Entries in similarity (25)

Wednesday
Apr232014

Divide and Conquer: Having a Different Outlook from Your Partner Can Be a Good Thing

About a year ago, I made a very silly, and costly, mistake.

I forgot my backpack in a cab.

My partner James and I were on our way home from the airport. It was late, we were both tired, and I didn’t even realize what I had done until I went to check my email and didn’t have my laptop.

“Hmmm”, I said, to no one in particular. “My backpack isn’t here. I think I might have left it in the cab.”

James, who is characteristically calm and collected, proceeded to completely lose his cool. “Oh no! Oh NO!! This is awful. This is so bad! What can we do? Your passport was in there! Your laptop!! Can we call the cab company? This is terrible!”

“Yes,” I mused. “I probably should have checked for it before getting out of the cab. Perhaps there is a lost and found.”

After about an hour of searching, we had exhausted all avenues of trying to retrieve the bag. It slowly dawned on me that I was never getting my stuff back.

“I can’t believe this”, I groaned, slumped into the couch with my head in my hands. “It’s gone. My laptop. My passport. I think my lab keys were in there! This is awful.”

My partner, who was more or less over the crisis at this point, tried his best to be responsive to my sudden state of dejection and misery. But he couldn’t help but ask, “Uh, Sam - didn’t we know this an hour ago?”

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Sunday
Jul212013

A Fruity Metaphor for Love

Wednesday
May292013

Likes Attract, But Do They Last? The Role of Self-Control

Partners’ level of similarity in their values, backgrounds, and life goals promotes attraction and relationship success. Although “birds of a feather” may flock together, do those similarly-feathered birds always have the best relationships over the long flight ahead? Recent research on self-control suggests that the answer is both yes and no.

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Monday
May132013

I Dislike the Dog that Likes the Rabbit that I Dislike: Why Do We Like Some People but Dislike Others?

The notion that people prefer similar others is as empirically-validated a research finding as they come in our field (see here, for example). Similar people make us feel better about ourselves, and who doesn’t like somebody that makes us feel better about ourselves? In fact, the preference for similarity is so common that it is considered a general characteristic of the human condition, and it’s not hard to imagine how preferring to hang around similar people, and avoiding dissimilar people, might benefit survival.

Recently, researchers have begun to identify exactly how early this preference for similar others begins to develop.  One can’t help but wonder whether this “universal” preference for similar others is nature (i.e., we’re born with it) or nurture (i.e., others, such as our parents, teach us to like similar others and not like dissimilar others).

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Tuesday
Apr092013

To Self-Disclose or Not to Self-Disclose? Relationship Matters Podcast #20

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.

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Friday
Apr052013

Tag, We’re It: How Facebook Reveals Information about Current (and Past) Relationships

You know those people on Facebook who tag their romantic partners in every…single…post? Or how about the people whose uploaded photos almost always contain their partners? If you’re anything like me, you may find it somewhat annoying, but these kinds of behaviors convey important information about couples’ relationships.

Previously, we have discussed how romantic partners’ senses of self gradually begin merging together and overlap with one another. In other words, we begin to take on some of our romantic partner’s aspects into our sense of who we are (e.g., you may find that you have picked up interests or hobbies that your partner introduced you to), and we begin to talk more in terms of “us” and “we” than “me” and “him/her”. In a recent study, researchers surveyed 276 individuals (mostly college students) about various aspects of their romantic relationships, including the degree of self-partner overlap and the content of their Facebook profiles.

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Tuesday
Feb122013

Bad Valentine’s Day Gifts: Do They Hurt Your Relationship?

Now that Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, you may be worried about picking out the perfect gift for your partner. Is it something he will like? Will she be disappointed by your efforts? And how is a partner’s response to your Valentine's Day gift related to thoughts about the future of your relationship?

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Friday
Oct192012

Match Me if You Can: Lack of Matching Between Partners Predicts Divorce

Let’s play a quick game. What do all of these celebrity couples have in common?: Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries; Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony; Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher; Heidi Klum and Seal; Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. If you said divorced, you’d be correct (we would have also accepted “lack of talent” as a correct answer). These couples are just a few among the many who had a marriage that didn’t survive, and some, like Kim and Kris, had barely left the wedding chapel by the time they were divorced! (Clearly, they didn’t think this one through before having a multi-million dollar wedding!). 

