People often think that successful people are attractive. But what about their less successful counterparts? Are they destined to be seen as less attractive? In a study involving hypothetical job applicants, those candidates described as being “underdogs” -- i.e., they were unlikely to get a particular job due to unfair circumstances beyond their control (e.g., their application had been misplaced by a secretary) -- were rated as especially physically attractive and desirable to date compared to candidates who were (a) unfairly advantaged (i.e., had a friend pressuring the employer to hire them) or (b) were unlikely to get the job due to their own incompetence (i.e., they failed to follow directions on the job application). That’s right…being an underdog can be hot if your failures are not your own fault.
Entries in journal of social and personal relationships (20)
In the 23rd installment of Sage’s Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dr. Jennifer Tomlinson (Carnegie Mellon University) discusses her recent research with Professor Art Aron (Stony Brook University) on the classic dilemma: how do we balance the benefits of growing emotionally close to a person with the risk of getting hurt that comes when we make ourselves vulnerable?
Having a first child can be a stressful time for couples for many reasons. One factor that may contribute to new-parent stress is whether the new parents agree on how to parent. In a recent study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, researchers examined whether new parents had similar parenting styles and felt like they were working together as team in raising their new infants; they also assessed whether this teamwork was related to parents’ mental health and relationship satisfaction. New mothers and fathers who felt like their parenting styles were similar had more positive moods and experienced less depression in the months following the birth of their first child. In addition, perceived agreement in parenting styles was related to mothers’ overall relationship satisfaction.
In the 21st installment of Sage’s Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Bonnie Le (a graduate student in Dr. Emily Impett's lab at the Univ. of Toronto) talks about the personal and interpersonal effects of having a communal orientation.
Communally oriented people care for the welfare and needs of others, and want others to care for them in return. Ms. Le explained, “In a communal orientation… we give because of need, we give because we care about the well being of other people. And so you don’t necessarily expect something in return when you’re giving help or care in a communal relationship or when you have a communal orientation, but you do expect that people will behave the same in return [eventually].”
In the 20th installment of Sage’s Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, Dr. Sue Sprecher (Illinois State University) and Stanislov Treger (DePaul University) talk about their work on self-disclosure during first encounters with strangers. Specifically, the researchers designed a series of experiments to determine whether people enjoy interacting with, and like, a stranger more when those people talk about themselves versus listen to the stranger do all the talking.
To test this question, Sprecher and Treger randomly assigned people to either talk to a stranger or listen to a stranger talk for 12 minutes. What did they find? Listeners, compared to talkers, were happier with the interaction, liked the stranger better, and felt closer to the stranger.
Insecure Attachment and Real vs. Perceived Threat in Relationships: Relationship Matters Podcast #19
Sage’s Relationship Matters podcast, hosted by Dr. Bjarne Holmes of Champlain College, launches the Spring 2013 season with the 19th installment, discussing Dr. Geoff MacDonald’s (University of Toronto) recent work published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. In this episode, he tells us about how insecurely attached individuals, compared to the securely attached, perceive potential close relationships as socially threatening vs. rewarding. Although we all evaluate what we will get out of our interactions with others, anxiously attached people are more likely to perceive social interactions as threatening. “Anxious attachment seems to revolve around concerns for negative evaluation and rejection,” MacDonald notes during the podcast.
So should anxiously attached individuals fear rejection when initiating a new relationship?
We’ve all been known to pack on a few extra pounds over the holidays. Not surprisingly, our weight, as well as our partners’ weights, can influence our romantic relationships. For example, when relationship partners’ weight levels start to diverge and become different from one another, leading to what researchers refer to as mixed-weight couples (think Peter and Lois Griffin from Family Guy or Oprah & Stedman), there can be problems. In fact, recent research1 and a recent article in the Wall Street Journal ("Put a Stop to ‘Do I Look Fat?'") investigate what happens in relationships where one partner, particularly the female, is less fit than the other. According to research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, relationships that pair an overweight female and a healthy weight male experience more conflict.
