Ellen Berscheid's research while affiliated with University of Minnesota Duluth and other places

Publications (64)

Book
When Ellen and I published our 2005 textbook together, we were approached by many scholars and students in China who were eager for information on intimate relationships but who were working under conditions that were not supportive of or conducive to scientific investigation of relationship topics. We sent copies of our book as well as relationshi...
Article
Full-text available
It has often been suggested that individuals will prefer dates who play “hard-to-get.” Two experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that teen-agers will assume that a hard-to-get individual is more socially desirable than a person whose high regard is easily obtained. This hypothesis was not confirmed; the results were opposite to those pr...
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In 1972, the first major national study on body image was conducted under the auspices of Psychology Today. Body image was assessed with the Body Parts Satisfaction Scale, which examined the dissatisfaction people experienced with 24 aspects of their bodies. Despite the continued reliance on this scale and reference to the study, data on the factor...
Article
The lion's share of caregiving behavior takes place in the context of close, interdependent, interpersonal relationships, which usually are of significant duration. Thus, the relationship context of caregiving behavior needs to be taken into consideration in developing theories of human caregiving and in deriving hypotheses for empirical research....
Article
Psychologists' efforts to understand love began in the mid-twentieth century. The fact that they continue apace in the twenty-first century reflects increased awareness of the importance of love to understanding relationship phenomena and acknowledgment that an understanding of love has yet to be achieved. This article (a) describes one source of i...
Chapter
Close interpersonal relationships are the setting in which people most frequently experience intense emotions, both the positive emotions, such as joy and love, and the negative emotions, such as anger and fear. No other context in which people customarily live their lives appears to be as fertile a breeding ground for emotional experience as close...
Article
Although scholars' interest in love phenomena has continued to increase in recent years, a common conceptual language for the study of love has not yet emerged, as is evidenced by the large number of love taxonomies and associated vocabularies that have been advocated. A promising avenue for the development of a common scientific vocabulary of love...
Article
This article presents self-report scales for the assessment of perceived dependency and insecurity in a romantic relationship. These scales were originally developed many years ago (Fei & Berscheid, 1977) but were never published. The process of original scale development is summarized, and results from five studies (total N= 1,283; including data...
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The influence of social relationships on human development and behavior is receiving increased attention from psychologists, who are central contributors to the rapidly developing multidisciplinary field of relationship science. In this article, the authors selectively review some of the significant strides that have been made toward understanding...
Article
This article briefly outlines the salutary implications for psychology of the development of a science of interpersonal relationships, which has emerged as multidisciplinary in nature and international in scope. Discussed are the potentials of relationship science: to unite psychological scholars with other social, behavioral, and biological scient...
Article
The terms love and in love are often used in common discourse. A social categorical approach, whereby the actual members of an individual's social categories are examined, was used to investigate the differential meaning of these terms. It was hypothesized that (a) the membership of the love category would be larger than that of the in love categor...
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Only recently have researchers recognized that the qualities that are considered desirable in a short-term sexual partner may differ from those sought in a long-term marriage partner. To investigate this hypothesis, and to explore gender differences in what are considered to be sexually as opposed to maritally desirable characteristics, 70 men and...
Article
The approach many social psychologists take to interpersonal relationship phenomena differs from the approach sociologists traditionally have taken to marital and family relationships. Thus I must confess at the outset that despite having enjoyed a long geographical proximity to several important contributors to the field of marriage and the family...
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Little is known about how men women conceptualize sexual desire. This descriptive study explored beliefs about the nature of sexual desire. Participants defined sexual desire in a free response format. The results suggest that there is no single common understanding of sexual desire. In particular, although men and women conceptualize the state of...
Article
Little is known about the beliefs men and women have about the causes of sexual desire, despite the interpersonal and individual significance of those beliefs. Participants in this study received a definition of sexual desire and answered a set of free-response questions exploring their beliefs about the causal antecedents of male and female sexual...
Article
Knowledge about interpersonal relationships is currently encapsulated within type of relationship (e.g. romantic, parental), with relationship type confounded with disciplinary approach, with the characteristics of the partners usually found in that type of relationship, as well as with the nature of the relationship phenomena examined. It is argue...
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This study investigated whether longitudinal predictions of stability are improved when assessments of the relationship are obtained from both members of the couple rather than just from 1 partner and, if so, which partner's assessments are the most diagnostic of stability. Both partners in 120 dating couples provided self-report assessments on 16...