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Friday
Jul272012

Relationships and Personality Change - Live from Italy

While relationship researchers were at the IARR conference in Chicago, personality psychologists gathered in Trieste, Italy for the 16th annual European Conference on Personality. I was a part of a paper session entitled “Social Processes in Personality Change” along with Kathrin Jonkmann and Beatrice Rammstedt. All of our talks involved relationships with romantic partners, and the myriad of ways in which they contribute to changes in personality.

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Monday
Jun182012

The Consultant Returns: Are We Birds of a Feather?

The Consultant was back in town this week and invited me for dinner and a show. The last time I saw him was over two weeks ago for our first date, so I was excited. He picked me up wearing a suit and carrying a bouquet of flowers. Very nice. My mother, who lives with me and was watching my children for the night, was impressed.

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Tuesday
Jun122012

Are You Gonna Go My Way?

Have you ever found yourself walking in the same direction as a stranger (e.g., down the hall at work/school; through the shopping mall) and found yourself oddly attracted to that person? No? Yeah, me neither. But, and hear me out, even though we don’t consciously feel an immense desire for this person, we may be more attracted to the stranger than if her or she had been walking the other direction.

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Thursday
May172012

Top 5 Classic Studies in the Psychology of Attraction

Most of the time our articles focus on current, cutting edge studies. Yet, the nature of science is that it continually builds on findings from previous research. Inevitably, current research stands on the shoulders of giants. Here are some of the “giants” or classic works in attraction research...

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Monday
Mar262012

Cut the Chaff: Weeding Out Undesirables

With only two kid-free Happy Hours and a Friday night each week at my disposal for establishing a dating life, my time is limited for this adventure. Surprisingly, the pool of on-line dating eligible bachelors around my age is quite large, particularly given my new “casual” approach. How can I narrow the playing field down to a select few that I can actually make time to meet with in person?

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Monday
Feb272012

Five Risk Factors for Divorce

A few months ago I wrote about research conducted in my lab on predicting the stability (i.e., persistence vs. breakup) of dating relationships. That article received a lot of traffic, but some readers have asked if similar research has been done on predicting whether a marriage will continue or not. Fortunately, researchers have tackled this question as well. Here are five factors that predict staying married versus getting divorced.

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Tuesday
Feb212012

"Soul Meets Body" - How Music and Relationships are Connected

As noted by my colleagues in previous articles, similarity between potential romantic partners predicts feelings of attraction and love. “Similarity” can include things like similar backgrounds (e.g., nationality), physical features, personality, hobbies, attitudes, and beliefs.

What about music preferences?

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Friday
Dec092011

We Fight All of the Time and Want Different Things: Can We Make it Work?

Michael submitted the following question:

I am in a relationship with this guy and things are feeling rocky right now. I feel like we argue pretty frequently. I try to argue with I-statements and repeat his concerns with active listening. I am trying to communicate but the concerns that I bring up are small to him.

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Monday
Dec052011

Words Matter: Language Style Predicts Relationship Longevity

As we all know, the dating scene can be frustrating. For example, we’ve all probably dealt with the uncertainty of a first date in which we are trying to decipher whether our date is actually interested in us or if he or she is simply putting on a happy face to avoid hurting our feelings. Wouldn’t it be great to find a subtle way to determine whether you and your date are going to “click”? As you can probably guess, researchers have found a way to predict just this based on the words each person uses when communicating.

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Sunday
Oct162011

The Foundation of Any Relationship

Thursday
Oct062011

Why are Kim and Kris Sitting in a Tree K-I-S-S-I-N-G?

What do Kim Kardashian and Prince William have in common? No, this isn’t the start of a bad joke; the answer is as straightforward as the letters in their names. Both Kim and William married individuals who share at least one of their initials (Kim Kardashian recently wed Kris Humphries and Prince William Mountbatten-Windsor married Kate Middleton - bet you didn't know his last name until now)! 

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Sunday
Jun262011

Paula Abdul Straight Up Lied

Click here for our past article on this topic. Interested in learning more about relationships? Click here for other topics on Science of Relationships. Like us on Facebook to get our articles delivered directly to your NewsFeed.