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The Self Concept. Who we are from our own perspective. Our Many Selves. Self consciousness, self schema, and individuation The self as actor The personal self and the social self The positive and negative possible self: Ideal self versus real self. Self Focus and The Self Reference Effect.

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The Self Concept

Who we are from our own perspective


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Our Many Selves

  • Self consciousness, self schema, and individuation

  • The self as actor

  • The personal self and the social self

  • The positive and negative possible self: Ideal self versus real self


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Self Focus and The Self Reference Effect

  • People shift from external focus to self focus and there are individual differences in how much one focuses on the self.

  • Adolescents have more self focus and experience the imaginary audience as a result of adolescent egocentricity in cognitive development.

  • The self reference effect deals with better memory for things related to the self


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Personal-Social Identity Continuum

  • At any given moment we vary in how much we identify with the personal self (intragroup comparisons) and how much we identify our self with identity groups (intergroup comparisons)

  • Situational factors such as whether we are in a minority in a group help determine how important group identity is to us.


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Terror Management Theory

  • When threats such as salience of our own mortality exists we tend to increase self identification with the group.

  • Existential terror causes more allignment and identity. People see themselves as similar to the group. An exception is when a negative aspect of the group is salient. Then people distance themselves.


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Self Monitoring

  • High self monitors: Regulation of behavior on the basis of external factors especially the evaluation of others.

  • Low self monitors: Regulation of behavior based on internal factors especially values and sense of self.


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Core Social Motives

  • Belonging: Group membership and identity

  • Understanding: Sharing meaning and prediction

  • Controlling: Perceived congruency between behavior and outcome

  • Self Enhancement: Seeing self as worthy or basically improvable.

  • Trusting: Others seen as basically benign


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Self Esteem

  • Self esteem: Sense of self worth. High self esteem represents a close relationship between the ideal self and the real self.

  • Self esteem can be measured as a global sense or in terms of self esteem in specific areas.

  • Some aspects of self esteem may be temperamental as a trait. Others are related to experiences and are situational.


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Self Esteem Gone Wrong

  • Non-contingent or unrealistic measures to increase self esteem can backfire.

  • The narcissistic person may have an unrealistically high self esteem.

  • Narcissism: Excessive self esteem causes antisocial behavior.

  • Paradoxical self esteem: Too much or too little relative to reality.


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Secure Versus Defensive SelfEsteem

  • People with defensive self esteem are obnoxious, talk a lot, and talk at people rather than listen.

  • Especially when criticized, they are prone to bullying, aggression, and sexual coercion.

  • Low self esteem effects are not as great as many claim.


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Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Grandiose sense of self importance

  • Preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

  • Believes that he or she is special and can only be understood by special people

  • Requires excessive admiration and has a sense of entitlement

  • Interpersonally exploitative and lacks empathy


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  • Envious of others and believes others are envious to them

  • Show arrogant or haughty behaviors or attitudes

  • These traits often result in paradoxically high self esteem and can lead to violent, exploitative, uncaring behavior by someone who deserves what they wish no matter whom it hurts.


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Adolescent Self Esteem

  • Children in early adolescence, especially girls, show a drop in self esteem.

  • For most this drop is only temporary and is not debilitating. However it is an ongoing problem for some.

  • Body image and transition to junior high may be factors. Sexual harassment and bullying have been implicated.


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Gilligan and Critical Periods in Girls Self Esteem

  • According to Carol Gilligan, girls reach a critical juncture in gender role development in early adolescence. They face different rhythms and emotions in relationships.

  • In early adolescence, there is a greater decline in self esteem for girls than for boys.


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  • Gilligan believe girls must balance independence and relationships. They wish neither to be selfish or overcommitted to others needs and not take care of the self.

  • Gilligan’s critics object to different developmental models for girls and boys.

  • Curriculums emphasizing cooperation rather than competition have been introduced in some schools.


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Downward and Upward Comparisons relationships. They wish neither to be selfish or overcommitted to others needs and not take care of the self.

  • With a stranger: Downward has positive effect; upward has no effect.

  • With a member of the in group: Downward has positive effect; upward has negative effect.

  • With someone close downward has negative effect; upward has positive effect.


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Self Efficacy relationships. They wish neither to be selfish or overcommitted to others needs and not take care of the self.

  • In order for people to be motivated to act they must believe the outcome is valuable and that they will be effective in reaching the outcome.

  • Increasing efficacy can occur through performance accomplishment, modeling, exhortation, and arousal reduction.

  • Performance accomplishment is best


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Three Types of Self Efficacy relationships. They wish neither to be selfish or overcommitted to others needs and not take care of the self.

