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The things they do for love.

The things they do for love

A lot of people will tell you that it takes hard work to make a romantic relationship satisfying. Several psychological researchers will tell you that it takes more than that. The most satisfied couples, they say, contain individuals who consistently pay attention to their own emotions and motivations and those of their partners.

Stephen L. Franzoi and his colleagues at Indiana University in Bloomington used a series of questionnaires to analyze the influence of "private self-consciousness'--the tendency to focus on private aspects of oneself--and "perspective taking'--a disposition toward adopting the psychological point of view of others--on the members of 131 male-female couples attending the university. The couples were married, engaged or dating one another exclusively.

The investigators report in the June JOURNAL OF PERSONALITY AND SOCIAL PSYCHOLOGY that men and women who pay more attention to their private thoughts and feelings are more likely to disclose private aspects of themselves to their partners. Surprisingly, self-disclosers experienced more satisfaction with relationships but their revelations had little effect on their partners' feelings of satisfaction. There may be an important psychological need, say the researchers, to reveal one's "private self' to others, regardless of how the listeners are affected.

Perspective taking also aids relationships, they explain, by helping to ease tensions occasionally fanned by the collision of two different points of view. A considerate, tactful approach by females had a significant effect on male satisfaction, note the psychologists, while the same behavior by males had little impact on female satisfaction. In these couples, say Franzoi and co-workers, women may take the traditional role of attending to the nurturant, emotional needs of both members; men may still be primarily concerned with jobs and financial security.
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Title Annotation:psychological research on relationships
Publication:Science News
Date:Jun 22, 1985
Words:287
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