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Psychology 137 C: Intimate Relationships Week 2, Lecture 1: Theories of Intimate Relationships– Part I Reminders: n Have you been watching the course videos? Aren’t they awesome? They only get better! n The web site for the videos is: n n http: //www. sscnet. ucla. edu/ssc/lederman/bradbury. html# You are responsible for everything discussed in the text, even if I never mention it in class.
“Science is built up of facts, as a house is built of stones; but an accumulation of facts is no more a science than a heap of stones is a house. ” Wikipedia Henri Poincaré French Mathematician (1854 -1912)
What is a theory? n A theory is an interconnected set of beliefs, knowledge, and assumptions that relate to understanding a phenomenon. n A theory is a map. n Some maps are better than others, yes?
What does a good theory do? n Organizes existing knowledge. n Draws attention to important processes. n Explains important phenomena in an elegant, ‘parsimonious’ way. n Identifies specific predictions and hypotheses. n Guides measurement decisions. n Improves upon prior theory.
What does a good theory of intimate relationships do? n Encompass the full range of possible predictors. n Specify mechanisms of change. n Account for variability between couples and within couples over time.
Evolutionary Theory “Humans seek particular mates to solve specific adaptive problems that their ancestors confronted during the course of human evolution; human mate preferences and mate decisions are hypothesized to be strategic products of selection pressures operating during ancestral conditions” (Buss and Schmitt, 1993, p. 205) David Buss
Assumptions of the Theory n Natural selection vs. Sexual selection n Psychological mechanisms n What they are, and what they are not. n The environment of evolutionary adaptedness n Theory of Parental Investment
How This Theory Guides Research n Predicting and explaining gender differences Sexual vs. emotional infidelity n Mate preferences n n Accounting for cross-cultural similarities n Is this all too obvious? n The incredible stinky t-shirt studies
Evaluating Evolutionary Perspectives n Links a wide range of variables. n Focuses more on gender differences that variability within genders. n Focuses more on mate selection than on how relationships change once they are formed.
Attachment Theory John Bowlby The nature of the bonds that we form with our primary caregivers in infancy shapes the relationships that we have throughout our lives.
Assumptions of Attachment Theory n Attachment as necessary for survival of the species Secure base n Source of information n n Mental models Mary Ainsworth n The Strange Situation Attachment Styles n Secure, Avoidant, Anxious/Ambivalent n
Adult Attachment n I find it relatively easy to get close to others and am comfortable depending on them and having them depend on me. I don’t often worry about being abandoned or about someone getting close to me. n I am somewhat uncomfortable being close to others; I find it difficult to trust them completely, difficult to allow myself to depend on them. I am nervous when anyone gets too close, and often, love partners want me to be more intimate than I feel comfortable being. n 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 want to stay with me. I want to merge completely with another person, and this desire sometimes scares people away.
How This Theory Guides Research n Implications of different attachment models for adult behavior n Dimensions of attachment Anxiety n Avoidance n n Stability and change in attachment over time Sources of continuity n Sources of change n
Evaluating Attachment Theory n What CAN it explain? Where do our standards and expectations for intimacy come from? n Why do some people tend to have the same relationships over and over again? n n What does it leave out? n Why are all of those secure people still breaking up?