History of relationships research
 Festinger, Schachter, & Bach, 1950
Newcomb, 1961
Byrne, 1961
Walster, Aronson, Abrahams, & Rottman, 1966
Dutton & Aron, 1974
 Love, Investment model
 Evolutionary psych
 “Real” relationships
People say that physical attraction isn’t that important, but
research shows that it is
Predictors of attraction (target)
Physical attractiveness (similar across
 Females: large lips, high cheekbones,
big eyes, small nose
 Men: strong jaw, big eyes, large smile
 Facial symmetry
“Averaged” faces are more
And it doesn’t just matter for
romantic relationships
Physically attractive children are punished
Physically attractive defendants get lighter
Plain people make 5-10% less than
average-looking people, who make about
4% less than very physically attractive
people (controlling for gender, education,
occupation, etc.)
Strong consensus across cultures
What is beautiful is good
stereotype (Snyder, Tanke, & Berscheid, 1978)
Physically attractive seen as more
Sexually warm
In US/Canada, also strong, assertive,
and dominant
 In S. Korea, also sensitive, honest,
empathic, trustworthy, generous
What else affects attraction?
Other target or perceiver or situation
What’s the story on
similarity vs.
Fertility effects on women
Women prefer the smell of symmetrical
and genetically dissimilar men when they
are ovulating (and similar men otherwise)
Women dress more fashionably
They buy sexier clothing
They make more money if they use
attractiveness to make money
They are attracted to more masculine men
(e.g., strong jaw, deep voice, tall)
They flirt more
Fertility effects on men
When a man’s partner is ovulating, he is
 More attentive
 More jealous
 Sees other men as more of a threat
Major theoretical approaches
Social exchange theory (Blau, 1964)
Equity theory (Walster, Walster, &
Berscheid, 1978)
Interdependence theory (Thibaut & Kelley,
Investment model (Rusbult, 1990)
Attachment theory (Hazan & Shaver, 1987)
Evolutionary psychology (Buss, Kenrick)
Communal vs. exchange relationships
More recent theories
Vulnerability-stress-adaptation model
(Karney & Bradbury)
 Diathesis-stress model (Simpson &
 Risk regulation model (Murray &
Investment Model (Rusbult)
Commitment (whether you stay in a
relationship) is predicted by
 Satisfaction
○ Rewards – costs
○ What you expect in a relationship (comparison
 Alternatives (comparison level for
 Investments
Investment model
Predicts 50-90% of commitment in
relationships of all types (dating,
marriage, domestic abuse, homosexual,
 Predicts willingness to accommodate
 Predicts when people will derogate
 How does it differ from equity?
Ainsworth “Strange Situation”
Secure, Avoidant, Anxious-ambivalent
Hazan & Shaver, 1987
Avoidance vs. Ambivalence as separate
Fearful avoidant
Dismissive avoidant
I find it relatively easy to get close to
others an am comfortable depending on
them and having them depend on me. I
don’t often worry about being
abandoned or about someone getting
too close.
I am somewhat uncomfortable being
close to others. I feel it difficult to trust
them completely, difficult to allow myself
to depend on them. I am nervous when
anyone gets close and often romantic
partners want me to be more intimate
than I feel comfortable being.
I find that others are reluctant to get as
close as I would like. I often worry that
my partner doesn’t really love me or
won’t stay with me. I want to merge
completely with another person, and this
desire sometimes scares people away.
More recent measures of
Adult Attachment Interview (George,
Kaplan, & Main, 1985)
 ECR-R (Fraley, Waller, & Brennan,
 List of measures
Attachment theory (Bowlby,
Hazen & Shaver, Feeney,
Our experiences with parents and later partners
can affect how we view relationships
 Views of others vs. views of self
 What is the problem with looking at these
 When does someone
become an attachment figure?
What is main point of
Attachment theory?
Diathesis-stress model (Simpson
& Rholes, 2012)
What characterizes secure vs. anxious vs.
avoidant adults?
Which threats activate which orientations?
Acute vs. chronic stressors
How does each orientation react to stress?
Figure 6.1
What moderates these effects?
Parenting studies
What are anxious and avoidant people
most worried about?
 What types of support do they need?
 Can attachment orientations change?
 How much is childhood experience and
how much is intimate partner exp?
 How do attachment styles interact?
 Do orientations differ by culture?
 Issues with this approach?
Cavallo, Murray, & Holmes, 2014
Commitment insurance system
Seek connection vs. avoid rejection
When does this model apply more?
