratory studies (e.g. Buress, Roberts, Welling, Puts, and Little, 2011).[19] Hms25952 (talk) 01:27, 8 December 2011 (UTC)HMS25952

Recollections of Initial Attraction[edit]

Recollections of initial attraction include extrinsic qualities that might have been evident when two people first met in addition to intrinsic qualities that emerged as individuals got to know each other better. One's recollection of initial attraction might not be completely congruent with why one was truly influenced to be attracted to another person, but gathering data from the insiders perspective is important. According to Aron et. al (1989), self reports on initial attraction, "probably represent to a significant degree the psychological reality at the time of the event, and this reality often underlies what people do." [20]

Mackey and O'Brien (1995) [21] understood initial attraction as an occurrence that results from psychological, social, and physical dynamics that are played out in an original way for each couple. Some participants in Mackey and O'Brien's study (1995) cited physical attraction as a primary force as to why they were first attracted to their future spouse, but physical attraction was rarely cited alone. Other intrinsic qualities that were discovered as time elapsed, such as kindness and a sense of humor, were usually cited in conjunction with physical attraction. Also, when women spoke of their initial attraction as physical, they were usually relating it to a pleasing characteristic such as a smile. Others in Mackey and O'Brien's study cited psychosocial qualities- such as symmetry in race, religion, and education- as important factors as to why they were initially attracted to their future spouse. 78% of participants in Mackey and O'Brien's study had positive recollections of initial attraction in their first encounters with a future spouse. 18% of the individuals reported feelings of ambivalence about their future spouse. Three times as many women as men reported these ambivalent feelings. The majority of the women reporting ambivalent feelings were African American. A small percentage of women reported negative recollections of initial attraction.

Aron and Iverson (1989) [22] did a similar study asking college students and older adults to report why they had fallen in love with a specific person in their life. The most common reasons cited for why they were initially attracted to and fell in love with a partner were discovering that their partner liked them(reciprocal liking) and noticing their partner's desirable characteristics, such as personality and appearance (physical attractiveness). Men were more likely than women to report that physical attractiveness was an important factor as to why they were first attracted to a partner. Other variables mentioned with moderate frequency were 'special falling-in-love processes' such as looking for or being ready to start a romantic relationship, arousal, mystery, and isolation. Similarity and physical proximity were mentioned with low to moderate frequency as to why a participant was initially attracted to a partner. Social influence and filling other needs was mentioned with a relatively low frequency. Aron et al (1994) studied the self reports of participants living in cultures other than the United States and found that the three most important factors that one reports as reasons for why one became attracted to another- reciprocal liking, desirable personality traits, and physical attraction also hold true cross-culturally. Aron and Iverson (1989) concluded that, "...people are just waiting for an attractive person to do something they can interpret as liking them," [23]. --Cae38509 (talk) 04:33, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

In response to research done by Aron et al. (1989), Sprecher (1998)[24] performed a series of three studies which distinguished between initial attraction in various types of relationships and between initial stages of attraction and current stages of attraction. In general, Sprecher (1998) found that in all three studies there were four predictors of initial attraction which were considered to be most important—warmth and kindness, desirable personality, one specific trait of the other person, and reciprocal liking. In the first study, Sprecher (1998) asked college students to reflect either on the initial stages of a relationship or the current stages of a relationship between a close friend or romantic partner. Results indicated that proximity and physical attractiveness were more important predictors for initial attraction than current attraction, while familiarity was more important for current attraction than initial attraction. Additionally, physical attractiveness, ambition, intelligence/competence, and reciprocal liking were determined to be more important in romantic relationships than platonic friendships. In the second study, in order to determine if the respondents’ perception of initial attraction were distorted, Sprecher (1998) surveyed students who were currently in the initial stages of becoming attracted to either a potential romantic partner or a potential close friend. She found that there were no significant differences between the two studies for predictors of initial attraction. In the third study, college students were randomly assigned to a group in which they were instructed to choose a same-gender close friend, opposite-gender close friend, or romantic partner. The results illustrated that four different factors vary depending on type of relationship—physical attractiveness, intelligence/competence, money/earning potential, and similarity of interests and leisure activities. Physical attractiveness, intelligence, and money/earning potential were all found to be more important in romantic relationships than the two types of friendship, while similarity of interests and leisure activities were more important in same-gender friendships than in opposite-gender friendships and romantic relationships (Sprecher 1998).Spg65915 (talk) 18:08, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Though Sprecher (1998) discovered four predictors for initial attraction in platonic relationships, Duck (1994) discovered that opposite-sex platonic attraction, varies for men and women. Women tend to be attracted to male friends based mainly on the quality of communication followed by the perceived amount of similarity. Men, however, tend to be attracted to female friends on the basis of perceived similarity followed by physical attractiveness[25]. --Cae38509 (talk) 01:29, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

In addition to differences between same-gender and opposite-gender friendships, a study done by Blair and Holmberg (2006)[26] showed that there are significant differences between other-sex couples and same-sex couples in romantic relationships. From an online survey, they found that it was more likely for opposite-sex couples to have been introduced to each other by a family member or friend than same-sex couples. This suggests that even parents who support their child’s homosexual lifestyle are not as likely to become involved in the relationship initiation process. Accordingly, while same-sex couples are less likely to have met their significant other through a family member, they are more likely to have met via the Internet. Blair and Holmberg (2006) suggest one reason for this may be in the way homosexual participants post on online dating sites. Reportedly, they are more likely to be up-front about who they are looking for and what they want, while heterosexual individuals often still see online dating as taboo (Blair and Holmberg 2006).Spg65915 (talk) 18:20, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Another aspect of initial attraction emphasizes how a couple remembers their love to be at the beginning of the relationship. Grote and Frieze (1998)[27] looked at the perceived strength of various types of love at the beginning of relationships compared to current stages of the relationship. Grote and Frieze determined that overall couples perceive erotic love to be higher in the beginning of the relationship than at the current stages of the relationship. Additionally, perceptions of lucid love also decreased from recollections of initial attraction to current attraction. Also, for men, agapic love was found to be higher at the current stages of relationship than at the beginning stages (Grote and Frieze 1998). Spg65915 (talk) 18:08, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Sprecher et al. (2008)[28] says the following, “Before relationships can reach the development, maintenance, and dissolution stages—and before partners can experience love, commitment, sex, and disenchantment—two people must meet, communicate for the first time, and begin to define themselves as being in a relationship”. It is for that reason that the above research is of such importance. Initial attraction serves as a basis for all other types of attraction, which also means it plays a vital role in further research to be done on both initial attraction and maintenance and dissolution of attraction.Spg65915 (talk) 19:17, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Close Relationships and Love[edit]

Defining Love[edit]

Reis (2008)[29] defined love as entering and maintaining a relationship with another person. Love is not a simple feeling, and assuming that it is can lead to misunderstanding in a relationship[30].

Sternberg’s (1986)[31] triangular theory of love proposes that three key components are involved, intimacy, passion and decision/commitment. According to Sternberg, the amount of love, and the kind of love one experiences, depends on the relative balance of the three components of the triangular theory of love. The intimacy concept refers to the feelings of closeness in loving relationships. It includes feelings of high regard for a loved one, receipt of emotional support from the loved one, amongst other feelings. Intimacy usually plays a moderate part in short-term relationships, but typically plays a large part in long-term relationships. The passion concept refers to the drive that leads to romance and physical attractions. Sexual needs may be the leading force in this experience in a loving relationship. But, there are also other needs that may also contribute to the experience of passion such as self-esteem and nurturance. Passion tends to play a large part in romantic, short-term relationships, and it typically plays a moderate role in long-term relationships in which its role may even decline over time. The decision/commitment component refers to the decision to love someone and to maintain that love in the long term. This component has two parts, a short-term and a long-term. The decision component is the short-term, such as deciding when to love another person. Maintaining the love for another is the long-term commitment component. These two parts do not necessarily have to go together. Deciding to love another does not ultimately mean commitment. Decision/commitment plays a large part in close, long-term relationships, and it may hardly play any role at all in short-term relationships.

