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Intimate Relationships: Issues, Theories, and Research, CourseSmart eTextbook, 2nd Edition

By Ralph Erber, Maureen Wang Erber

Published by Pearson

Published Date: Jan 22, 2010

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This text, written by two social psychologists, includes the latest scientific research on intimate relationships.


Intimate Relationships covers both classic and current material. Chapters range from attraction to love, attachment to jealousy, conflict to relationship dissolution – all written in a warm, personal, and engaging voice.


Each chapter is organized around the major issues and relevant theories, in addition to a critical evaluation about the research. When appropriate, the authors discuss and evaluate popular ideas about relationship processes in the context of scientific research. This includes critical evaluations of evolutionary approaches to attraction, victim-based accounts of abuse, and the separate-cultures view of the sexes.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1

Strangers, Friends, and Lovers

Why Is Life So Complicated?

The Need for Affiliation

The Need for Intimacy

The Need to Belong

The Inevitability of Social Relationships

Intimate Relationships Yesterday and Today

The Way We Were

The Way We Are Now

Chapter 2

Methods to Study Relationships

The Science of Intimate Relationships: Controversies and Issues

Methodology: Data Collection and Analysis

Archival Research

Systematic Observation

Interviews and Surveys

Interpreting Survey Data:  Correlations

Cross-Sectional and Longitudinal Research


Experimental and Mundane Realism


Collecting Couple Data

Data Collection in Real Time:  Recording Ongoing Interactions

Speed-Dating as a Research Paradigm

Data Collection in the Internet Age

Meta-Analysis:  The Analysis of Analyses


Chapter 3

Physical Attraction

Physical Attractiveness and Dating Choices

Standards of Attractiveness:  Bodies and Faces

Mirror, Mirror…

Evolution and Attractiveness

The Importance of Averageness and Symmetry

Cognitive Mechanisms

The Physical Attractiveness Stereotype:  Beauty is as Beauty Does

The “What Is Beautiful Is Good” Stereotype

Cute Boys and Girls Are Better People, Too

Infants Prefer Beautiful Faces


        Is the Attractiveness Stereotype Culturally Universal?

 “Don’t Hate Me Because I’m Beautiful:” Some Ugly Truths about Attractiveness

Is Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder?

Context Influences

Dispositional Influences

Attractiveness and Dating:  A Reprise

 Chapter 4

Psychological Attraction

Theory-Driven Approaches

          Implicit Egotism

The Classical and Operant Conditioning of Liking

Attraction as Misattribution of Arousal

Characteristics of Others (Part I): The Gleam of Praise

Characteristics of Others (Part II): Agreement Is Everything

Similarity: Do Birds of a Feather Flock Together?

Complementarity: Do Opposites Attract?

Phenomenon-Driven Approaches

Proximity: Marrying the Boy or Girl Next Door

Playing “Hard to Get”: Do We Love Those We Cannot Have?

The Allure of Secret Relationships

What Is So Lethal about Fatal Attractions?

 Chapter 5

Self-Presentation and Self-disclosure



Self-Presentation Norms

Self-Presentation in the Heat of Interaction

Detecting Deceit in Self-Presentation

Models of Self-Disclosure

Self-Disclosure as Social Penetration

Self-Disclosure Reciprocity

Individual Differences in Self-Disclosure

Gender-related differences



Anxiety, Trust, and Machiavellianism

Context Influences on Self-Disclosure

Self-Disclosure in Mature Relationships


Chapter 6

Fairness and Equity

The Nature of Resources Exchanged

Rewards and Costs

Variety of Resources Exchanged

Determining What Is Fair: Equity Theory

Establishing Whether There Is Equity

Do People Really Seek Equity?

Reactions to Inequity

Evaluating Relationship Outcomes: Comparison Levels

The Thibaut and Kelley Model

The Investment Model

Close Relationships as Communal Relationships

Giving and Receiving Benefits

Controversies Surrounding the Communal-Exchange Distinction


Chapter 7

Love and Emotion

Liking and Loving: A Conceptual Distinction

The Prototype of Love

Causal Theories of Love

     The Evolution of Love

Love as Misattribution of Arousal

Love as Preoccupation with the Other

Type Theories of Love

The Colors of Love

Primary Love Styles

Secondary Love Styles

Research on Love Styles

A Triangular Theory of Love

Passionate Love and Companionate Love

Individual Differences in Love


Differences Due to Age and Relationship Duration

Love over Time: Does It Get Better or Worse?

