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Relationship may refer to:
Casual relationship, a.k.a. causality
Relational model for database design
Customer relationship management
List of basic relationship topics
An interpersonal relationship is a relatively long-term association between two or more people. This association may be based on emotions like love and liking, regular business interactions, or some other type of social commitment. Interpersonal relationships take place in a great variety of contexts, such as family, friends, marriage, acquaintances, work, clubs, neighborhoods, and churches. They may be regulated by law, custom, or mutual agreement, and are the basis of social groups and society as a whole. Although humans are fundamentally social creatures, interpersonal relationships are not always healthy. Examples of unhealthy relationships include abusive relationships and codependence.
A relationship is normally viewed as a connection between two individuals, such as a romantic or intimate relationship, or a parent-child relationship. Individuals can also have relationships with groups of people, such as the relation between a pastor and his congregation, an uncle and a family, or a mayor and a town. Finally, groups or even nations may have relations with each other, though this is a much broader domain than that covered under the topic of interpersonal relationships. See such articles as international relations for more information on associations between groups. Most scholarly work on relationships focuses on romantic partners in pairs or dyads. These intimate relationships are, however, only a small subset of interpersonal relationships.
All relationships involve some level of interdependence. People in a relationship tend to influence each other, share their thoughts and feelings, and engage in activities together. Because of this interdependence, anything that changes or impacts one member of the relationship will have some level of impact on the other member. The study of interpersonal relationships involves several branches of social science, including such disciplines as sociology, psychology, anthropology, and social work.
4 See also
6 External links
Close relationships are important for emotional wellbeing throughout the lifespan.Interpersonal relationships include kinship and family relations in which people become associated by genetics or consanguinity. These include such roles as father, mother, son, or daughter. Relationships can also be established by marriage, such as husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, uncle by marriage, or aunt by marriage. They may be formal long-term relationships recognized by law and formalized through public ceremony, such as marriage or civil union. They may also be informal long-term relationships such as loving relationships or romantic relationships with or without living together. In these cases the “other person” is often called lover, boyfriend, or girlfriend, as distinct from just a male or female friend, or “significant other”. If the partners live together, the relationship may resemble marriage, with the parties possibly even called husband and wife. Scottish common law can regard such couples as actual marriages after a period of time. Long-term relationships in other countries can become known as common-law marriages, although they may have no special status in law. The term mistress may refer in a somewhat old-fashioned way to a female lover of an already married or unmarried man. A mistress may have the status of an “official mistress” (in French maîtresse en titre); as exemplified by the career of Madame de Pompadour.
Friendships consist of mutual liking, trust, respect, and often even love and unconditional acceptance. They usually imply the discovery or establishment of similarities or common ground between the individuals. Internet friendships and pen-pals may take place at a considerable physical distance. Brotherhood and sisterhood can refer to individuals united in a common cause or having a common interest, which may involve formal membership in a club, organization, association, society, lodge, fraternity, or sorority. This type of interpersonal relationship relates to the comradeship of fellow soldiers in peace or war. Partners or co-workers in a profession, business, or common workplace also have a long term interpersonal relationship.
Soulmates are individuals intimately drawn to one another through a favorable meeting of minds and who find mutual acceptance and understanding with one another. Soulmates may feel themselves bonded together for a lifetime and hence may become sexual partners, but not necessarily. Casual relationships are sexual relationships extending beyond one-night stands that exclusively consist of sexual behavior. One can label the participants as “friends with benefits” or as friends “hooking up” when limited to sexual intercourse, or regard them as sexual partners in a wider sense. Platonic love is an affectionate relationship into which the sexual element does not enter, especially in cases where one might easily assume otherwise.
Psychologists have suggested that all humans have a motivational drive to form and maintain caring interpersonal relationships. According to this view, people need both stable relationships and satisfying interactions with the people in those relationships. If either of these two ingredients is missing, people will begin to feel anxious, lonely, depressed, and unhappy.
According to attachment theory, relationships can be viewed in terms of attachment styles that develop during early childhood. These patterns are believed to influence interactions throughout adulthood by shaping the roles people adopt in relationships. For example, one partner may be securely attached while the other is anxious and avoidant. Thus, early childhood experience (primarily with parents) is believed to have long lasting effects on all future relationships.
Social exchange theory interprets relationships in terms of exchanged benefits. It predicts that people regard relationships in terms of rewards obtained from the relationship, as well as potential rewards from alternate relationships. Equity theory stems from a criticism of social exchange theory and suggests that people care about more than just maximizing rewards. They also want fairness and equity in their relationships.
Relational dialectics regards relationships not as static entities, but as continuing processes, forever changing. This approach sees constant tension in the negotiation of three main issues: autonomy vs. connection, novelty vs. predictability, and openness vs. closedness.
Interpersonal relationships are dynamic systems that change continuously during their existence. Like living organisms, relationships have a beginning, a lifespan, and an end. They tend to grow and improve gradually, as people get to know each other and become closer emotionally, or they gradually deteriorate as people drift apart and form new relationships with others. One of the most influential models of relationship development was proposed by psychologist, George Levinger. This model was formulated to describe heterosexual, adult romantic relationships, but it has been applied to other kinds of interpersonal relations as well. According to the model, the natural development of a relationship follows five stages:
1.Acquaintance – Becoming acquainted depends on previous relationships, physical proximity, first impressions, and a variety of other factors. If two people begin to like each other, continued interactions may lead to the next stage, but acquaintance can continue indefinitely.