Chapter
“Entitlement,” according to the American Heritage Dictionary, is the “right to do or have something.” In a close relationship (CR), entitlement may be viewed as the kind of and quality of outcomes an individual believes he or she deserves to receive as a result of maintaining the relationship. Entitlement must be distinguished from the level of out...
Article
Presents a selective and informal retrospective on the rapid growth of social psychology from a discipline uncertain of its identity and future 25 yrs ago to the robust field it is today. The entry of women into the field, the cumulative nature of the growth of social psychological theory and research, as well as the expansion of social psychology'...
Article
Describes the development of the Relationship Closeness Inventory (RCI), which draws on the conceptualization of closeness as high interdependence between two people's activities proposed by Kelley et al. (1983). The current "closest" relationship of individuals ( N = 241) drawn from the college student population served as the basis for RCI develo...
Article
this chapter represents a beginning attempt to address the problems of identifying useful ways to conceptualize and to measure relationship closeness currently used means of identifying close relationships comparing and contrasting closeness assessment methods the "closest" relationships subjective estimates of the closeness of the closest...
Article
In two studies we examined the hypothesis that the psychological construct of self-monitoring would identify people who adopt distinctly different strategies in personnel selection. In both experiments, undergraduates examined information about the physical appearance and personalities of two applicants for a specific job and then decided which app...
Article
W. M. Kephart (1967) conducted a study in which women, much more so than men, reported that the absence of romantic love would not necessarily deter them from contracting a marriage. Two investigations reassessed these results by surveying 246 undergraduates in 1976 and 339 undergraduates in 1984. In these studies, most Ss of both sexes viewed roma...
Article
Tested the hypothesis that the construct of self-monitoring would identify individuals who characteristically adopt distinctly different orientations when initiating dating relationships. In each of 2 studies, low and high self-monitoring men chose a female partner for a date. In Study 1, attentional differences in the initial information-seeking s...
Chapter
These are, indeed, “hard times for lovers” as the contemporary song proclaims. The chance of an adult heterosexual close relationship (CR) surviving “until death do us part” is slimmer than ever before. The rate of marital dissolution in the United States has reached an all time high (Levinger & Moles, 1976; Norton & Glick, 1976), and the current r...
Article
82 female undergraduates were classified as repressors or sensitizers (by scores on the Repression-Sensitization Scale) and led to expect either some future interaction or no future interaction with negative and positive evaluators. It was predicted that repressors would avoid attending to negative evaluators when no future interaction was anticipa...
Article
Two experiments were conducted to examine the influence of male height on interpresonal attraction. In Experiment 1, short, medium, and tall women evaluated pictures of men whom they believed to be either short, medium, or tall. On the basis of previous research, it was predicted that women's attraction to the men would be an increasing linear func...
Article
Examined the self-fulfilling influences of social stereotypes on dyadic social interaction. Conceptual analysis suggests that a perceiver's actions based upon stereotype-generated attributions about a specific target individual may cause the behavior of that individual to confirm the perceiver's initially erroneous attributions. A paradigmatic inve...
Article
The experimental social psychological literature addresses many issues that bear upon the behavioral antecedents and consequences of privacy. As illustrations, theory and research in the area of social facilitation are discussed; the implications and promise of the recent sociobiological orientation within psychology for an understanding of privacy...
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Full-text available
Theoretical and empirical work on the processes by which dispositional characteristics are attributed to others has focused almost exclusively on how such processes proceed once the perceiver has been motivated to initiate them. The problem of identifying the factors which prompt the perceiver to engage in an attributional analysis in the first pla...
Article
The "law of infidelity," derived from E. Aronson's (1969) gain-loss theory of attraction, predicts that when 2 evaluators compete for the affections of an evaluatee, the one whose evaluations begin negatively but then become positive (a gain evaluator) will be liked more than a consistently positive evaluator. Experimental support for gain-loss the...
Chapter
This chapter discusses physical attractiveness in social interactions. Physical attractiveness is, in many ways, a homely variable. The physical attractiveness variable is unpretentious for at least two reasons. First, it is unlikely that it will be found to be orthogonal to other dimensions, primarily intelligence, socioeconomic status, and perhap...
Article
A subject was induced to publically report his opinions on a variety of issues. A group of confederates disagreed with the subject; one confederate agreed with him. Thus, the subject deviated from the majority of the group, but received social support from one other individual. Each subject was then paired with one individual from the previous grou...
Article
Most previous research has investigated the impact of physical attractiveness on young adults' first impressions of peers. The present study examined the relationship between physical attractiveness and peer perception at an earlier period of peer interaction in a setting where subjectes were personally acquainted. Using a picture-board sociometric...
