Week 4: Emotions In Relationships Flashcards Preview

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Flashcards in Week 4: Emotions In Relationships Deck (17)
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Where do emotions come from?

Mandler's (1970s) cognitive theory of emotion. To experience an emotion there must be:
- an event or stimulus in the world; and
- we must pay attention to that stimulus


Organized action sequences

Routine behaviors in pursuit of Higher Order Plans and goals
- we pay attention when out routines are interrupted
- interruptions may activate our emotions (trouble-shooting system)- they motivate us to take appropriate action


Primary appraisals

When we experience an interruption, we appraise it along two dimensions:
- valence - is it good/bad, helpful/harmful?
- relevance/importance - does it matter?


Berscheid (1983) application of Mandler's theory explain the cause of emotional experiences in close relationships

- drew on Kelly's interdependence theory (P and O)
• P and O each has their own connected chains (intra-chains) of organized action sequences and higher order plans
- P and O live lives on parallel tracks
- when P and O activities interconnect, inter-chains connection are established
- inter-chain connections determine the closeness of a couple's relationship via frequency, strength and diversity, longevity
- role of emotion? Close relationships are 'meshed', the more meshed, the higher the chance for interruptions
- well meshed with no interruptions may seem boring, or fights can be meshed (thus little emotion)


Emotional investment

- the more interchain connections b/w P and O, the greater is their emotional investment in the relationship
- doesn't have to be symmetrical
- relationships can be emotionally tranquil for one of two reasons:
• extremely well meshed (no interruptions)
• few interconnections - emotionally sterile


Irony of boredom

- emotionally tranquil relationship partners may not be aware of their degree of interdependence and emotional investment
- only after major interruption, when the interconnections are exploded, is intense an prolonged emotion experienced


How to stay happy?

- positive emotions are elicited by
• unexpected completion of OAS or HOP (e.g. Win lottery)
• removal of previously interruptive stimulus (e.g backyard blitz cleans backyard)
- if partner is credited for event, then love should be forthcoming


Berscheid's definition of romantic love:

- "The sudden realisation that another person is willing and able to help you fulfil your cherished hopes and plans" you've found someone you can mesh
- do new and interesting things together, make plans together that you need one another to help accomplish - create new opportunities to mesh
- engineer pleasant surprises for one another


Simpson's (1987) evidence for Berscheid's

- longitudinal study of American dating students found the factors that best predicted emotional distress after breakup were the same factors that indicated relationship closeness and emotional investment


Weakness of Berscheid's theory

- what determines the kind of emotion we will feel after an interruptive stimulus?
• we experience more than just 'good' or 'bad' feelings
- cognition determines the kind of emotion
• specifically, cognitive appraisals including casual attributions


Generating emotions

Step 1
- primary appraisals
- valence
- relevance
Step 2
- secondary appraisals (including attributions) determine the kind of emotion
• who caused it? Who is to blame?
• what can I do about it?
• was it intentional? Typical?
• was it fair?
• can I change it?


Jealousy: appraisals?

- always involves P, O and X - third party
- X represents threat to O
- who is to blame?
- but...who is in control?
- jealousy a mix of emotions, anger fear, sadness


Anger, hate and hurt

Anger: appraisals of unfairness and injustice, moderate to high power
Hate: appraisals of being diminished and low power
Hurt: key appraisals of unexpectedness, relational devaluation, rejection, low power, high effort, low understanding


Proximal effects on appraisals

- Mood - good or bad, colour interpretations of ambiguous events and behaviors
- Recent experiences (e.g. Watching TV; talking to friends)


Distal effects on appraisals

Schemas create emotional climates
- relationship happiness schema,
- attachment schemas
- emotion schemas from family of origin
E.g. Anger
- Typically involves two or more parties; one has committed an offence
- angered person feels hot and tense, appraises event as other-caused, unfair, controllable, intentional, deserving of punishment, feels urge to retaliate
- angered person responds with protest behaviors, offender apology, denial or retaliation may follow.
* problems when partners hold different emotion scripts


What follows emotion?

Different emotions elicit different kinds of motivations and behaviors
- sadness - motivates withdrawal
- anxiety - motives comfort-seeking
- anger - motivates confrontation
- love - motivates physical closeness


The interactional cycle

- P's emotional response (e.g. Angry protest after an O-caused interruption appraised as negative, important, unfair, uncontrollable) becomes an interruption for O
- O appraises P's behavior, experiences emotion and responds emotionally
- O's behavior becomes stimulus