For the purposes of this article, a relationship is any association between persons, amounting to mutual familiarity, mutual awareness of one another's identities, and meaningful understanding of their relations to one another. In some literature, the word "relationship" is meant to be synonymous with "romantic relationships", but this category will use the word in a variety of senses. There are a variety of sub-areas within this field of social psychology. The two primary area are interpersonal attraction and close relationship theories.
How do people become friends? Lovers? What makes an individual like one person, but not another? How could two people who live on the 3rd floor of a dorm and not be friends, but both are friends with the people who live by the mailboxes on the first floor? Studies on interpersonal attraction have explored both how people become friends and romantic partners. In general, the factors involved with interpersonal attraction are the same regardless of the type of relationship. In this section, we explore the various factors that impact interpersonal attraction.
- '''''Physical attractiveness''''' (under construction)
- ''''''''''Evolutionary theory'''''''''' (Buss, 198X)
- ''''''''''Sociocultural theory''''''''''
- ''''''''''Integrated theory'''''''''' (Eagly & Wood, 1999; 2013; Wood & Eagly, 2002; 2013) - 2013 dates may be inaccurate, should reflect articles in American Psychologist and Current Directions in Psychologcal Science
In the late 1990s, Eagly and Wood attempted to find common ground between the evolutionary and sociocultural extremes that had been argued throughout the 1980s and early 1990s. They argued that both perspectives admit some limitations, but both perspectives have been slow at accepting this new theoretical perspective - the biosocial theory. Despite the promise of this approach, this theoretical perspective is often often misinterpreted and labeled as sociocultural (see later Eagly and Wood papers mentioned above).
- '''''Propinquity''''' (under construction)
How could two people who live on the 3rd floor of a dorm and not be friends, but both are friends with the people who live by the mailboxes on the first floor? The concept of propinquity explains this phenomena. Specifically, people become attracted to others who are functionally closer to them. By functionally closer, it is meant that the situation forces two persons paths to cross regularly. Using the initial example, two people who live at opposite ends of the hall in a dorm may rarely, if ever, cross paths if they are able to use opposite staircases to leave the building. However, both may be friends with the people by the mailboxes because having to check the mail regularly forces each of the 3rd floor residents to regularly cross paths with the individuals living near the mailboxes.
This form of attractiveness relies on the mere exposure effect(citation needed). Research on the mere exposure effect found that people who were regularly exposed to another individual, regardless of if they ever spoke, would find the person they were exposed to as more attractive. The commonly cited study (citation need) found that students in an introductory psychology course rated a picture of a confederate as more attractive at the end of the semester if that semester sat in on the course for half of the course meetings, or even a quarter of the meetings, than those who never had any exposure to the confederate. This was the case despite the fact that the confederate never had any interaction with any of the students in the courses she sat in on. (this needs to be edited for detail accuracy, but the general study is properly described)
- '''''Similarity''''' (under construction)
People with similar opinions, political or otherwise, tend to be more attracted to each other.
- Maintaining Relationships
- '''''Attachment Theory''''' (under construction) (Bowlby, 195X; Ainsworth, 197X; adult - Shaver, 198X-200X; Mikulincear, 200X; Feeney, 199X-201X)
- '''''''''''Anxious Attachment'''''''''''
- ''''''''''Avoidant Attachment'''''''''''
- '''''Interdependence Theory''''' (under construction)
- '''''''''''Investment Model of Commitment''''''''''' (Rusbult et al., 1970s to 2014)
One form of relationship is the romantic relationship. Studies into human dating and attraction investigate the way that norms, propinquity, threat, familiarity, availability, similarity, attractiveness, trust, and dependence have on creating friendly relationships. One theory in this field is the matching hypothesis, which postulates that an actor will attempt to find a mate who matches their level of social desirability.
- Power. Power is the ability to cause an actor to behave or think in a way despite their internal desire to do otherwise. This subject involves an investigation into the nature and causes of authority, which may involve investigation into the authoritarian personality. There are, in general, six techniques in the use and maintenance of power: the viable promise to provide rewards, the ability to provide viable threats, referent power, an appeal to roles within a social structure, the power of information, and a viable appeal to expertise.
- Power is also established by dependency of some actor(s) upon other(s) for the provision of their wants and/or needs.
- Trust (sociology). Trust is the actor's belief in the competence and/or benevolence of another actor. In social cognition, it is important to understand how trust impacts how actors behave and think based on the behaviors and words of others.
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