Lecture 1: The Why & How of Relationship Science Flashcards Preview

PSY424H1S: Social Psychology of Relationships with C. Midgley > Lecture 1: The Why & How of Relationship Science > Flashcards

Flashcards in Lecture 1: The Why & How of Relationship Science Deck (41)
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1

Why does survival tend to be higher when people form groups?

  • Access to resources
  • Division of labour
  • Assistance for the weak
  • Resolve to stay alive
    • Family members have someone else encouraging them to make it; a reason to go one step further
  • The importance of having direct social contact can’t be underestimated
    • Even in modern times, the number of healthy social ties you have can be an even greater predictor of health than physical factors

2

For humans, is it “survival of the fittest,” as with other animals?

  • It tends to be survival of the most social!
    • Humans who are better at keeping people around them are more likely to survive in the wilderness/hunt large game, etc.
  • We’ve evolved to be creatures that are good at maintaining social bonds & sense that it’s important for our survival
  • While we don’t technically need other people to survive anymore, social relationships are “written into our DNA” in a sense
    • It’s no longer a matter of life and death, but we experience it as if it were

3

What is the need to belong (Baumeister & Leary, 1995)?

A drive to establish and maintain close relationships/social contact with people you feel connected to

4

What are the 4 requirements for social bonds to be considered a “need” (Baumeister & Leary, 1995)?

  1. Naturally motivated to pursue it (and avoid being deprived of it)
  2. Deprivation has consequences
    • e.g. With food, if you don’t have enough of it then you die — something equally dramatic should happen without social contact
  3. Can be satiated
  4. Should see it across all cultures

5

Are we naturally motivated to pursue social bonds?

  • Forming social bonds happens spontaneously
    • Babies form attachments to caregivers (before able to calculate benefits, be convinced of utility)
      • You don’t have to tell a baby that it should do this – they do it naturally
    • Minimal group situations: People show in-group favouritism even when group membership is randomly assigned (e.g. Robber’s Cave Experiment)
  • There’s research that shows this is true even under adverse conditions (i.e. not just classical conditioning)
    • Participants who experienced electric shock together liked each other more than controls
    • More attachment among military veterans who experienced heavy combat
    • Readily cooperate with people who were recently rivals or are members of disliked group
  • We’re so good at it, that we
    • a) don’t need the other person to help
      • Parasocial relationships: one-sided relationships with personalities from the media
    • b) don’t even need it to be a person
      • Anthropomorphizing of pets and inanimate objects

6

Are we averse to being deprived of social bonds?

  • Yes, social bonds are hard to break and we don’t want others to break our bonds with them
    • Hard to end any relationship – even those that we elected to dissolved or wish to dissolve
      • Staying friends after breaking up, divorcing
      • Staying in toxic/abusive relationships
    • Has a little bit to do with concern for the other person, but it’s mostly because we’re programmed not to break social ties
  • People are reluctant to admit that even relatively meaningless relationships will end (or have ended)
    • Promising to maintain contact even when this is unlikely
      • e.g. Having hundreds of Facebook friends
      • “Why don’t you delete those friends?” – “What if I need to talk to them again?”
    • Many rituals even promote the maintenance of relatively weak social bonds
      • Christmas cards
      • High school, college reunions

7

Does being deprived of social bonds have negative consequences?

  • Lack of social connection is a strong predictor of mortality
    • Rivals predictors like smoking in terms of how much it contributes to someone’s death
    • i.e. In old age, someone who is lonely is at greater risk of dying than someone who regularly smokes
  • Other serious consequences of loneliness:
    • Poorer self-regulation, fewer health-promoting behaviours
    • Reduced sleep quality
    • Poorer physiological functioning (increased blood pressure, cortisol)
    • Lower immune system functioning
    • Cognitive impairment, psychological disorders

8

What health benefits do married couples see?

  • Happily married couples are healthier – psychologically and physically – than other groups (even non-married people in long-term relationships)
    • e.g. More than 3x likely to survive open-heart surgery
    • Extends to same-sex couples
  • Since Denmark started recognizing same-sex marriages, death rates for same-sex couples have dropped
    • i.e. Marriage added an extra layer of “protection” for these couples

9

Can our need to belong be satiated?

  • As an intimate relationship develops, people:
    • Spend less time with other people such as friends
    • Report lower desire for ex-partners
  • Dunbar’s number: proposed that 150 connections
    • Cognitive limit to the number of people one’s can have stable social relationships with
    • We don’t have an unlimited mental capacity/structure to keep track of an infinite number of people
  • If belongingness needs are thwarted:
    • Individuals are more attuned (than normal) to people displaying positive emotions
      • i.e. When we’re more lonely, we’re more on the lookout for potential connections, meaning we’re on the look-out for signs of friendliness
    • Help others more
      • Starting point to building trust/bonds with another person in order to start a friendship
  • Our need to belong varies from situation to situations (in accordance with how much belonging we feel we have)
    • Just like how we’re more/less hungry in certain situations

10

Is the need to belong universally seen across cultures?