  • Self regulatory self efficacy

  • Social self efficacy

  • Academic self efficacy

  • High regulatory and academic self efficacy is related to lower problem behaviors and moral transgressions.

  • High social self efficacy leads to more prosocial behavior and lower sense of grievance.


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Sex and Gender relationships. They wish neither to be selfish or overcommitted to others needs and not take care of the self.

  • Sex: Maleness or femaleness as determined by genetic factors at conception that result in anatomical and physiological differences.

  • Gender: That attributes, behaviors, personalities, and expectancies associated with a person’s biological sex in a given culture.


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Gender Differences relationships. They wish neither to be selfish or overcommitted to others needs and not take care of the self.

  • Gender differences can result from biology, learning, or a combination of both.

  • Gender differences when observed may be small and there is a great deal of overlap in the distributions.

  • Whether an individual is in the gender majority or minority may determine the importance of gender.


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Gender Similarities Hypothesis relationships. They wish neither to be selfish or overcommitted to others needs and not take care of the self.

  • Meta analysis shows that most gender difference effect sizes are small.

  • Exceptions include: some areas of sexualtiy, motor performance in throwing distance and velocity, moderate differences in physical and relational aggression but not in overall aggression, and mental rotation tasks.


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Gender Role Schema relationships. They wish neither to be selfish or overcommitted to others needs and not take care of the self.

  • Masculine

  • Feminine

  • Androgynous: The positive characteristics of both genders. (High on both instrumentality and nurturance. Tends to be flexible.

  • Undifferentiated


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Prejudice, Discrimination and Stereotyping relationships. They wish neither to be selfish or overcommitted to others needs and not take care of the self.

  • Prejudice represents negative attitudes towards members of a social group because of membership in that group.

  • Discrimination represents negative behaviors towards members of a social group that result from prejudice against members of that group.


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  • Stereotypes are beliefs about social groups in terms of the traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • They are cognitve frameworks (schemas) that shape perceptions, but the difference from other schemas is that they inevitably tie the trait to the person because of group membership.


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Origins of Prejudice traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Social Categoriazation: The ultimate attributional error

  • Threat to group and group identity

  • Social Norms: Allowances for groups to “appropriately” have prejudice and discrimination.

  • Intergroup Conflict: Realistic conflict theory


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Minimal Group Effect and Social Identity Theory traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Minimal group effect studies indicate that people will identify with one another even over minor characteristics.

  • Group identity involves a sense of shared fate and tends to increase the members’ self esteem. Often conflict arises when that identity is threatened.


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Social Categorization traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • People categorize others as part to the “in group” or “out group.”

  • There is a tendency to view members of the out group as all the same (out group homogeneity.)

  • Members of in groups are viewed as having more differences (in group heterogeneity.) In group members are seen as good.


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Threats to Group and Individual Identity traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • When individual identity is threatened as in existential terror we identify with group when positive aspects of identity are there.

  • When groups are threatened prejudice and discrimination increase.

  • When identity is threatened both ingroup and outgroup homogeniety increase, and a sense of ingroup superiority is higher.


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Stereotyping traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Stereotyping involves a type of schema that represents a unitary view of those who are in a particular group.

  • Stereotypes represent the belief that all members of a social group share certain characteristics and behaviors in common.

  • There is a fine line between stereotypes and the schemas people use to process information about others.


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Stereotypes and Processing Information traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • People notice and remember behavior that is consistent with stereotypes and ignore that which is not consistent.

  • People see stereotype consistent behavior as going with and being caused by group membership.

  • People interpret the same behavior in different terms because of stereotypes.


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Self Stereotyping and Stereotype Threat traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Self stereotyping involves the acceptance by target group members of the stereotypes held by others.

  • Stereotype threat represents the response to negative aspects of self stereotyping. This effect has particularly been seen with psychological testing for academic abilities in minorities and memory among seniors.


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Stereotype Threat and traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share. Working Memory

  • Stereotype threat places a burden on working memory and uses some of its limited capacity.

  • Women who were primed that a working memory task was a math test did worse on working memory than men or women in a control condition.

  • This may be the mechanism behind stererotype threat effects on tests.


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Implicit Attitudes and Stereotypes traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Techniques for measuring the implicit attitudes associated with stereotypes such as the Implicit Association Test and the Evaluative Priming Technique (bona fide pipeline) indicate implicit stereotypes even among those who claim low prejudice on self report questionnaires.

  • Many people have such implicit stereotypes.