There are many different types of relationships, ranging from non-love to consummate love, but the intimacy component appears to be the core of many loving relationships. The passion component tends to be limited to certain types of loving relationships, especially the romantic relationships, and the decision/commitment component varies across different types of relationships. Commitment tends to be high in love for one’s children, and lower in one’s love for friends that come and go throughout a lifetime. Ackerman, Griskevicius and Li (2011)[32] state when it comes to gender differences, women are more interested in expressing love and commitment than men are. Despite the gender stereotypes, men are becoming more likely to hold certain romantic beliefs, like that of marrying for love.

Sternberg identifies eight possible subsets of love that differ in the loving experience. He lists them as non-love, liking, infatuated love, empty love, romantic love, companionate love, fatuous love, and consummate love. Non-love does not include any of the three components of love. A large majority of our personal relationships that do not engage in love will fall into this subset. Liking is comprised of only the intimacy component. Liking is used in a nontrivial sense, and is not merely used to describe feelings towards casual acquaintances. Instead it refers to the feelings that can be used to characterize true friendships. Liking can be feeling emotional close to someone, without arousing feelings of love. Infatuated love is commonly referred to as “love at first sight.” Passion is the only component that makes us infatuated love. Infatuation can be characterized by a increased heartbeat and increased hormonal secretions. Empty love is the absence of intimacy and passion, but includes the decision and commitment to love another. This type of love can often happen in relationships that have been going on for years that have lost the physical and emotional attraction. While to some empty love can be the signal of the end point in a relationship, in some cultures it can be only the beginning. In cultures with arranged marriages, partners may start with the commitment to each other, or may even try to love each other, and not much more. Romantic love is a combination of intimacy and passion. Romantic love between two people means they are not only draw physically to one another, but they are also emotionally bonded. Companionate love is comprised of the decision/commitment and intimacy components of love. This love is similar to that of a long-term, committed friendship, the type that frequently occurs in marriages where the physical attraction has died down. Fatuous love is the absence of the intimacy component, but the presence of the decision/commitment and passion components. Fatuous love can resemble whirlwind relationships where a couple has recently met, and is engaged and married, within a short time after. Consummate love is the complete love that has all three components, intimacy, passion and decision/commitment. This is the type of love that most people strive for. Depending on the relationship and the situation, consummate love can be either easy or difficult to form and maintain.[33]Mnn89025 (talk) 08:01, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Cultural Variations in the Conception of Love[edit]

Much research has been done concerning cultural variations in the expression of love and the beliefs about love. Kline, Horton, and Zhang (2008)[34] conducted research comparing American and East Asian college students. Their research indicated that there are some definite differences, as well as some similarities, between the cultures. The results indicated that Americans considered love to be an essential and unconditional requirement for marriage, whereas Asian students tended to regard trust, caring, respect, and work put into the relationship as the most important elements for marriage. The expressions of love within marriages and friendships were very similar for the two cultures. This research suggests that while there are some cultural variations in beliefs and expressions, not all cultures are widely different in regards to love. Research done by Seki, Matsumoto, and Imahori (2002)[35] examined the ideas and expressions of intimacy in the United States and Japan. The results of their surveys indicated that Americans placed greater importance on physical contact as it relates to intimacy than did the Japanese. However, the Japanese rated psychological items and emotions such as "appreciation" and "bond" as more important. Taken together, these studies suggest that cultural variations with regard to love exist between Americans and Asians, as well as some some similarities in expressions of love and intimacy among different cultures. Ecs38765 (talk) 04:40, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

The methods that people use to communicate and express feelings of love to specific people vary on a cultural basis. Research conducted by Gareis and Wilkins (2011)[36] investigated potential differences between expression of love in the United States and Germany. The results of the study indicated that frequency of expression of love to specific people is identical for Americans and Germans; that is, most love expression occurs between lovers, then between spouses, followed by parents to children, grandparents to grandchildren, children to parents, grandchildren to grandparents, between friends, between siblings, between cousins, and finally between acquaintances. However, the results also indicated that verbal expression of love occurs more often in the United States. This result may be related to the fact that the German language has several distinct words to express different kinds of love, liking, and affection, whereas English predominantly uses one word, “love," for a multitude of situations. The researchers discuss that Germans may report fewer instances of saying “I love you” because they have specific, formal situations where it is appropriate (generally involving a romantic partner), and they use other phrases for other situations. This study supports the idea that different cultures have varied ways of expressing love, although the emotions may be very similar or the same among different cultures. Ecs38765 (talk) 19:43, 1 December 2011 (UTC)

Cultural Shifts Regarding the Importance of Love[edit]

Notions of love, how it should be expressed, and how it should be incorporated into relationships can also vary over time within one culture. For instance, Simpson, Campbell, and Berscheid (1986)[37] found that the association between romantic love and marriage has changed significantly in the United States since the 1960s. Kephart (1967) asked college men and women about their views on love and marriage. The main question was "If a boy (girl) had all the other qualities that you desired, would you marry this person if you were not in love with him (her)?". Kephart found that, while 64.6% of males responded "no," only 24.3% of females responded "no." Based on the results, Kephart suggested that this gender discrepancy could be due to societal expectations and females' practical considerations for economic stability and family background. However, when the same question was asked of college men and women in 1976, 86.2% of males and 80.0% of females responded "no," indicating that a shift had occurred in the culture. Likewise, in 1984, the results were 85.6% and 84.9% for men and women, respectively. This further supports the idea that a cultural shift occurred that influenced the growing association of love and marriage. Today, most people in the United States consider the two concepts to be linked, and believe that love is necessary for marriage. Simpson et al. (1986) suggested that societal changes such as social, economic, and legal rights for women, as well as less pressure to marry at a young age could have affected the changes in opinion for both males and females. This long-term research indicates that ideas about love are not necessarily static, and can vary within a culture as well as across cultures. Ecs38765 (talk) 18:06, 4 December 2011 (UTC)

Evolutionary Theory of Mate Selection[edit]

Mate Selection[edit]

Human beings, as members of the animal kingdom, have evolved an inclination toward selecting certain traits in mates of the opposite sex. The presence of these traits is meant to secure long-term physical safety, ensure a high chance of a successful birth (passing on an individual's genes), and provide opportunities for succeeding within a particular society or culture. Love, sex, and romance are inherently strategic, and we never choose a mate at random.

