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Interpersonal Relationships

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Running head: INTERPERSONAL RELATIONSHIPS Interpersonal Relationships Jason Hruby July 4, 2009 Abstract This paper analyzes elements of interpersonal relationships, including attraction, intimacy, and aggression. The paper begins with an operational definition of interpersonal relationships, and then examines the concepts of familiarity, similarity, and reciprocity as they relate to attraction. The paper continues with an explanation of the concepts of interdependence, attachment, and belonging as they relate to intimacy, and concludes with an analysis of cognitive theories related to aggression and antisocial behavior. Interpersonal Relationships Social psychology builds on the essential interactions of individuals in social contexts. According to Fiske (2004), the interpersonal self consists of those aspects of the individual that participate in face-to-face, relational roles that fulfill socially defined positions, and provide common prescriptions for behavior. Interpersonal relationships form the bridge between pairs of individuals, and the cognitive, affective, and behavioral ways in which they interact. It is important to study individual pair-relationships as a precursor to individual group-relationships, which are typically built from them. The roles that form the basis of interpersonal relationships arise from cultural and intercultural common grounds. They arise from individual interactions with coworkers, community organizations, religious groups, family members, or love interests, among others. ...read more.


Interdependence arouses strong emotions that derive from each individual's need to control their own goal outcomes, and trust the other member of the relationship to help (Fiske, 2004). Intimate relationships generally proceed through several stages of interdependence: attraction, in which partners get to know one another; beginning, in which they become aware of the costs and benefits inherent in interdependence; and commitment, in which the interdependence is stabilized for the long-term. Alternately, when the partners fail to reinforce each other's goals, the interdependence deteriorates, arousing negative feelings for one another, possibly leading to ending the relationship (Fiske, 2004). Attachment In a relationship, people become attached to one another through their interdependent need to belong together and trust one another. Attachment theory describes how children develop internal working models for relationships, based on their early interactions with their caregivers, and then carry these models into adulthood. Studies have consistently shown that the majority of people (56%) form secure attachments, leading them to feel good about themselves and others, thus promoting positive, successful relationships (Fiske, 2004). However, the other 44 percent of people experience less secure attachment models, which can result in anxiety and avoidance of others. ...read more.


Aggressive inputs, such as personality and the situation, are then mediated via these appraisals to determine aggressive or non-aggressive responses. The general aggression model is compatible with other cognitive models of aggression, but reflects a more up-to-date understanding of social cognitive processes (Fiske, 2004). Conclusion Individuals exist within a social space of relationships with others. Through familiarity and similarity, individuals experience attraction to one another, and may develop a harmonious relationship when the attraction is reciprocated. If one of the individuals perceives the other's behavior, or the situation itself, in a negative way, aggression may result. Many relationships are relatively superficial, and are of short duration. Intimate relationships arise from continued, close contact between individuals, and result in a degree of interdependence on each other's needs and behaviors toward achieving individual goals. Individuals learn how to relate to others through their initial attachments to childhood caregivers, which can then create patterns of attachment in adulthood. Ultimately, intimate relationships are driven by the need to belong. Aggression and other antisocial behaviors may be learned in response to perceived threats by watching and imitating the behavior of others. Children develop aggression scripts through cognitive modeling and repetition, along with social constraints on when and how to enact them. Aggression, like pro-social behaviors, tends to follow cognitive models learned across the lifespan, intensify across generations, and predict an individual's future behavior. ...read more.

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