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Full-text available
Describes a general theory of social behavior-equity theory-consisting of 4 propositions designed to predict when individuals will perceive that they are justly treated and how they will react when they find themselves enmeshed in unjust relationships. Research conducted to test equity theory is summarized. Ways in which equity theory interlocks wi...
Article
Discusses the American Psychological Association's ethical standards concerning the misleading of Ss with regard to experimental purposes or procedures, and proposes a "role-play sampling" procedure by which S's likelihood of consent to (and thereby the "reasonableness" of) a proposed experimental procedure can be determined in advance of actual ex...
Article
Examined whether physically attractive stimulus persons, both male and female, are (a) assumed to possess more socially desirable personality traits than physically unattractive stimulus persons, and (b) expected to lead better lives (e.g., be more competent husbands and wives and more successful occupationally) than unattractive stimulus persons....
Article
Activation level is typically assessed via the measurement of those physiological variables reputed to be activation indicants. To investigate the usefulness of self-reports of arousal level as an alternative means of activation measurement, 51 Ss made hourly reports of their subjective level of arousal while awake, across a four-day span. A circad...
Article
Discusses the proposal that high drive initiates an "autistic" perceptual process operating in the direction of drive gratification. It was hypothesized that (a) under conditions of high drive, perceptual distortion of drive-relevant objects occurs principally along drive-relevant dimensions; (b) the direction of distortion is toward enhancement of...
Article
Previous studies have failed to find support for the hypothesis, derived from Level of Aspiration Theory, that individuals chose to date those whose “social desirability” level is similar to their own. In the present experiments, which were designed to test the matching hypothesis, the salience of possible rejection by the dating choice was varied....
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Presents contradictory research findings of learning theorists, clinicians, and dissonance theorists concerning the relationship of self-esteem to interpersonal attraction and receptivity to affection. An alternative explanation is proposed and tested, based on the assumption that low self-esteem individuals are unusually receptive to affection whe...
Article
-Previous research has shown that individuals may reduce the distress they feel on harming another by making reparation to their victim, by justifying their harm-doing or by seeking punishment for the act. Prediction of which distress-reduction technique or which combination will be used has been facilitated by extending theoretical equity formulat...
Article
Previous research has shown that when a harm-doer is faced with the suffering of his victim. he will attempt to eliminate the inequity he has created by compensating the victim. When this is not possible, he will restore psychological equity by justifying the victim's suffering. It was suggested that equity can be restored if the victim can "get ev...
Article
Attempts to achieve cognitive consistency often entail at least some distortion of reality. Individuals who find themselves committed to an objectively unpleasant course of action, for example, may reduce their commitment-aroused dissonance by distorting the attractiveness of the commitment. To test whether or not such distortions increase the like...
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Full-text available
HYPOTHESIZED THAT IN SELECTING A DISSONANCE-REDUCTION TECHNIQUE, SS WILL SEARCH FOR A STABLE SOLUTION. GIVEN A CHOICE AMONG MODES OF DISSONANCE REDUCTION, THE S WILL SEARCH FOR A MODE WHICH IS UNCHALLENGED BY PRESENT EVENTS AND INFORMATION, AND WHICH IS UNLIKELY TO COME UNDER REALITY ATTACK IN THE FUTURE. TO TEST THIS NURSERY-SCHOOL SS MADE A DECIS...
Article
IT WAS HYPOTHESIZED THAT INDIVIDUALS WHO HAD HARMED ANOTHER PERSON WOULD BE MORE LIKELY TO COMPENSATE THEIR VICTIM IF THE AVAILABLE COMPENSATION MADE UP EXACTLY FOR THE HARM DONE THAN IF, IN ORDER TO COMPENSATE AT ALL, IT WAS NECESSARY TO GIVE THE VICTIM EITHER AN INSUFFICIENT OR AN EXCESSIVE COMPENSATION. SS WERE MEMBERS OF WOMEN'S CHURCH AUXILIAR...
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IT WAS HYPOTHESIZED THAT IF A PERSON WHO WAS EXTREMELY CONCERNED ABOUT HIS ADEQUACY IN SOCIAL SITUATIONS WAS GIVEN FALSE INFORMATION ABOUT HIS ADEQUACY AS PART OF AN EXPERIMENT, IT WOULD NOT BE EASY TO DEBRIEF HIM AT THE END OF THE EXPERIMENT. DEGREE OF CONCERN ABOUT ONE'S SOCIAL SKILLS WAS VARIED IN 2 WAYS: CONCERN WAS MANIPULATED AND HIGH-CONCERN...