The ways we choose our mates and pursue sexual goals have evolved to maximize success. In general, there are two main categories of traits we evaluate when searching for a mate: physical characteristics and non-physical characteristics (Buss, 2003).[38]

Non-physical traits (e.g. loyalty and kindness) in possible mates are oftentimes much more difficult to identify, but they are just as important as physical traits. In women's preference of men, status and economic wealth, as well as an aptitude to share that wealth are of paramount importance. In our evolution, the women who chose mates with the most resources and highest ranks had the most for themselves and were able to share the most with their children. Generosity is also important, as women must be sure that their male counterparts will be willing to share what they have and pass on the power they control to their children. Not only are current possessions important, but women also have a high value for traits such as ambition, intelligence, social networking skills, and industriousness, all characteristics that will help a man acquire resources in the future. Finally, females value commitment and dependability in a mate. Women want their mates to be exclusive with them, ensuring that she will receive all of his resources and efforts (Buss, 2003). Concerning men, the above characteristics are not nearly as important as the concepts of fidelity and chastity. Modern men, as well as our evolutionary ancestors, place a high value on these traits because they help ensure paternity. A man who wishes to "succeed" biologically by passing on his genes may enter a monogamous relationship with a woman, but he must also trust that she does not turn to other mates when he is not around (Furnham, 2009).[39]

With respect to a mate's physical traits, men and women again tend to vary in their preferences. In a broad sense, women are concerned with characteristics related to size and health, while men are more interested with traits surrounding youth. Women prefer men who are tall and strong, as they are more able to physically protect her from threats, as well as being more adept to gain resources and hunt. Men like plump lips, clear skin, luscious hair, and muscle tone, all attributes that suggest that a woman is young and sexually fertile. Beyond those, men are also very concerned with female body shape. Studies have shown that men have an ability to subconsciously judge waist-to-hip ratio in possible mates, with the ideal range being .7-.8 (Singh, 2011).[40] There are also a couple of physical characteristics that men and women seem to agree on when it comes to mate selection. The two main examples are visible health and body and face symmetry. If a mate appears lively and shows signs of energy and well-being, then they have a better chance of being around in the future and helping the family survive. Therefore, a visible lack of blemishes or a smooth and energetic gait can be seen as attractive physical cues to a prospective mate. Finally, facial and bodily symmetry have evolved as attractive physical traits for both sexes. Symmetry suggests a lack of biological defect, and also suggests that a person has developed correctly (Burriss, 2009).[41]

Adamdilla (talk) 18:14, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Obtaining A Mate[edit]

There is more to obtaining a mate than identifying who has the characteristics one desires in a mate. It is also dependent on a variety of situational factors. When the number of potential partners increases, the variety of selection can be overwhelming [42]. Often this can lead to a burdensome supply of information and slow, regretted, or poor choices. Research supports that individuals can become overloaded during the task of memory storage and attention span, contrasting and ranking the different options, resulting in less assurance in decision-making [43]. In a study of speed dating and partner selection, women who were asked to choose among sixty-four profiles used heuristic strategies to select a man more often. In contrast,women who viewed only four profiles used more thorough and comprehensive selection tactics [44]. The mere number of choices can affect how potential mates are assessed, quickly and on a shallower level, or meticulously and considering many facets of the potential mates.

The matching hypothesis is the tendency for humans to select a mate that is approximately equal to their own physical attractiveness [45]. For example, a man of average physical appeal will be more likely to enter into a relationship with a woman of average physical appeal. Though there is sufficient evidence to support this theory, the matching phenomenon assumes that the assessment of one's own beauty is accurate. This can be false due to fear of rejection, depression, social anxiety, and other forms of low self-esteem [46] [47]. As compared to equally attractive but non-socially anxious individuals, socially anxious persons believe themselves to be less appealing to the most physically attractive people and therefore are more likely to pursue relationships with less physically attractive partners [48]. Thus, the selection of a mate is determined not only by the attractiveness of a potential partner but also the perception of one's own level of physical beauty and whether others will find them desirable.

Another situational factor is urgency. Mate urgency is the preoccupation in finding and obtaining a permanent mate. Women especially experience a high sense of mate urgency and often manipulate their physical appearance to appear more attractive in order to find a mate more quickly. In a study by Sanchez, Good, Kwang, and Saltzman (2008), young and unmarried males and females with the desire to get married answered a survey regarding their relationship contingencies, meaning the amount of self-esteem an individual determined from a romantic relationship. [49]. This survey included questions such as "I feel worthwhile when I have a significant other," "When I do not have a significant other, I feel badly about myself," and "Sometimes I worry that I am running out of time to start a family." This research found that a greater sense of mate urgency in both men and women was correlated with high levels of body shame. In men, higher mate urgency also predicted higher levels of concern for the their mate's physical attractiveness. Males and females showed equal levels of relationship contingency. Other psychological studies suggest a correlation between low self-esteem individuals engaging in relationships with partners who are critical of their appearance. This research could suggest that relationship contingency with body shame contributes to dependency on a mate who finds faults in their partner. Thus, obtaining a mate is affected by the sense of urgency in finding a mate, relationship contingency of the individual, and the level of body shame or perception of one's body.

MMcConaty (talk) 20:41, 15 December 2011 (UTC)MMcConaty (talk) 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Mating Systems[edit]

Sexual Selection Theory[edit]

This theory was first brought to our attention by Charles Darwin and was then expanded upon by R.A. Fisher. It is now referred to as the Darwin-Fisher Theory. The theory explains the biological reasons for our mate selection through Darwin's research with birds. The theory suggest that a monogamous male bird would have subtle mating signals and the female bird would have specific mating preference for the subtle mating signals. These female birds also tend to breed earlier and also have a higher birth success rate. Thus, these male birds have a better chance at getting sexually selected by these early breeding female birds.The product of this type of mate selection has a higher rate of survival, because the female bird is looking for good strong traits from her partner to pass on to her offspring. This also gives it a great chance of evolving. [50]

Putting that into human terms, humans have evolved into being monogamous creatures for biological reasons. Humans need to know that their child belongs to them and they cannot do that if they have multiple partners and their mate has multiple partners.[51] Men and women are also attracted to mates that are symmetrical and are assertive, because this will give their offspring a better chance of being healthy. This is a lot like the birds that mate with females with higher birthrates. When it comes down to it, mating selection is about who can benefit the child to keep the species going, because those are the mates that will be chosen.[52]

Monogamous Mating Systems[edit]

There is a natural system within a species for how one will chose a mate. The natural selection of mates can be similar to all of those within a species, but it can also be vastly different. In the case of humans there is evidence that we have the same type of mating system within our species. We have what is called a "monogamous mating system". However, our close cousins Bonobo Monkey's do not have a monogamous mating system. Thus, we can study the difference of mate selection between closely related species. They have a polygamous mating system, because they have sex roughly every fourteen seconds with either male or female partners.[53] Some societies do find polygamy to be acceptable, but most societies are in favor of monogamy. We are more likely to have a monogamous mating system, because humans have prolonged childhoods and for an average normal childhood you create close relationships with extended family that give us examples of monogamy.[54] We also have our own nuclear family where primates, such as Bonobo monkeys, do not have the sense of a nuclear family because they have multiple mates.[55] As we grow up we begin to form our own romantic pair-bonds and begin to search out other mates that have advantageous characteristics and genes in hopes that they will fit our monogamous mating system and pass their genes onto our offspring. The monogamous relationship for humans has evolved over time. Males started off as very promiscuous, however, this was not beneficial for females or their children, because the males were not involved in their child's life or well being. To get males involved in their children's lives a sense of family and ownership needed to evolve. A problem with not having a sense of family was predators were hunting humans.