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Emotions, Prejudice and Discrimination traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Emotional labeling of groups predicts behavior better than stereotype content.

  • Labeling goes along two dimensions: Warmth (trustworthy, friendly, sincere) and competence (skillful, capable)

  • These labels are related to emotional responses.


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  • High on warmth and competence=pride traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Low on both=disgust

  • High on warmth, Low on competence=pity

  • Low warmth, high competence=envy

  • Envy often begets genocide

  • U. S. and European cultures higher on in group pride while Asian cultures are lower on ingrup pride but have the sam responses to other emotions.


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Reducing Prejudice through Contacts traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • The Robbers Cave experiment indicated the power of super ordinate goals.

  • Equal status contact with opportunities for informal contact and norms of cooperation and prejudice reduction.

  • The jigsaw classroom allows for minority groups to have access to valued information.


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Mindfulness and Recategorization traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Increasing peoples’ “mindfulness” helps those with implicit attitudes and stereotypes recognize their prejudice. This is especially true for low prejudiced people.

  • Recatagorizing out group members as having similar goals helps reduce prejudice.


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Extended Contact Hypothesis and Training Parents traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Merely knowing that members of the in group have friendships with out group members reduces prejudice These in group/out group friendships are important in reducing prejudice (the extended contact hypothesis.)

  • Teaching parents to model low prejudiced behavior can aid in prejudice reduction.


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Guilt and Emotional Techniques traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Guilt can be used with people who believe they are egalitarian, but there are limits to using guilt in any situation.

  • Collective guilt may reduce racism.

  • People can be trained to just say no.

  • The influence of opinion leaders can bring both normative and emotional changes.


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Tokenism traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Knowledge that one has been given a resource as a “token” of increasing diversity is highly stressful and reduces the individual’s self esteem.


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Gender Stereotypes traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Gender stereotypes associate various characteristics with gender as if they are inevitably tied to men or women. Also there is a tendency to see the other gender In terms of out-group homogeneity.

  • Gender role stereotypes tend to exaggerate differences between the genders.


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Sexism traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Gender discrimination continues in a number of areas of society.

  • Benevolent sexism emphasizes that women deserve protection, are superior to men in such traits as purity and taste, and are necessary for the happiness and fulfillment of men.

  • Studies show both women and men give more respect to men.


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Attraction to Close Relationships traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Of the multitude of people with whom we come in contact we are attracted to only a few and repulsed by a few more. Usually through the self fulfilling prophecy and the chance to relate to people we further refine our interactions to build up close relationships.

  • Attraction is not random


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Need for Affiliation traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • At a biological level in order to survive we must affiliate with others.

  • We particularly need to affiliate with those who share our genetic material most closely.

  • Affiliation provides social support and social comparison especially in terms of our emotional responses.


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Need for Privacy traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Autonomy

  • Emotional Release

  • Self Evaluation

  • Maintenance of intimacy

  • Indicators of social status

  • Maintenance of identity and sense of individuality


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States of Privacy traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Solitude

  • Intimacy

  • Anonymity

  • Reserve

  • Gestures and non verbal communication

  • Signs and symbols of privacy


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Dialectic of Privacy traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • There is a constant balance to be maintained between desire to be alone and desire to be with others.

  • Too much or too little privacy is stressful.

  • There is a constant shifting of desired level of privacy.

  • Control of privacy is an important social skill


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Variables in Attraction traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Physical contact, propinquity, and the mere exposure effect.

  • Observable characteristics: Physical appearance and observable similarity

  • Similarity of attitudes, personality, and background

  • Complementarity of needs

  • Mutual liking and reciprocity in evaluation


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The Mere Exposure Effect traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Repeated exposure increases liking for objects for which we are positive, neutral or slightly negative.

  • The familiar stranger effect occurs when we repeatedly encounter people with whom we do not interact. We like and trust these people more than unfamiliar strangers.


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Physical Appearance traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Physical appearance is associated with positive attributes on the part of the target

  • People respond to appearance in children and others in whom they do not have a romantic interest.

  • Other children also respond positively to attractive children.

  • People make more external attributions for bad behavior in pretty children.


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Similarity traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • People are more attracted to and more positively evaluate those who are similar in attitudes, personality, and background.

  • People engage in social comparison with those who are similar.

  • Dissimilar attitudes have a greater impact than similar attitudes. We like people we meet until we find them dissimilar.


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Personality Similarity and Voters traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Modern campaigns emphasize emotions an and image of politicians.

  • Voters have trouble differentiating on issues and use heuristic judgment in evaluating candidates.