Is trust a matter of the individual or his/her
Is self-esteem a good operationalization of
How do attachment styles relate to the
Why would this be a controlled process?
What is the “smart unconscious”?
Moderators of risk regulation
Whether immediate or distant (not tied to
certain relationship) threats
Chronic trust in the partner
Attachment anxiety
How do these factors relate to anxious vs.
avoidant attachment and their reactions?
How does this affect initiation of
If = ptr, then ptr committed
 Find similar mate value
 Maintain match
 Comparisons change commitment (lke
Swann study)
○ Doubt of self leads low SE to doubt ptr
○ High SE to think ptr loves them more
If exchange concerns, promote
 If ptr dependent, then = ptr
 If ptr committed, pursue connectedness
 Low SE responds to rejection w/ withdrawal
How different from attachment?
 Is low SE = anxious attachment? Avoidant
Similarities between theories
Cognitive dissonance and
 Risk regulation
 Attachment
 Investment
Three with each other
 What implications do the three have for
how to make a relationship work?
What predicts relationship
Individual factors
 Quality of interactions
 Circumstances
How to have a good relationship
Have surprise (Berscheid, 1983)
 Do novel, exciting activities (Aron)
 Make positive attributions
 Assume they love you and make them
feel loved (Murray)
 Remember the positive
 Think you’re better than other couples
 Be accurate but positive (Fletcher)
How interconnected are we?
Six degrees of Kevin Bacon
It also only takes about 6-7 steps to get to
another person in the same country by mail
 Or to anyone among the millions of people
on the internet (email study and Microsoft
messenger project)
So can the internet help you find
By 2005, 37% of single people who
used the internet used it to date online
(higher today)
 By 2007-2009, more relationships began
online than any other method other than
meeting through friends
What types of internet dating are
How would these differ in terms of
 communication
 matching?
Table 1
History of online dating
Walster et al. study from 1960s
 Project Cupid
 Early computer dating
 Video dating
 Match in 1995
 eHarmony in 2000
 Apps in 2008
Is there a stigma to online dating?
 Why or why not?
 Why has it become more popular?
Who uses it?
 What makes it different from other types
of relationship initiation processes?
 How well do matching algorithms work?
 Why is it difficult to test whether they
work? How would you do that?
 What is good/bad about CMC?
How would you make a better
online dating machine?
More deceptive ads
Use fewer “I” and “me”
 Use more negative phrases (e.g., “not
judgmental” instead of “open-minded”)
 Use fewer words overall
Speed dating
Who falls in love first?
 Who says it first?
 Who does hearing it make happiest?
 Who falls out of love faster?
 Who initiates more breakups?
 Who is more interested in staying
Gottman research
 4 horsemen of the apocalypse
 Contempt
 Stonewalling
 Defensiveness
 Criticism
Love (80s)
Rubin’s love scale
Companionate vs. passionate love (Berscheid &
Walster, 1978)
Sternberg’s triangular theory (intimacy, passion,
Love styles (Henrick & Henrick)
 eros, ludus, storge, mania, agape, pragma
Sternberg’s love as a theory (scripts)
How can love be best conceptualized?
Passionate vs. companionate
Passionate: intense longing with
arousal. I would feel deep despair if X
left me. My thoughts are often on X. I
would rather be with X than anyone
else. X always seems to be on my mind.
 Companionate love: intimacy and
affection. I have confidence in the
stability of my relationship with X. I am
committed to X. I expect my love for X to
last the rest of my life.
Sternberg’s triangular theory
Measurement issues, etc.
IOS (Aron)
 Experimental induction of closeness
 RCI (Berscheid)
 Frequency, strength, diversity
Are we accurate vs. enhancing about
our relationships?
Evolutionary psych
Parental investment model (Trivers)
 What is attractive
 Long vs. short term strategies
 Jealousy
 Scent
 Rape
 Avoiding temptation
 Warding off rivals
Evolutionary arguments for these
Parental investment model
 For women, good genes and status
should be important in a man
 For men, good genes, age, and fertility
cues (e.g., waist-to-hip ratio) should be
 Cultural/situational effects as well (in
most cultures men have more resources
and are the “approachers” in
Jealousy effects
Imagine your partner having sex with
someone else.
 Imagine your partner sharing his/her
deepest secrets with someone else.
Which would bother you more?
Men—more sexual jealousy
 Women—more emotional jealousy
 But:
 Does one imply the other?
 Are men just more affected by thinking about
 Or are men just more avoidant?
 Hard to test in the real world