As humans, we did not start off on the top of the food chain. We were the prey to wild hyenas, large cats and other dangerous animals. Women with newborns were the most vulnerable targets. Males had to learn to adapt and become monogamous to protect women and their species by caring the babies to safety, but men would not feel the need to do this if they did not feel any connection to the infant. If a male has many partners then he has no way of telling which child is his and results in no concern for the expansion of their species. It is very important to males that their offspring is their's and only theres. Thus, the nuclear family emerges.[56] The idea of only protecting your own children is also seen in lions. When a new male lion takes over a pride he will kill all of the cubs unless he has had sexual relations with a lioness in that tribe, because that cub could potentially be his. That is only one of the aspects as to why the nuclear family began. The nuclear family was not just important because of the protection of offspring, but also because males and females had something to offer the other.The male and females create a sex for food type of deal. Males offer protection, locate food, and carry their young. Females are better skilled with tools than males and can gather nuts and berries.[57] Females will begin to offer sex as a trade for her protector's goods and skills. Since a particular male is having sex with a particular female, remember it is very important he knows that the child is his, he will remain monogamous. The female will also remain faithful to keep getting protection for herself and her child. Where the Bonobos can mate whenever they see fit with a variety of partners and have no concern for the fraternal figure. Since males are so focused on the ownership of their children. Because of this need for ownership chastity has evolved into a large issue concerning human females. [58]

The taming of female sexuality and the privacy of your sexual life began to evolve in our human culture. However, the evolution of society has not matched well with the evolution of our bodies. If women were supposed to be chaste then biologically women would not have a sexual drive outside of ovulation and this period of ovulation would be made obvious to males. For example, the Bonobo females have large swellings to show males that they are ready to mate. It is not very often that a Bonobo's swelling is not signaling that she is willing to mate. Human brains have a chemical sex drive that is just as involuntary as the Bonobo's ours is just not made obvious.[59]

Mating Cycle[edit]
Physical Attraction[edit]

Steven Gangstad and his associates did the research to find out what females are attracted to and when they find these attributs most attractive. Females are fertile during the mid-point of their cycle and their preferences as to what attracts them to men change with each point of their menstrual cycle. Men who are symmetrical are more attractive to women during their fertile days. Just the scent of symmetrical men attracts the female population. They are also attracted to masculine men on their fertile days compared to the rest of their menstrual cycle. During their non fertile days women are attracted to men with feminine or softer features. This is because women are looking for men that will have advantageous contributions to their offspring. If the men they mate with are symmetrical and masculine then their children have a better chance of being symmetrical and masculine and have a better chance of being chosen to be someone else's mate. This also means that women are more likely to mate with these types of men when they are fertile even if they are not their primary partners, because these men are seen as "short-term partners." A short-term partner is someone that you will mate with, but will not stick around to have a relationship with. These are the types of mates that you just want to gain the beneficial attributes to create a healthy child. However, women that see men as "long-term partners" do not necessarily want those qualities in a male. Which is why the attraction to masculine and symmetrical men is temporary. A long-term partner is someone you would get involved with in a romantic relationship. This is someone you would consider committing to and this person would take care of your children, because they prove to be better at taking care of offspring compared to short-term partners.[60]

Behavioral Attraction[edit]

Women are also attracted by certain male behaviors. How they interact with women and even other men might be more important then how they look. Men who exhibit self-confidence and can stand up for themselves, but are also able to show warmth and agreeableness are found to be most attractive to women during their fertile periods. The idea that men are confident and can stand their ground has a connection in women's minds that they are masculine which makes them appear to have facial masculinity and developmental stability. They will be more likely to be selected as a mate, because all these characteristics are found to be beneficial genes that women want passed down to their offspring. Men who appear to have more masculine features also tend to control the room and social situation and tend to use more direct intrasexual competitive tactics which is attractive to women. However, those who have the appearance of less masculine and symmetrical features are more likely to be picked as "long-term mates." Those who look masculine are more likely to be picked as "short-term mates." This is because those who act and look masculine are less likely to be involved father figures than those who do not which is an obvious important factor for a mother.[61] BizHall (talk) 18:21, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Attachment Styles and Intimate Relationships[edit]

A Brief History of and an Introduction to Attachment Theory[edit]

Attachment theory is the idea that human beings can make strong affectionate bonds to others and can be used to explain emotional states during and when ending relationships. Freud was the first to hypothesize on attachment style and believed that attachment to others was based on how one could best fulfill one's own needs (food for infants, sex for adults). This idea was questioned by John Bowlby in the 1950s, dues to his observations of maternal care. Specifically, he noted that there is a connection between a child and his mother that does not involve the acquisition of food, and is present even when that purpose is not being fulfilled. Attachment behavior is evident in a person from the time they are born to the time they die. Attachment theory recognizes six key pieces to a person's specific attachment style. Specificity (1): attachment behavior is directed at a few specific people, with a clear preference. Duration (2): Attachment endures for the majority of the life cycle. This can sometimes change in adolescence, when new attachments may be made and may sometimes replace old ones. Engagement of Emotion (3): Forming an attachment is an extremely emotional experience. First one "falls in love," then maintains the bond by loving the other, and grieves when the bond is broken. The bond is an important source of security for those involved. Ontogeny (4): Whoever is the primary care giver during the child's first nine months of life is the person from whom the infants attachment behavior will be derived. The relationship will be at its strongest until the age of three, at which time a healthy child will start to pull away from the bond, at least slightly. Learning (5): Distinguishing the familiar from the strange. Organization: Sifting activities into things like fatigue, hunger, strangers and happiness or primary care giver. Finally, Biological Function (6): Occurs in a number of species.[62] To this date, there have been four types of attachment identified: secure, ambivalent, avoidant, and disorganized. Rachelk111 (talk) 05:31, 8 December 2011 (UTC)

Secure Attachment[edit]

Mikulincer, Shaver, Sapir-Lavid, and Avihou-Kanza (2009)[63] offer a clear discussion of three main propositions regarding secure attachment. As described by Ainsworth, Blehar, Waters, and Wall (1978),[64] secure attachment is developed from repeated experiences of searching for and finding support from a particular attachment figure, specifically a romantic partner. These experiences are rewarding and add to the person’s understanding of him or herself. Since the experiences are usually positive, the idea of the self improves and the person sees him or herself as having a greater value and higher distinction.These researchers offer that there are three major components to the secure attachment style. The first component explains that when someone who expresses a secure attachment style becomes stressed or encounters problems, he or she will rely on an attachment figure for help. He or she usually calmly attempts to solve the problem in a manner that does not derive extreme emotions or unwanted additional results. The second component of someone who is securely attached is his or her understanding that the relationship partner will be supportive and positive when needed. This understanding eliminates feelings or worry about rejection, criticism, and abuse. The last component of the secure attachment style is the belief that relying on this significant other will bring comfort. This reliance fosters a sense of safety and relaxation. This understanding of secure attachment has allowed for many other researchers to perform subsequent experiments regarding the effects of this attachment style. Blz86458 (talk) 01:21, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Hazan and Shaver (1978)[65]. were among the first psychologists to investigate the effects of attachment style on romantic relationships and love. Their study had several hypotheses which all intended to gain a greater understand of how, if at all, attachment styles affect romantic relationships. Their study first revealed that the three attachment styles (secure, anxious/ambivalent, and avoidant) occur just as frequently in adult life as in infancy. Given that infants with each of these different styles react differently to separation from their mothers, it was speculated that adults with these various types of attachment styles would experience their current relationships differently. Hazan and Shaver asked subjects to describe an important love experience in their lives. Securely attached subjects usually described an experience that was particularly happy, friendly, and trusting and tended to focus on acceptance of their partner despite imperfections. Perhaps most notable was Hazan and Shaver’s determination that individuals with different attachment styles actually experience different styles of love. This conclusion stems from the data that show differences in dimensions of relationships for all three styles of attachment. Secure subjects scored higher in the dimensions of friendship, trust, and happiness, and lower in fear of closeness than did anxious and avoidant subjects; in the dimensions of obsessive preoccupation and love at first sight, secure subjects scored lower than anxious/ambivalent subjects but scored higher in sexual attraction and desire for union and reciprocation; lastly secure subjects scored higher on the acceptance dimension than did avoidant subjects. In terms of romantic feelings, secure subjects most agreed with the idea that romantic feelings fluctuate during a relationship, but it is possible to have feelings later in the relationship that are as intense as they were at the beginning. Blz86458 (talk) 01:21, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Simpson (1990)[66] performed a study expanding on the work of Ainsworth et al. (1978).[67] Based on the understanding that children who are securely, anxiously, and avoidantly attached respond differently in terms of emotions when separated from their mothers, Simpson hypothesized that adults who exhibit different attachment styles will experience relationships differently in terms of emotion. Although his focus was on the experience of anxious and avoidant subjects, his study revealed much about securely attached individuals as well. Like Hazan and Shaver (1978),[68] Simpson's study suggested that all three attachment styles lead to different experiences and patterns of love and emotion within intimate, romantic relationships. The differences are found mainly in the qualities of the relationships of these subjects. Those subjects who displayed a secure attachment style were usually in relationships that had higher levels of independence, trust, satisfaction, and commitment. They also experienced positive emotions more frequently and negative emotions less frequently in their relationships than did those who displayed anxious or avoidant attachment styles. Blz86458 (talk) 01:21, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Ambivalent Attachment[edit]