  • Yes, although how much differs by person & situation
    • i.e. It’s not universal in the sense that everyone experiences the same need
  • People naturally form groups across cultures and experience distress when relationships end is universal
    • No evidence of cultures in which people seem happier, healthier when single (compared to when they have close relationships)
  • Across cultures, distinguish between close and less close others
    • No known cultures where there’s no hierarchy of relationships

11

What are the 7 ways that intimate relationships differ from more casual associations?

  1. Knowledge — personal, confidential
  2. Interdependence — the extent to which partners need and influence each other — is strong, frequent, diverse, and enduring
  3. Caring — feel more affection for one another than for most others
  4. Trust — expecting to be treated fairly and honorably
  5. Responsiveness — to needs and being concerned for welfare
  6. Mutuality — recognize their connection (thinking in “us” instead of “me” and “them”)
  7. Commitment — expect partnerships to continue indefinitely, invest time/effort/resources to pursue this goal

12

What are the 3 main sources of individual differences in intimate relationships?

  1. Interpersonal experiences — especially bonds with caregivers → attachment styles
    • Which is perhaps the most important factor
  2. Culture — economics, individualis, technology, sex ratios
  3. Biology — the role of sex and gender
    • Which may be a lot less important than people think it is

13

How can economics (culture) influence intimate relationships?

  • Societies which are more industrialized and affluent tend to tolerate more singles, divorces, and a later age of marriage
  • In general, socio economic development has been increasing around the world

14

How does individualism (culture) influence intimate relationships?

  • As we become more preoccupied with our own pleasures, we tend to be more materialistic, less trusting, and less concerned with others
  • Societies in which there is a more collective sense of self (e.g. Japan) tend to have lower divorce rates, compared to the USA

15

How does technology (culture) influence intimate relationships?

  • Women are increasingly able to control their fertility
  • An increase in technoference, the frequent interruptions of their interactions that are caused by their various technological device
    • And phubbing, when one partner snubs another by focusing on a phone

16

How does a country’s sex ratio (culture) influence intimate relationships?

  • Cultures with a high sex ratio (more men than women) tend to support more old-fashioned gender roles for men and women
  • Cultures with a low sex ratio (more women than men) tend to be less traditional and more permissive; e.g. seeking high-paying careers and extra-marital sexual relations

17

What is attachment?

  • An attachment bond is more than love/connectedness
    • i.e. Not just a positive, warm feeling towards someone
  • It’s an intimate emotional bond to a particular individual who is seen as providing protection, comfort, and support
    • Our first attachment figure is (usually) our caregiver
    • We learn about how attachment works from this person

18

What is John Bowlby’s attachment theory?

  • Conducted research on orphans
    • Infants who were separated from their caregivers were highly distressed
    • Often cried and clung onto caregivers in the orphanage, but always seemed to be searching
    • It’s not just about connection, but attachment with your caregiver
  • Theorized that we have an in-built attachment system which allows us to form bonds with others and leads us to become distressed if they are unavailable
    • Evolutionary function of the attachment system: keep caregivers close to infants
    • Infants cry in order to force the caregiver to come back to them – they can’t survive on their own

19

What are the 3 processes in Bowlby’s model of attachment?

  1. Proximity maintenance: Staying near and resisting separations from caregiver
  2. Safe haven: Turning to caregiver for comfort, support, and reassurance
  3. Secure base: Using caregiver as a base from which to engage in non-attachment behaviour (explore)

20

What did Bowlby suggest was the purpose of attachment?

  • An innate behavioral system
    • Behaviours that promote attachment to specific individuals who will care for and protect the vulnerable infant
    • Behavioral system is most activated when infant in danger or distress – goal is to get the caregiver to help them regulate emotional distress and restore felt security
  • (This is how it’s supposed to work theoretically, but there are a lot of individual differences)

21

What problems did Mary Ainsworth find in Bowlby’s attachment model?

  • Bowlby strong focused on developing normative aspects of attachment theory, but less so on individual differences
  • Normative processes—ideal situation—but, not all relationships develop in an ideal manner
  • Ainsworth was also concerned with whether children were attached, but more so with how they were attached

22

How can individual differences in attachment form?