Beyond Love: A Quick Look at Guilt


Chapter 8


Patterns of Attachment in Infancy

Causes of Different Attachment Patterns

Adult Attachment

From Infant Attachment to Adult Attachment: Models of Transition

Consequences of Adult Attachment Styles

Attachment Style and Emotional Control

Attachment Style and Partner Choice

Attachment Styles, Relationship Satisfaction, and Stability


Chapter 9


Attitudes about Sex: A Brief History

A Brief History of Research on Sex

Alfred Kinsey: What We Do When the Lights Are Out

Sex in the United States Today

Sex Around the World

Sexual Interactions

                Sexual Pathways

Sexual Communication

Sex and the Married Couple: How Often Is Enough?

Extradyadic Sex

Sexual Orientation

The Social Construction of Sexual Orientation

Biological Essentialism

The Exotic Becomes Erotic: The EBE Theory of Sexual Orientation

Gay Brothers, but not Lesbian Sisters

Can a Straight Person Have a Same-sex Love Relationship?



Chapter 10

Communication and Relationship Management

Sex Differences in Communication

Interruptions: Let Me Finish, Please!            

Language Use and Conversation Management


Tag Questions

Qualifiers and Hedges


Emotionality and Support

Men and Women: Different Cultures, Different Planets, Different “Degrees?”

Different Cultures or Different Skills?

Managing Relationships

Transactive Memory in Close Relationships

Creating and Maintaining Satisfying Relationships




The Special Case of Long-Distance Relationships


Chapter 11

Fidelity and Jealousy

Fidelity and Jealousy across Time and Cultures


A Brief History of Jealousy

Defining Jealousy

Envy: I Want What I Cannot Have (or You Can’t Always Get What You Want…)

Sources of Jealousy:  The Jealous Person, the Partner, and the Rival

The Jealous Person

The Partner

The Rival

Social Cognitive Approaches to Jealousy

Reactions to Jealousy

      Gender Differences in Perceptions of Threat

Gender and Reactions to Infidelity:  Two Approaches

Gender and Reactions to Jealousy:  “Every breath you take, …I’ll be watching you.”

Coping with the Green-Eyed Monster

An Attachment Approach to Jealousy


Chapter 12

Relationship Violence and Abuse

Relationship Violence: Its Definition and Measurement

Consequences of Relationship Violence

Causes of Relationship Violence

Common Beliefs and Realities

Alcohol and Relationship Violence

The Macrocontext of Relationship Violence

The Microcontext of Relationship Violence: Individual Dispositions

The Need for Power

Power and Abuse


Sexual Violence

Sexual Harassment

Coercive Sex


Chapter 13


Conflict between Lovers versus Strangers

 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly: The Nature of Conflict in Intimate Relationships

Defining Conflict

From Order to Disorder: Types of Conflicts

Sources of Conflict: “I Said . . . , You Said . . .”

Gender and Conflict: “He Said . . . , She Said . . .”

Age and Conflict

Attribution and Conflict:  Partner-Level Sources of Conflict

Reactions to Conflict

Peterson’s Stage Model:  How We “Fight”

Expression versus Avoidance

What We Think and How We Feel

     Affect Reciprocity and Attributions

     Attachment Style and Conflict Resolution

Transforming Relationships—From Conflict to Growth

The Social Skill of Conflict Resolution

Conflict in Context

     Balance Theory of Marriage and Conflict

Transforming Relationships with Forgiveness—“Love means you should say you’re sorry”


Chapter 14

Dissolution and Its Aftermath

Dissolution of Intimate Relationships: The End of Romance

Causes of Dissolution

Barrier Models of Dissolution

Other Models of Dissolution

Evolutionary Approaches to Dissolution

Sex Differences in Dissolution

The Aftermath of Relationship Dissolution

Emotional Distress


Who Are the Lonely Hearts?

Feelings and Sources of Loneliness

Unrequited Love

In the Wake of Divorce

Divorce and Health

Structural and Sociological Factors Related to Divorce

Children of Divorce

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Intimate Relationships: Issues, Theories, and Research, CourseSmart eTextbook, 2nd Edition
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$48.99 | ISBN-13: 978-0-205-64812-2