Attachment styles are observed when a child is temporarily separated from their caregiver, and their reactions are assessed. According to Fuller and Fincham (1995),[69] children who develop an ambivalent attachment style (AAS) tend to have caregivers who are not sensitive to their need for security and physical proximity. These caregivers respond to ambivalent children inconsistently; sometimes the caregiver responds negatively by ignoring the child, and sometimes the caregiver displays positive responses by being a dependable source of security. As a result, ambivalent children usually seek closeness with their caregiver while simultaneously displaying discomfort and even anger in stressful situations (ex: clinging insistently while crying). Because the child’s distress signals are met with inconsistent responses, the child learns that negative emotions are ineffective in eliciting comfort, and tend to exaggerate negative emotions--especially with the attachment figure. AAS are characterized by infants being extremely aware and wary of threats in their relationship, such as illness or separation, which may potentially harm them. Ambivalent people are insecure, and want more intimacy than most people.

Maio et al. (2000)[70] states that once the ambivalent child creates an internal working model based on how their caregivers treated them, the child uses this model as a basis of defining themselves, and to interpret the goals and intentions of each person they are romantically involved with. Therefore, the internal working model regulates their attachment behavioral system, showing a stronger activation under conditions of high distress. When an ambivalent child's parent is cold, rejecting, unpredictable, frightening, or insensitive, the anxious-ambivalent child learns that others cannot be counted on for support and comfort, and he or she regulates their behavior to excessively demand attention and care. These working models of attachment continue to guide and shape relationships behavior throughout life. Internal working models are highly resistant to change because people prefer to integrate new information into their working model rather than accommodate to information that contradicts with their existing expectations. Therefore, infant attachment styles influence how people behave in their adult romantic relationships. [71]

This hypothesis is demonstrated in a study by McCarthy and Taylor (1999), in which women around the age of 35, who were known to have experienced poor parenting in childhood where given a questionnaire about whether or not they were sexually, physically, or emotionally abused, a Hazan and Shaver’s 1987 adult attachment questionnaire, and measures on three potential mediators, such as self-esteem. They found that when both child abuse and AAS were considered together, AAS, but not child abuse, self-esteem, or other relationship attributions, was found to be related to relationship problems. [72] So similar to Infant Attachment Styles, in romantic relationships, the partner is essentially the secure base/caregiver, who is a source of safety, comfort, and protection. Ambivalent adults want close relationships, but because they fear rejection, they seek extreme forms of intimacy to the point that they become very dependent on their partner, and respond to stressful situations within the relationship the same way they did as children in stressful situations. [73]

Ambivalent adults experience more negative affect in their relationships than securely attached adults. Negative affects include extreme jealousy and sexual attraction, obsession, desire for their partner to reciprocate their feelings, and to be united with their partner. [74] Ambivalent adults develop models of themselves as being misunderstood and underappreciated, while simultaneously idealizing their significant other. They long for committed relationships, and because they are wary of threats, they often view their partners as unreliable and unwilling to commit to permanent relationships if they show slight tendencies of disinterest. AAS are usually correlated with mania love, which is known as the possessive, dependent love. The mania love style is negatively correlated with most positive relationship characteristics, except for passion.[75] This explains why ambivalent adults tend to have higher rates of divorce. Ambivalent adults lack quality communication compared to secure adults, and tend to be selective in what they want to see or hear. Because conversations about major issues arouse feelings of anger and hostility, ambivalent adults may try to control or bottle up emotions such as anger to avoid placing the relationship at risk. [76]

Lok04457 (talk) 23:02, 7 December 2011 (UTC)

Avoidant Attachment[edit]


Hazan and Shaver (1987) tested the attachment styles model developed by Bowlby, Ainsworth, and others later in life and found results similar to the original study. [77] The avoidant attachment style is characterized by a fear of intimacy and feelings that true love is rare to find; only 25% of the population categorize themselves as the avoidant attachment style.[78] Currently, there are no sex differences in attachment style affiliation, even though the avoidant attachment style seems expected of men where the anxious-ambivalent attachment style seems expected of women.


Those who consider themselves to have an avoidant attachment style reported higher levels of mistrust of and distance from others, more fear of intimacy, emotional highs and lows, and higher levels of jealousy.[79] In addition, the avoidant group was more likely to report never having been in love, having less intense love experiences, and not being in love at the time of the study.[80]. Though the avoidant group had relationships that did not last as long as the secure group, the anxious-ambivalent category had the shortest relationships of the three attachment styles. [81] In self-report measures, avoidant subjects scored the highest on the "Avoidance of Intimacy Scale", making this a main characteristic of the attachment style, and were significantly lower in self-esteem measures than the secure group.[82]. Different attachment styles may affect how a person views love, including the costs and rewards of relationships, which may make relationships a reflection of the views held. The people in the avoidant category had lower scores on the "Loving and Romantic Love Ideal scales" and the "Avoidance of Intimacy scale", with the biggest characteristic of this category being their avoidance of intimacy in romantic relationships.[83]. People that scored high in attachment avoidance rated their confidence in their partner’s acceptance and love more positively after they heard their partner describe how they perceived the avoidant person as superior in some aspects; this suggests that people with an avoidant attachment style may need reasons for why their partner loves them, and suggests that they often do not feel like they can offer as much as their partner in the relationship [84]. "Ludus" style of love, or "game-playing" love was the highest-scored version of love for those in the avoidant attachment style, indicating that these people may avoid intimacy in any one relationship by engaging in a more superficial subtype of love.[85]. In addition, those in the avoidant group were more likely to rate their mother as cold or rejecting, while the secure type was more likely to rate their relationship with both parents as warm or happy.[86]

Gfitz410 (talk) 04:39, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Disorganized Attachment[edit]

An infant shows disorganized attachment when they are unable to organize their attachment in a coherent manner. Main and Cassidy[87] came up with techniques to identify infants by performing an Ainsworth style separation experiment - in the original version of the experiment, the infant is separated and reunited with his mother twice. The infants are classified based on how they act during the reunion with their parent. Infants that could not be classified into one of the three main categories are called disorganized. This style, like the others, affects the child throughout his entire life, not just in infancy. Main and Cassidy showed this in their study on children both during infancy and at age 6. In Main and Cassidy's study, the child and mother entered a playroom and played for fifteen minutes. Then, a one hour separation ensued in which an experimenter played with the child and the mother underwent a AAI- adult attachment interview - and then returned to the playroom. The experimenters put no emphasis on the reunion to ensure that it would be as natural as possible. They then brought the same sample back after five years and allowed a different experimenter, unaware of the infant classifications, to reclassify the 6-year olds. They found that the infant classification and the 6 year classification matched up. Another interesting find was how an insecure-disorganized child interacted with the parent at 6 years of age. They either treated the parent in a manner resembling a spouse or a protective sexual partner, became depressed, or seemed fearful of the parent.