  • Voters seek similarity in personality and from that congruence of values.


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Affect Centered Model of Attraction traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Attraction is determined by the direct and associated sources of affect often mediated by cognitive processes schemas, attitudes, beliefs, and expectancies.

  • This attraction or repulsion results in behavioral and evaluative responses to others often leading to feedback loops.


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Balance Between Independence and Mutuality traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • A well adjusted person is able to balance independence and mutuality or shared fate in a close relationship.

  • This is a source of negotiation throughout the lifespan. Adolescents must negotiate with their parents to maintain this new balance. Spouses must have a similar negotiation.


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Social Penetration Theory traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • People explore relationships by tentatively increasing the depth and breadth of their self disclosures. The relationship reaches a certain point and there is often an unspoken agreement to keep it there.

  • The pacing of self disclosure is crucial. Too fast or too slow self disclosure causes an imbalance and mistrust.


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Adult Attachment Styles traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Original terms: Secure, Insecure-avoidant, Insecure-ambivalent.

  • In the Working Model of Attachment Styles

    • Preoccupied: High on self esteem, low on interpersonal trust.

    • Fearful Avoidant: Low on self esteem and interpersonal trust.

    • Secure high on both

    • Dismissive: high on trust, low on self esteem


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Dispositional Lonliness traits or characteristics that they are deemed to share.

  • Most loneliness does not involve lack of access to friends, but it is the result of the response of the person to others.

  • Lonely people know about social skills in theory, but they lack the ability to trust others. They make negative attributions about the friendly intent of other people.

  • Depression, fear of intimacy, unappreciated, interpersonal anxiety


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  • Pessimsism, self blame, attributions of rejection on the part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

  • Shyness, ambivalence in relationships, dependent-dissatisfied relationship adding to stress, interpersonal aggression and teasing.


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Investment in a Relationship part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

  • People examine their perception of the fair exchange in a relationship and the alternatives.

  • People in a committed relationship devalue the alternatives, make positive attributions about the relationship, and forgive their partners. A sense of investment leads to commitment.


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Responses to Dissatisfaction part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

  • Voice: active problem solving. More common among women.

  • Loyalty: Stay in a relationship because problems minor or alternatives poor.

  • Neglect: Neglect of relationship. Let it wither on the vine.

  • Exit: Examines both relationship and alternatives.


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Gender and Mate Choice part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

  • Our anscestors survived because of male choice of furtile females and female choice of males with resources.

  • Women tend to be much more concerned with long term, commited realationships and seek romance in first sexual encounters. However there is not as much gender difference in views on fidelity in marriage.


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Styles of Love part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

Eros: Passionate love

Storge: Companionate (friendship) love

Ludus: Game-playing love

Mania: Possessive love

Pragma: Logical love

Agape: Selfless love


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Sternberg’s Theory of Love part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies. (page 318)

  • Infatuation: Passionate love alone

  • Empty Love: Commitment alone

  • Liking: Intimacy alone

  • Consummate Love: Intimacy, passion, commitment

  • Fatuous Love: Passion and commitment but without time for intimacy


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  • Romantic Love: Intimacy plus passion part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

  • Companionate Love: Intimacy plus commitment Often in marriages where passion has faded.

  • Over time the relative importance of passion, intimacy, and commitment changes in a relationship. The problem occurs when partners change at a different rate.


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Similarity and Marriage part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

  • Happy couples show more actual similarity.

  • Assumed similarity is higher than actual similarity for happy couples.

  • Initial attraction because of dissimilarity often ends up with dissatisfaction because that which was attractive becomes annoying.


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Attributions and Marriage part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

  • In happy marriages positive behaviors are seen as resulting from internal, stable, global traits and negative behaviors are seen as resulting from external, unstable, specific, factors.

  • Distancing attributions represent the opposite. External attributions for positive events and internal for negative events.


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Marriage and Subjective Well Being (SWB) part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

  • Longitudinal study in Germany

  • Average person returns to baseline of SWB after change in marital status. It takes a little longer for baseline for widowhood. But there is great individual variation.

  • Happy people less positively changed by marriage but more hurt by divorce.


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Some Tips on Mariatal Success part of others, perceived lack of reciprocity from others. Often relationships become self fulfilling prophecies.

  • Understanding partner’s point of view.

  • Not threatening partner’s self esteem.

  • Compromising: Would you rather be right or rather by happy? How’s that working for you?

  • Decreasing costs and increasing benefits.

  • Being agreeable, increasing positive affect, managing negative affect. Checking the validity of attributions.


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