Article
GIRLS WERE TOLD THAT THEY WERE ASSIGNED TO CONTINUING 2-PERSON DISCUSSION GROUPS TO DISCUSS STANDARDS OF ACCEPTABLE SEXUAL BEHAVIOR IN DATING SITUATIONS, AND THEY WERE EXPECTED TO CONTRIBUTE THEIR OWN PAST EXPERIENCES. BEFORE MEETING HER PARTNER, S READ A PERSONALITY DESCRIPTION OF THE PARTNER AND ANOTHER GIRL, AND MADE PERSONALITY TRAIT JUDGMENTS...
Article
Feelings of sexual desire, attraction, and lust play an important role in human lives and in many human relationships. This book reviews theory and research on the characteristics of sexual desire, the individual physical and mental factors of sexual desire, the various partner characteristics that incite sexual desire, and the association between...

Citations

... As part of this self-image, particular attention has been paid in recent years to what is known as dental aesthetics, particularly when the person is dissatisfied with it (10). The bibliography suggests that those who are satisfied with the appearance of their face have higher self-esteem (10,11). In the same way, poor dentofacial aesthetics has been associated with a greater psychosocial impact (12) and lower self-esteem in those who suffer from it (13,14). ...
... Individuals who believe that their partner must be ideal in all ways become less satisfied over time Sprecher & Metts, 1999). Unmet conceptions may be particularly challenging for couples facing problematic relationship characteristics, such as poor communication styles (Attridge & Berscheid, 1994;Kurdek, 1991;McNulty et al., 2004). Thus, unmet relationship ideals may contribute to a decline in satisfaction over the course of the relationship. ...
... According to Barich and Bielby (1996), the two highest expectations that both men and women have for marriage are love and affection. Both men and women expect intimacy as a primary, valuable, and necessary part of having a successful marriage, intimacy being identified by emotional closeness, mutual support, loving affection, familiarity, and freedom of self-expression (Berscheid & Campbell, 1981;Fowers, 2000;Wallerstein & Blakeslee, 1995). ...
... This tendency to approach partners appears similar to the approach behavior of reward sensitive individuals in the RST theory. Unlike intimacy and commitment, passion in intimate relationships reflects excitatory emotional arousal, in which individuals attribute the cause of their emotional arousal to their partner (Berscheid and Walster, 1974). In the classic suspension bridge experiments, male passersby were approached on either a fear-arousing suspension bridge or a non-fear-arousing bridge by an attractive female interviewer who asked them to fill out questionnaires containing Thematic Apperception Test (TAT) pictures. ...
... The surveyed girls were most often dissatisfied with their legs, buttocks, and abdomen. Similar to the presented study, young women surveyed by Frederick et al. (2014) and by Jośko-Ochojska et al. (2013) rated the shapes of their abdomen, thighs, and hips the lowest. Frederick et al. (2014) found that in the case of women, dissatisfaction with the middle and lower torso affects the dissatisfaction with their body to the greatest extent. ...
... However, when a third actor is involved in the interaction, the preoccupation for one's interest is maintained along with the increased concern for the consequences produced in the victim. De Hooge et al.'s [7] conceptualization is in line with Walster et al.'s [67,68] work showing that when a transgressor experiences guilt, their behavior is motivated by the desire to restore equity and by the desire to maximize their outcomes, as well. The transgressor, thus, will try to repair the relationship by acting prosocially at the expense of the third individual in the social surroundings. ...
... Interpersonal attraction refers to a person's appreciation and positive feelings toward others [76]. The effect of a student's sense of interpersonal attraction toward their instructor on learning outcomes is covered in previous studies [62]. ...
... In psychology, for example, evolutionary theory continues to be a hotly debated and contested perspective that engenders as much controversy as promise. To wit, academic troops still battle over whether evolution can inform our understanding of gender differences (e.g., Eagly & Wood 2003), social bonds (Berscheid 2006;, or altruism (Batson 2006). And the controversy does not stop there. ...
... Practically in all social encounters, our physical appearance is regarded as one of the personal attributes that are evident and approachable to others (Berscheid & Walster, 1974). The degree to which a person's physical traits are deemed aesthetically acceptable or lovely is referred to as physical attractiveness (Li, Zhang, & Fang, 2022). ...
... The idea of caring for also is consistent with the construct emotional care, which psychologists are increasingly recognizing for its importance in two-person relationships, such as that between parent and child (Bell & Richard, 2000;Berscheid & Collins, 2000;Itziar, et al., 2006;Noller & Feeney, 2000;Shaver & Fraley, 2000). I: What does being a good father mean to you? R: Well, a lot. ...