The adult attachment interview, the interview the mother had to undergo during the separation, was developed by Mary Main in order to classify adults into one of the four categories. The (AAI) explores autobiographical information, using the ability of the subject to access memories and their ability to organize them, in order to determine the subject's level of organization or disorganization. [88] The parents of the children with disorganized attachment often also exhibited disorganized attachment.

There is very little on how disorganized attachment as an infant manifests itself in the adult. Cassidy and Mohr claim that disorganized infants are the most likely of all the attachment categories to experience psychosocial difficulties later in life [89] Even fewer studies have been done on disorganized children and adolescence. Here again, Cassidy and Mohr have to hypothesize. They believe that disorganized children will become adults with low self-efficacy and inability to deal with new and complex problems. They are unable to soothe themselves because their parents were unable to teach them how to.

Rachelk111 (talk) 04:11, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Social Exchange Theory of Close Relationships[edit]

What is the Social Exchange Theory? Social Exchange Theory provides a framework for examining intimate relationships among individuals. The Social Exchange Theory considers relationships in the terms of the rewards and costs that partners obtain in a relationship or potential relationship. Rewards include the satisfaction and pleasures that a person receives in a relationship and can come in many different forms. Costs in this exchange include all actions that are unwanted and negative to the partner or the relationship as a whole. (Nakoenzy 2008) [90] EMH18259 (talk) 07:39, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Some examples of contributions to relationships that can be seen as rewards and costs are seen in the study of equity and satisfaction in intimate relationships by Van Yperen (1900). [91] Part of the study revealed what men and women saw to be the most important contributions that can be made in a relationships, as well as the most negative costs to a relationship. Men and women's rankings were quite similar. Overall, the results showed that the most positive contributions included commitment to the relationship, being sociable and pleasant to be with, leading and interesting and varied life, and taking care of children. The most negative contributions or costs to a relationship included being jealous, being addicted to tobacco and/or alcohol, and being unfaithful. These are some examples of what couples can weigh as they consider the costs and benefits, as well as contributions and outcomes, of a relationship. EMH18259 (talk) 08:56, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

Social Exchange Theory focuses on what makes a stable relationship versus an unstable relationship and what makes people want to be in relationship versus ending the relationship. People tend to stay in stable relationships versus un-stable relationships because stable relationships have benefits that outweigh the costs. Also, if a person is under the impression that they are currently in the best possible situation to satisfy their needs, they will not leave or terminate the relationship (1994).[92] The idea that there are no better alternatives, that is other partners or relationships that seem appealing, could be due to a person choosing not to seek out alternatives because they are satisfied with their current relationship; or a person is eager to find alternatives but has not found one to be satisfactory so they stay in their current relationship. This consideration of alternative relationships was defined and named the comparison level for alternatives by Thibaut and Kelley in 1959 (Floyd 1994). [93] EMH18259 (talk) 20:31, 16 December 2011 (UTC) Needless to say, staying in a relationship for the sake of being in a relationship typically does not yield positive results. Some people stay in relationships for fear of otherwise being alone if not in relationship with their current partner. Ehu47259 (talk) 13:37, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

A professor from Illinois State University wrote,"research on relationship development focuses on commitment as the outcome, with commitment defined as both a psychological attachment to the relationship and the intention to remain together as a couple," (600, Sprecher). [94] Most people seeking partners are in hopes to find a life-long partner at some point in their life. That being said, commitment is naturally a large component to consider when looking for a mate. Sprecher made the point to mention that both a physiological and intent to stay together are necessary for a long-term commitment. [95]This demonstrates that a relationship seeking long-term commitment requires a physical, mental, and emotional bond between the partners. Ehu47259 (talk) 13:37, 15 December 2011 (UTC)

Social Exchange Theory in terms of Relationships[edit]

In the past forty years, the concept of Social Exchange Theory has changed in terms of interpersonal attraction and the factors that contribute to it. In the past, relationships were viewed as a simple connection between individuals, and thus were all put in a broad category. This means that relationships between husbands and wives, children and parents, and coworkers were all studied using the same methods and ideology. Social Psychologists soon, however, found that the methods that were being employed at the time were not sufficient. In 1973, Rubin [96]produced research that suggested that relationships were significantly more complex than was previously believed. Furthermore, it was found that the differences between types of relationships (particularly close and casual) were so acute, that studying them together would leave gaps in each.

As the study of close and casual relationships became divergent, theories began to arise in each category. In close relationships, Murenstein (1970) [97] suggests that a process of “filtering” occurs. Social Exchange Theory is key in continuing relationships because it suggests that the costs and rewards of continuing said relationship is the determining factor in long-term relationships. This theory shows that people narrow down potential partners using a series of qualifications that become more specific as the relationship develops. In the initial stage, external attraction is the primary factor; individuals must be attracted to one another to proceed to the next step. Once a connection is formed, based on physical compatibility, attitudinal similarity and value consensus come into play. During this stage, each individual relies on his or her own personal character and values to determine progression. The final stage is interpersonal compatibility; the pair’s ability to function as a unit determines the progression to long-term commitment. It is in this stage that Social Exchange Theory comes into play. The costs and rewards of maintaining the relationship are assessed.

Another filtering theory, contributed by Levinger and Snoek (1972)[98], saw relationships as a gradual process that suggests that there are steps leading up to long term commitment. In the first stage, there is a unilateral awareness, meaning only one person is aware of the other. This is followed by formal contact: the dating stage. This stage is distinct from the next stage because it features formal dating practices. Couples make formal plans to see each other. This gradually transitions into “increasing levels of mutuality.” In this stage couples begin to think and live in terms of the unit. It is here that dating transitions into exclusivity: the shift from casual to close relationship is made. In this final stage the costs and rewards of maintaining a relationship are assessed. Berg and McQuinn (1986) [99] argue that there are precursors to the filtering processes, factors that are explained using Social Exchange Theory. These factors are individual character traits, one of great significance being a propensity for personal self-disclosure. This means that individuals who characteristically tend towards openness are more likely to be successful in relationships. Openness is synonymous with sharing or and ability to exchange.

Though Social Exchange Theory is only one aspect of functioning relationships, it defines how couples view the relationship. This leads to continuity. Berg and McQuinn acknowledge that proximity, similarity, and physical attraction are all also important, and that they influence the development of love. However, in terms of reciprocity and continuity, they found that Social Exchange was a defining factor in relationships. Successful couples displayed gradual progress coupled with optimism. Love is characteristically discovered early on in successful relationships, and grew through out the relationship. There is a significant awareness of give and take, and successful couples reported that there was equality in their exchange. Couples that were successful were also positive about their relationships and displayed high levels of relationship maintaining effort.Ravancharles (talk) 22:17, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Equity Theory of Close Relationships[edit]

Equity refers to the perceived balance in the partners' contributions and outcomes in the relationship [100].Ehu47259 (talk) 05:40, 14 December 2011 (UTC) Equity states that people are happiest in their relationship when they are getting exactly what they deserve from a relationship. No more, and no less. (Hatfield 2008) [101] EMH18259 (talk) 08:36, 11 December 2011 (UTC) The perception of equity or inequity turns out to be a very important factor in determining the quality of a relationship, fairness within relationships matter. There are many factors that contribute to relationship equality. Inequality in a relationship likely leads to dissatisfaction in the relationship. [102] Robinschlabs (talk) 19:45, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

