Implicit Factors and Love Change Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

They were not informed of the reason for the code. They were asked "(a) How similar do you think this person is to you? (1 _ not at all similar to 11 _ very similar) and (b) How much do you think this person will like you? (1 _ not at all to 11 _ very much)" and other like preliminary questions to see if subliminal likes were noticed and present (Jones, p. 672).

Students were then asked to remember their "partner's" code number and dismissed.

First, the birthday-association manipulation was modestly associated with anticipated liking, _ _.15, t (107) _ 1.64, p _.10. Second, a multiple regression analysis showed that anticipated liking did predict partner liking, even after controlling for birthday association, _ _.61, t (107) _ 8.23, p _.001. Finally, the same regression analysis showed that the birthday-association effect was eliminated after controlling for anticipated liking, _ _.04, t (107) _.54, p _.05. It appears that the relationship between birthday association and partner liking could be mediated by anticipated liking (Jones, p. 673).

The partner's code number enhanced any anticipated liking, which in turn enhanced partner liking. Jones, et al. concluded that this study provided some initial support for people preferring their own birthday numbers to choose who they planned to be attracted to (Jones. p. 674).

The authors concluded that people's feelings, judgments and behaviors are influenced very much by unconscious processes (as Banaji & Greenwald found in 1995, Bargh, Chen and Burroughs found in 1996, and Bargh and Furguson found in 2000) in laboratory experiments. Even though these suggestions appear to influence human behavior in lab experiments, this study by Jones and his associates brings forth substantial evidence that people choose not only where they live and what they eat, but who their life-long partner will be, based on implicit social cognition influences. Implicit egotism is a valid and replicable phenomenon that influences behavior the same way it influences an evaluation of another person based on a semantic differential (Jones, p. 674).

Study by Sternberg

No matter the reason for choosing whom one will spend the rest of one's life with, there is still the matter of dealing with the person with whom one chooses. Robert Sternberg of Yale University developed a triangular theory of love that tries to explain why people remain together, no matter the reason for choosing each other. His theory appears to be obvious logic, yet many have not accepted the fact that love can be found, develop and remain a growing entity over decades between two people. Dealing with implicit factors, such as feelings, physical attraction, romance and bonds, Sternberg's experiments and understanding of the aspects of love present in close relationships substantiate his theory.

Sternberg first tackles the question "what does it mean to 'love' someone?" He says love is made up of three components: intimacy, passion and decision/commitment. Putting intimacy at the top of a triangle, with passion and decision/commitment supporting it, he sets out definitions. Intimacy, he says, is the feelings of closeness, connectedness and bondedness and results in a feeling of warmth in a loving relationship. Passion is the drive that leads to romance, physical attraction, sexual consummation and related phenonema, including motivation and arousal that leads to the experience of passion. Decision/Commitment is the actual decision on a conscious level that one loves someone else and, in the long-term, commits to them. It is Sternberg's theory that the amount of love one receives depends on the strength of the three components of love. In addition, the kind of love one experiences depends on the strengths of the three components in relation to each other. The three components interact and combine with each other and the result creates all kinds of loving experiences.

Sternberg's hypothesis proposes that his triangular theory takes into account all other theories of what love is. Based on findings from research literature, experiences that are familiar to all and studies done with students, Sternberg attempts to determine the truth of his hypothesis.

Sternberg not only did thorough investigation of commonly accepted theories of what love is in the literature, but he examined subjects' experiences and compared them to his theory. They had 48 subjects -- 24 Yale undergraduate and graduate student couples -- fill out the Rubin Love Scale, the Rubin Liking Scale, and the Levinger et al. (Levinger, 1977) Scale of Interpersonal Involvement in four different ways. In particular, they had subjects produce ratings for a) how one feels about the other, b) how one believes the other feels about oneself, how one would wish to feel about an ideal other, and d) how one would wish an ideal other to feel about oneself

Subjects were asked to fill out the Rubin and Levinger et al. scales of Interpersonal Involvement in four different ways. In particular, they had subjects produce ratings for a) how one feels about the other, b) how one believes the other feels about oneself, how one would wish to feel about an ideal other, and d) how one would wish an ideal other to feel about oneself (Rubin, 1970).

In the Sternberg-Barnes questionnaire, a questionnaire concerning their feelings about the quality of their love relationship, they assigned ratings of 1 through 9 to a) satisfaction with the relationship, b) success of the relationship, closeness of the relationship, d) exclusivity of the relationship, e) degree to which they feel "in love" with the partner, f) communication in the relationship, g) predicted duration of the relationship, h) extent to which needs are met in the relationship, i) extent to which the subjects believe their partner's needs are met in the relationship, j) extent to which the subjects believe they measure up to their partner's ideal, k) extent to which the partner measures up to their own ideal, 1) their commitment to the relationship, and m) the partner's perceived commitment to the relationship (Sternberg, p. 130)

The results produced highly correlated with the others, with the exception of the exclusivity rating. They were then combined into a single score representing overall relationship satisfaction. "Both absolute and signed difference scores were computed, although the absolute difference scores proved to be more revealing than the signed ones." (Sternberg, p. 130)

As far as findings that it is difficult to maintain love over long periods of time (Berscheid and Walster, 1978), Sternberg says discontinuation can be predicted by rapid rise and relatively rapid fall of the motivational curve, on the side of the triangle involved with arousal and motivation. He says that the presence of romance, as well as other states present in infatuation, can be rapidly developed, but if it declines slowly it has an opportunity to develop habituation. The desire for sexual fulfillment may determine how long the curve may be (lengthy or fast arousal and lengthy or fast decline). How long it takes for the motivation to decline determines whether habituation may set in and therefore whether the relationship will last or end.

However, the rate at which habituation develops will depend on the relative strength of the positive and negative forces in the opponent-process account of motivation, and the relative strengths of these two forces are likely to differ as a function of the particular motivational needs involved. For example, the motivational needs that lead us to desire sexual fulfillment may last long beyond the needs that lead us to desire sexual fulfillment from any one particular person (Sternberg, p. 133).

Sternberg also admits that there will be changes in the nature of the relationship, with changes over time in the three components of love. The increasing depth and breadth that characterize relationships as people get to know each other over time has an immediate effect on the intimacy component of the relationship." He speaks of the ability to communicate being very important. Women, he says, tend to stress intimacy and social penetration more than men, often coming to like their women friends more than their lover because they can communicate better with them. The worst enemy of the intimate side of love appears to be stagnation. Too much predictability allows intimacy and emotion to wither away. Therefore change and variability is necessary to keep the relationship growing.

Even though habituation brings on commitment, the worst enemy of passion is habituation, so intermittent reinforcing of motivation is the best maintainer of passionate behavior. Each partner e needs to analyze their needs and make sure that their needs are being fulfilled by the other partner, as needs change over time.

The decision/commitment side of the triangle is the easiest to correct, as it is subject to conscious control. By maintaining the importance of the relationship in the couple's lives and maximizing the happiness one achieves satisfaction in the whole relationship through expressing intimacy and passion and expressing their commitment to each other (Sternberg, p. 134).

Lasting Love

Commitment is actively caring for another and accepting the other as they are. This type…

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