  • Learn in early childhood what to expect from others
  • Based on our experiences, we develop general beliefs and expectations/working models about
    • Others: whether they will responsive to our needs
    • Self: whether we are worthy of love
  • These beliefs influence our thoughts, feelings and behavior in relationships

23

What is Ainsworth’s strange situation?

  • Infants and their caregiver entered an unfamiliar room containing lots of interesting toys
    • Infant plays with toys and a stranger walks in the room
    • Then, crucially the infant’s caregiver leaves the room
    • Separation causes infants to become distressed (most of the time)
    • After 3 minutes, caregiver returns
  • What happens when they return?
    • Responsive and sensitive caregiver → secure attachment (~60%)
      • Explores when CG is present and upset when CG leaves
      • Happy to see CG return; easily soothed, goes back to playing
    • Inconsistent caregiver → ambivalent attachment (~20%)
      • Clings to CG when present, extremely upset when CG leaves
      • Cannot be soothed when CG returns; mix of seeking and resisting comfort
    • Rejecting or hostile caregiver → avoidant attachment (~20%)
      • Explores when CG is present and slightly/not upset when CG leaves
      • Is distant and withdrawn, or ignores CG when they come back

24

How do the characteristics of the infant influence attachment styles?

  • Temperament
    • Attachment of parents matters most for infants with difficult or reactive temperaments because parents have more difficulty gauging how to appropriately respond to their infants in the future
    • Sensitivity matters important for shy infants (those who initiate interactions less)
    • Training for parents does actually help promote secure attachment
  • Susceptibility to environmental influences
    • For some people, it’s more/less nature vs. nurture, i.e. environment is more/less important for their development due to aspects of their biology (e.g. dandelion vs. orchid kids)

25

How does childhood attachment relate to adult attachment?

  • Attachment system appears to generalize beyond caregiver/infant relationships to close relationships in adulthood
  • With adults, we measure 2 dimensions of attachment
    • Avoidance of intimacy: affects the ease and trust with which they accept interdependent intimacy with others; tend to distrust others, value their independence, and keep their emotional distance
    • Anxiety about abandonment: the dread that others will find them unworthy and leave them; uneasy about being in an interdependent relationship due to possible mistreatment
  • Avoidance vs. abandonment are on a continuous scale from low to high
    • The biggest distinction is focussing on people who are secure and those who aren’t

26

How do we measure adult attachment?

  • Scales of low/high avoidance and anxiety form 4 different quadrants of attachment which people can fall into
    • These are theoretical orthogonal constructs; they’re independent of each other
    • Generally, you won’t find fearful-avoidant people because they’re fairly rare in the population
    • You also don’t usually find anxious-preoccupied people in studies because they’re not the type of people who’d voluntarily participate in psychology experiments about relationships
  • Most people tend to fall more in the middle of these scales, towards the secure side, rather than in the extremes of high/low

27

What is secure attachment (low anxiety and low avoidance)?

  • Working model of others: Positive
    • History of warm and responsive interactions with attachment figures
  • Working model of self: Positive
    • Believes self to be worthy of responsive caregiving
  • Learned that proximity seeking leads to support, protection, and relief of distress
    • Turn to others when distressed; believe distress is manageable
    • More stable and satisfying relationships

28

What is anxious-preoccupied attachment (high anxiety and low avoidance)?

  • Working model of others: Positive
    • History of inconsistent responsiveness from attachment figures; know others are capable of responsiveness
  • Working model of self: Negative
    • Blame self for others’ lack of responsiveness; doubt self-worth
  • Learned that others are capable of providing support, but are not sure when it will be provided or taken away
    • Hypervigilant about loss and rejection
    • When distressed, excessive reliance on others
      • Demanding of closeness, attention and approval
  • In relationships, are intrusive, demanding, and overly disclosing
    • Also have a particularly hard time getting over break-ups

29

What is dismissive-avoidant attachment (low anxiety and high avoidance)?

  • Working model of others: Negative
    • History of unresponsive or rejecting attachment figures
  • Working model of self: Positive
    • View themselves as self-sufficient
  • Learned that proximity seeking does NOT lead to support, protection and relief of distress
    • Avoid seeking support when distressed; instead, value self-reliance and independence
  • Relationships lack intimacy
    • Keep partners at a distance, averse to commitment
    • Report feeling a sense of relief after break-ups

30

What is fearful-avoidant attachment (high anxiety and high avoidance)?

  • Working model of others: Negative
    • History of neglect or abuse from attachment figures
  • Working model of self: Negative
    • Blame self for others’ lack of responsiveness; doubt self-worth
  • High anxiety: hypersensitive to potential hurt and rejection
  • High avoidance: withdraws when upset; avoidant coping
  • Relatively poor personal and social adjustment
    • Difficulty expressing feelings