There are two types of inequalities: underbenefiting and overbenefiting. An individual is underbenefited when they contribute more than their partner and receive less in return. On the other side of the coin the overbenefited individual contributes little but receives a great deal from their partner. Both of these inequalities are distressful and can put a major strain on a relationship. Individuals will experience distress differently depending on whether they are feeling underbenefited or overbenefited. An individual feeling underbenefited will often report feeling angry and taken advantage of, whereas individuals feeling overbenefited report feeling guilty and ashamed (Floyd and Wasner)[103]. In attempts to salvage a strained relationship, a partner may make alterations in their personal contributions to the relationship, they may approach their partner asking for changes in their contributions, or a partner may simply convince themselves that the inequity does not exist [104].Ehu47259 (talk) 13:48, 15 December 2011 (UTC) If equality cannot be restored by attempts to balance out contributions and rewards, a relationship will likely end. [105] Robinschlabs (talk) 19:45, 25 November 2011 (UTC)

Research demonstrates that those who are underbenefited experience the most distress, whereas relationships showing healthy equity are under the least amount of distress [106]. However, the overbenefited individual who feels they recieve too much support from their partner can also experience distress. Having a partner who is overly supportive can make an individual feel inferior or dependent and lower the individual's self-esteem. This idea is consistent with the esteem enhancement theory.[107] Robinschlabs (talk) 01:25, 1 December 2011 (UTC) Relationships that experience inequity are more likely to experience distress at higher and more severe levels. Some research suggests that people can be flawed in their tendencies to recognize inequities in their relationships possibly due to the idea that "love is blind" meaning that people do not want to find problems in their relationship if there are not available, attractive alternatives. Since people can be in somewhat of a denial, they may not feel distressed with the inequities in their relationship simply because they do not acknowledge that there are any inequities. Equality is important for relationship stability and well-being. [108].Ehu47259 (talk) 05:40, 14 December 2011 (UTC)

The degree to which equity matters in a relationship depends on the type of relationship one has. A communal relationship is one between friends or romantic partners in which one is deeply concerned about the other partner and their welfare is seen as a primary responsibility. In contrast, exchange relationships, as seen in acquaintances and coworkers, involve little concern for the others welfare, and more concern about receiving benefits equal to those being distributed to others. (Hatfield 2008) [109]

Psychologists acknowledge that relationships develop over time and go through many stages. As noted by Hatfield[110], the degree to which equity strongly matters changes over the course of the relationship in three main stages.

  • The Beginning of a Relationship
    • Hartfield says that dating is seen as a "marriage market" in which large considerations are given to equity in terms of physical attractiveness, the availability of the market, and in analyzing how rewarding and equitable these new relationships will be.
  • Intimate Relationships
    • Once the couple is in an intimate and committed relationship, the immediate rewards and costs of the relationship matter less. The couple transitions into a communal relationship and begin to care more about the personal welfare of their partner. In this stage it is harder to calculate the rewards and costs to each partner like a scoreboard.
  • The Ending of Relationship
    • As the relationship begins to deteriorate the partners may begin to ask themselves questions such as "What's in it for me?" and other questions of equity and fairness as they consider the value in their relationships. The analysis of how equal each person's contributions begins to come back into play as the partners determine if the relationship is still equitable and if each partner is still receiving balance of what they deserve. The partners reweigh the rewards and costs of a relationship and this determines is stability and the next step in the relationship.

(Hartfield 2008)[111]EMH18259 (talk) 09:31, 11 December 2011 (UTC)

Research by Grau and Doll (2003) [112] has shown that attachment styles can effect the way in which a person perceives equity or inequity in a relationship. Grau and Doll conducted a series of studies in order to observe this effect. In their studies people with secure attachment styles experienced a stronger sense of equity. People with secure attachment also give more and received more from the partners than people with other attachment styles. People with avoidant attachment styles perceived their relationships as mostly equitable, but there was much less exchange in the relationships than those with secure attachment styles. Avoidant individuals also tended to believe their partner contributed more to the relationship than themselves, causing them to be somewhat overbenefited. Individuals with anxious attachment styles perceived themselves as underbenefited. This could be due to the fact that anxious individuals focus on the inputs of their partner and perceive them to be less than what they deserve or less than what they themselves supply.Robinschlabs (talk) 04:26, 9 December 2011 (UTC)

Equity and Relationship Maintenance[edit]

When an individual performs relationship maintenance it is seen as an input and the maintenance performed by their partner is considered to be a reward. Relationship maintenance can be seen as changing behavior or performing acts to satisfy your partner. It is easy to see how relationship maintenance can be a factor in determining relationship equality. Dainton (2003) studied both married and dating couples, and found that more maintenance was done by couples in times of equity. This could be because couples in satisfying and fair relationships are more willing to put effort in to keep the relationship in the state that it is, if not make it more satisfying. Dainton found that positivity and integrated conflict management were more common in couples in states of equity. However, inequity increased the likelihood of more openness in a relationship. Openness can be considered a form of relationship maintenance. Openness can be seen as a reward for an underbenefitted individual because their partner is revealing themselves and that is important for any intimate relationship. [113] Robinschlabs (talk) 05:12, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Equity can be a predictor or relationship maintenance strategies. It is theorized that those in equitable relationships will exert more effort and be more willing to engage in relationship maintenance than those in inequitable relationships. If an individual feels their relationship is equitable they will work harder to keep that equity and therefore keep their relationship satisfying. Research on marital equity done by Canary and Stafford has shown that underbenefited individuals believe that maintenance behavior is less frequently exhibited by their spouse. They also found that the amount of maintenance performed in relationship was directly related to the wives' perceptions of satisfaction and equality. Not surprisingly, they found that openness and sharing activities were least likely to be performed by the underbenefited individual. Underbenefitted husbands were least likely to be positive, assuring, and help in shared tasks than husbands in equitable or overbenefitting marriages. [114]Robinschlabs (talk) 05:12, 5 December 2011 (UTC)

Equity is the balance of contributions and outcomes and perceived by individuals in a relationship [106] Equity theory maintains that people seek rewards in relationships and incidence of greatest rewards are found in equal relationships (Punyanunt-Carter, 2004)[115]. Underbenefiting and Overbenefiting can be looked at in terms of relationship maintenance. Stafford and Canary (1991)[116] suggested that maintenance is defined by five key behaviors: Positivity, Openness, Assurances, Networking, and Sharing tasks. In 2000, Canary and Zelley[117] found that conflict-management and advice were also significant. These strategies are utilized by couples to maintain and enhance relationships.

Positivity- A relational factor used by people when they communicate with their partners in a happy and supportive demeanor.

Openness- Focused communication the relationship.

Assurances- Words that emphasize the partners' commitment to the duration of the relationship.

Networking- Communication among family and friends

Sharing tasks- dividing chores and work

Conflict Management- how arguments and disagreements are handled

Advice- Guidance given to partner

These factors lead to two types of satisfaction: relational and communication. Relational satisfaction, as defined by Dainton, Stafford, and Canary, is "an individual's attitude toward the partner and the terms of the perceived quality of the relationship." Communication satisfaction is the fulfillment of expectations through various means.Ravancharles (talk) 21:26, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

Ending Intimate Relationships[edit]