If you plan on getting someone a gift for Valentine’s Day, chances are that a card is part of the package. Whether the card is the only thing you get your Valentine, or if it accompanies jewelry, roses, or chocolates, you probably will spend some time thinking about the card’s message.
But what do these cards really say? And more importantly, are they saying things that are scientifically factual? To answer these questions, I went out to the local supermarket to see what I could find.
We typically think of significant others as an important source of support when things go wrong in our lives; someone to catch us if we fall. If you were to lose your job, you’d turn to your partner for support to help you through that rough time. However, your partner’s support for positive life events is equally as important. When good things happen, like a new great job falls into your lap, is your partner supportive? “That’s a great opportunity! I’m so excited for you!” Or are they uninterested or negative about your good news? “Wow, that sounds like a lot of work. Are you sure you’re up for it?”
Cell phones have revolutionized the ways we stay in touch. However, do our mobile phones affect our relationships, even when we’re not using them? Findings from two new studies suggest they do. Pairs of strangers discussed assigned topics in the presence or absence of a phone. Specifically, these “stranger-pairs” sat in a room with either a nondescript mobile phone or an old-fashioned pocket notebook placed unobtrusively on a desk to the side. The simple presence of a phone (vs. notepad) resulted in lower levels of closeness and relationship quality after their discussion. Further, when specifically asked to talk about a meaningful topic, the presence of a mobile phone also resulted in lower levels of trust and empathy. It’s possible that cell phones act as a reminder of people’s wider social networks, and the anticipation of a possible interruption (your best friend complaining about yet another awful blind date?) draws attention away from face-to-face conversations.
Przybylski, A. K. & Weinstein, N. (in press, 2012). Can you connect with me now? How the presence of mobile communication technology influences face-to-face conversation quality. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships. doi: 10.1177/0265407512453827
Many people assume that having conflict in a relationship reduces sexual desire and relationship satisfaction. Yet, conflict may also present a constructive opportunity for partners to discuss important relationship issues, or it may simply create a general sense of arousal that transforms into sexual excitement.
A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. Dr. Tamara Afifi (Univ. of California, Santa Barbara) talks about why women find (conflict) avoidance more dissatisfying than men. Check it out here.
A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. Dr. Tsachi Ein-Dor (Interdisciplinary Center, Herzliya, Israel) discusses research on how we use sex to feel better. Check it out here.
A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. Dr. Norm O'Rourke (of Simon Fraser University) discusses personality and marriage in heterosexual couples. Check it out here.
A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. Dr. Bjarne Holmes interviews Science Of Relationships' featured columnist Dr. Justin Lehmiller about his research on "Living in a Marginalized Relationship." Click here to listen to the interview.
A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. SofR's own Dr. Bjarne Holmes interviews Dr. Elaine Hatfield about her about her work on passion and sexual desire.
A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. SofR's own Dr. Bjarne Holmes interviews Jennifer Montesi of Temple University about her research on sexual communication and satisfaction.
A new Relationship Matters (the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships) has just been released. SofR's own Dr. Bjarne Holmes interviews Dr. Jeff Hall about his research on humor in relationships.
Let’s face it. Some of us are physically attractive. Others are…well…not so much. Logic tells us that we can’t all be above average in attractiveness. So how do you know if you are physically attractive or not? Who should you ask? Well, the answer to that question lies in the kind of answer you want. Do you want the truth, or would you rather just feel good about yourself? (Unfortunately, these aren’t always the same thing.)
We've posted about adult attachment previously, and in this installment of Relationship Matters, Dr. Jeff Simpson discusses its relevance to relationship well-being. In addition, Dr. Gurit Birnbaum talks about the link between attachment and sex. Download the MP3 here.
Relationship Matters is the official podcast of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and is dedicated to bringing its audience interviews with relationship researchers presented in an accessible way that highlights practical implications. You can visit their Facebook page here.