Application: Relationship Analysis

Relationship with others is an essential human need. Relationships occur between parents and children, extended family members, friends, coworkers, and lovers in more intimate or romantic relationships. There are several factors to consider that have to do with relationships.

First, humans do not do well alone. They need to belong to a group and need to be in relationships with others. When belonging and relationship do not happen, loneliness occurs. Individuals learn attachment as children and these tendencies are carried to adulthood. When there are problems with attachment or situations that limit attachment such as childhood isolation or abuse, there can be significant relationship problems throughout life.

Second, healthy attachment (or overcoming attachment problems, in some cases) leads to attraction between people. There are several types of attraction. People can just like each other as friendships develop or as people become familiar with each other. Attraction also occurs when people have similar interests or beliefs or when they are drawn to personal attributes. For example, you might be drawn to (attracted to) someone who is warm or genuine or interesting or funny. There may also be physical attraction.

From initial attraction, there are several options. The relationship could result in friendship. Or, the relationship could result in intimacy or romantic love ending eventually in marriage or life-long commitment. Social psychology often is interested in how and why people are drawn to each other and how attraction and romantic relationship differ among people.

To prepare for this assignment:

Review Chapters 8 and 9 of the course text, Social Psychology, focusing on why people need to belong and become attached and what can happen when these needs are not met. Also focus on the factors involved in attraction and romantic love.
Watch the “Interpersonal Attraction” video from the Contemporary Videos in Social Psychology DVD. Again, pay particular attention to why people need to belong and become attached.
Now think about a personal relationship you have or have had (or a relationship of someone you know well). This relationship may be a romantic relationship or a friendship. How do the concepts and theories you have explored in your readings play out in this relationship? Can you use these concepts and theories to analyze why the relationship is/was successful or is/was not successful?
Review at least two of the following articles to explore aspects of attraction and romantic relationships in different cultures. (You do not have to read all of the articles.) Think about how different cultures view and behave in relationships. Notice the similarities and differences between that culture and your own.
“The Many Meanings of Marriage: Divergent Perspectives Seeking Common Ground”
“Cross-Cultural Dating Patterns on an Israeli Campus: Why Are Russian Immigrant Women More Popular Than Men?”
“Emotional Expression in Tsukiau Dating Relationships in Japan”
“Stories We Love By: Conceptions of Love Among Couples From the People’s Republic of China and the United States”
“Importance of Marital Characteristics and Marital Satisfaction: A Comparison of Asian Indians in Arranged Marriages and Americans in Marriages of Choice”
Think about how your relationship (or that of someone you know) might be different if you were a member of one of these other cultures. What would be different? What would be similar?
The assignment (1 page):

Analyze a personal relationship you have or have had (or a relationship of someone you know well). This relationship may be a romantic relationship or a friendship.
Briefly identify the type of relationship you are using as your example and describe it in terms of love styles.
Select at least four concepts or theories from your readings that describe the relationship and how this relationship developed in more depth.
Finally, select a culture presented in one of the articles listed. Make a brief statement about how some of the concepts or theories might be different if the relationship in your example occurred in another culture or if one of the individuals in this relationship was from this other culture.
Support your Application Assignment with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list only for those resources not included in the Learning Resources for this course.

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