Introduction; Pre- Break-up When it comes to the disintegrating of intimate relationships, one might be tempted to think that the effect of a “break up” is easily identified, or perhaps even simplistic. This; however, could not be further from the truth. In actuality, the effects of the “break up” are extremely complex, and difficult to distinguish. While some psychologists believe there to be specific components that define the break up others claim that only the pain felt by each member of the relationship defines its relevance. This abstract, and indefinable term makes the complicated connections of interpersonal relationships all the more cryptic, in that without it, one seems to say that the relationship had no value. In her book, Uncoupling; Turning Points in Intimate Relationships, author Diane Vaughan, defines marriage as The process by which two individuals re negotiate who they are with respect to each other and the world around them… The coupled identity they create is constantly reaffirmed; this continual public confirmation gives them a stable location in the social world and validates their identity. Whether a divorce of a marriage, or the breaking up of a relationship, dealing with the loss of a loved one is difficult in its own nature because it is coming to terms with the fact that you are, in fact, alone. Our modern day society typically defines us by the relationships around us, and the connections we make. This is why people feel a strong sense of abandonment when they are not included in a group, and why sometimes being broken up with compromises our self-worth. With regards to the dissolution of intimate relationships, it is clear that every issue is double-sided. Research suggests there are multiple steps that cause the eventual break-up, but exact numbers of these steps are indeterminable. What is vastly evident is that there is a sort of process. When a relationship that appears to be the utmost of perfection begins to experience some sort of trouble, it is clear that one, or perhaps both, of the members is experiencing a conflict of his or her own interests and the interests of his or her partner. This conflict ranges from a multitude of contexts including making future decisions, the decisions made thus far, and the personal dealings with day-to day discrepancies; all of which are provoking of some sort of cognitive dissonance. What eventually comes from these conflicts is a compromise of one’s beliefs. This will either be internalized, and later prove to have been destructive or externalized and cause destruction in some other form. Dr. Gene Walker, a psychology professor of Psychology of Separation and Loss at Creighton University described this phenomenon saying, “What seams to happen is people change, and with them, [their] relationship changes. As their relationship changes, it may become something unlike what it once was. People often seek ways to get a relationship back to “the way it once was” but what they fail to realize is that that is exactly what led them there.”

Vaughan, Diane. Uncoupling: Turning Points in Intimate Relationships. New York: Oxford UP, 1986. Print. African-American and Latina Inner-City Girls' Reports of Romantic and Sexual Development Journal of Social and Personal Relationships April 1, 2003 20: 221-238 So Far, So Good: Scripts for Romantic Relationship Development as Predictors of Relational Well-Being Journal of Social and Personal Relationships December 1, 2002 19: 777-796 Distance Regulation in Personal Relationships: The Development of a Conceptual Model and a Test of Representational Validity Journal of Social and Personal Relationships October 1, 2002 19: 663-683

Sel12522 (talk) 17:29, 16 December 2011 (UTC)

The Experience of Ending a Relationship[edit]

The Break Up Process[edit]

Research on the dissolution of relationships has consisted in research that has been cross-sectionl in design, examined from different trajectories of disengagement, stages of dissolution and on analyzing the impact of rewards, costs, investment and alternative parters. J. Simpson (1987) [118]performed an experiment on two hundred University of Minnesota undergraduates. Participatns responded to three items on a 7-point scales where 1= very unsatisfactory and 7= very satisfactory. After a three month period, the participants were called back to see how many couples were still together and from there measured their satisfaction with their partner. Over 128 participants were still together out of the original 234 (54.7%). What they found was that there were five factors that were common in those who were still together: satisfaction with the relationship, length of the relationship, sexual nature of the relationship, exclusivity of the relationship, and orientation to sexual relations. All of these results can lead to a stable relationship. In fact 90% of the participants in this study went on to marry each other. When one or more of these components are amiss it can lead to emotional stress which could lead to a break up. It create stress because a relationship reflects a large input of investment which can create dissonance towards that person. Because the extent of emotional distress is thought to depend on the absolute number of events experienced when a relationship dissolutes, duration and closeness can forecasts distress leading to a dissolution.

The belonging hypothesis states that all people should be at least as reluctant to break social bonds as eager as they are to form them. [119] The overall process of ending a relationship favors the conclusion that people strongly and generally want to resist the dissolution of a social bond since separation is generally associated with negative emotions where as the goal of life is to be happy. Relationships can foster a lot of happiness, therefore the dissolution of it is one many people don’t like to experience. There have been several models that have proposed to explain the process of dissolution. One famous model proposed by Steve Duck (1982)[120] suggests that the dissolution of relationships is an extended process composed of several different parts, which might be either consecutive or compounded. In this approach, the breakup of a relationship is not simply an event that just occurs between the two partners. Rather, dissolution is a long-term psychological process involving internal reflection, discussion with a partner, discussion with third party groups, and the creation and retelling of personally pleasing stories about the relationship from the beginning to end.

1. Intrapsychic Phase[edit]

This process starts with an individual understanding that the relationship is not pleasing in some way. The main point of this stage is mostly to vent and understand why they the feeling of dissatisfaction is felt. Dissatisfaction can stem from multiple sources such as the person’s habits, the feeling of being trapped in a relationship, a feeling of hopelessness of the relationship ever rekindling or a feeling that there is no equality in the distribution of duties. L. Lee confirms in his own study on dissolution that dissatisfaction is the first step where one or both parties grows dissatisfied with the relationship.[121] The person in this stage only feels a sense of injustice. The idea here is that if the person does not reflect on a deeper level their current dissatisfaction during the intrapsychic phase and express some form of grief, then the person moves to the second phase. [122]

2. Dyadic Phase [edit]

This process emerges after the intrapsychic phase and deals primarily with the couple confronting each other over with the dissatisfaction experienced by either the breaker or both partners. During this stage, the discussion can either be constructive in that it could lead to reconciliation in the relationship or destructive, which leads to progression in the dissolution. Lee describes this phase in his own terms as the exposure stage where the problems are brought into the open.[123] Since this is where most verbalization will occur, there could be repeated complaints to that partner over a long time or perhaps a new cognition of new concerns.[124] This can be a shock to the breakee but in any case, it is more than likely that each person will have his or her own view of the relationship and will be challenged to negotiate the relationship by either defending it or to continue with the dissolution. This is what Lee refers to as the negotiation stage where both parties will discuss their problem.[125] This will lead to the fourth step called the "Resolution Attempts stage" where both partners attempt to solve the problem. One person may be determined to leave and proceed to do so, or if the verbalization leads to constructive progression, both may want to try the relationship again. [126] If they don’t reconstitute, they proceed to the next stage. With each step down Duck’s ladder of dissolution the relationship becomes harder and harder to reconcile.

3. Social Phase[edit]

The next phase is the Social Phase, so-called because it involves considering the social implications of the relationship's dissolution. This state of the relationship is where other people whose lives intertwine with the couple or one of its members become involved. When it is publically known, those friends will usually not remain neutral but tend to comment on the relationship and the way it was conducted and create possible conclusions for the couple. Such accounting, advice, and comparison go on throughout a relationship, not only when it is in trouble, but is particularly important when a relationship fails. At this point, the breakdown is no longer between the couple and has now becomes a social event thereby making the dissolution “legitimate.” At this point as the relationship dissolves, it creates a psychological stress on one or both members, members of the network and (if applicable) children. Rarely does a relationship end that has no consequences on anyone else. Unless the intervention teams are successful, the next threshold is when the relationship's dissolution becomes inevitable.

4. Grave-Dressing Phase[edit]

The final stage is the Grave-Dressing Phase. This is where the break up is now inevitable. This is what Lee would call the “Termination Stage” where if the resolution attempt is unsuccessful, the relationship is terminated.[127] An important feature of the breakup of relationships is the need for people to engage in their own post-mortem analysis about the relationship and its death.[128] Since both parties know that is inevitable, for many reasons the only two options are deciding to remain friends or not. For multiple reasons, people need to justify with others their decision to terminate the relationship, so they cast themselves in a positive light. Storytelling is important for those people who wish to negotiate the possibility of remaining as friends with the past ex. It is important that people are not perceived as having negative characteristics that will affect other future relationships. Akert (1992)[129] and others found that if the broken couple wants to have any form of reconciliation in remaining as friends, it is more likely to happen if the breakup is perceived as a mutual dissolution.   MKS86588 (talk) 22:09, 12 December 2011 (UTC)


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