2.Buildup – During this stage, people begin to trust and care about each other. The need for compatibility and such filtering agents as common background and goals will influence whether or not interaction continues.
3.Continuation – This stage follows a mutual commitment to a long term friendship, romantic relationship, or marriage. It is generally a long, relative stable period. Nevertheless, continued growth and development will occur during this time. Mutual trust is important for sustaining the relationship.
4.Deterioration – Not all relationships deteriorate, but those that do tend to show signs of trouble. Boredom, resentment, and dissatisfaction may occur, and individuals may communicate less and avoid self-disclosure. Loss of trust and betrayals may take place as the downward spiral continues.
5.Termination – The final stage marks the end of the relationship, either by death in the case of a healthy relationship, or by separation.
Friendships may involve some degree of transitivity. In other words, a person may become a friend of an existing friend’s friend. However, if two people have a sexual relationship with the same person, they may become competitors rather than friends. Accordingly, sexual behavior with the sexual partner of a friend may damage the friendship (see love triangle). Sexual relations between two friends tend to alter that relationship, either by “taking it to the next level” or by severing it. Sexual partners may also be classified as friends and the sexual relationship may either enhance or depreciate the friendship.
Legal sanction reinforces and regularizes marriages and civil unions as perceived “respectable” building-blocks of society. In the United States of America, for example, the de-criminalization of homosexual sexual relations in the Supreme Court decision, Lawrence v. Texas (2003) facilitated the mainstreaming of gay long-term relationships, and broached the possibility of the legalization of same-sex marriages in that country.
List of basic relationship topics
Affection is a “disposition or state of mind or body” that is often associated with a feeling or type of love. It has given rise to a number of branches of meaning concerning: emotion (popularly: love, devotion etc); disease; influence; state of being (philosophy); and state of mind (psychology) Affect (psychology).
2 Affectionate behavior
4 See also
5 Further reading
A kiss can express affection.”Affection” is popularly used to denote a feeling or type of love, amounting to more than goodwill or friendship. Writers on ethics generally use the word to refer to distinct states of feeling, both lasting and spasmodic. Some contrast it with passion as being free from the distinctively sensual element. More specifically the word has been restricted to emotional states the object of which is a person. In the former sense, it is the Greek “pathos” and as such it appears in the writings of French philosopher René Descartes, Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza, and most of the writings of early British ethicists. However, on various grounds (e.g., that it does not involve anxiety or excitement and that it is comparatively inert and compatible with the entire absence of the sensuous element), it is generally and usefully distinguished from passion. In this narrower sense the word has played a great part in ethical systems, which have spoken of the social or parental affections as in some sense a part of moral obligation. For a consideration of these and similar problems, which depend ultimately on the degree in which the affections are regarded as voluntary, see H. Sidgwick, Methods of Ethics pp. 345–349.
Numerous behaviors are used by people to express affection. Some theories suggest that affectionate behavior evolved from parental nurturing behavior due to its associations with hormonal rewards with research verifying that expressions of affection, although commonly evaluated positively, can be considered negative if they pose implied threats to one’s well being. Furthermore, affectionate behavior in positively valenced relationships may be associated with numerous health benefits. Other, more loving type gestures of affectionate behavior include obvious signs of liking a person.
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In psychology the terms affection and affective are of great importance. As all intellectual phenomena have by experimentalists been reduced to sensation, so all emotion has been and is regarded as reducible to simple mental affection, the element of which all emotional manifestations are ultimately composed. The nature of this element is a problem which has been provisionally, but not conclusively, solved by many psychologists; the method is necessarily experimental, and all experiments on feeling are peculiarly difficult. The solutions proposed are two. In the first, all affection phenomena are primarily divisible into those which are pleasurable and those which are the reverse. The main objections to this are that it does not explain the infinite variety of phenomena, and that it disregards the distinction which most philosophers admit between higher and lower pleasures. The second solution is that every sensation has its specific affective quality, though by reason of the poverty of language many of these have no name. W. Wundt, Outlines of Psychology (trans. C. H. Judd, Leipzig, 1897), maintains that we may group under three main affective directions, each with its negative, all the infinite varieties in question; these are (a) pleasure, or rather pleasantness, and displeasure, (b) tension and relaxation, (c) excitement and depression. These two views are antithetic and no solution has been discovered.
American psychologist Henry Murray (1893–1988) developed a theory of personality that was organized in terms of motives, presses, and needs. According to Murray, these psychogenic needs function mostly on the unconscious level, but play a major role in our personality. Murray classified five affection needs:
1.Affiliation: Spending time with other people.
2.Nurturance: Taking care of another person.
3.Play: Having fun with others.
4.Rejection: Rejecting other people.
5.Succorance: Being helped or protected by others
Two methods of experiment on affection have been tried:
1.The first, introduced by A. Mosso, the Italian psychologist, consists in recording the physical phenomena which are observed to accompany modifications of the affective consciousness. Thus it is found that the action of the heart is accelerated by pleasant, and retarded by unpleasant, stimuli; again, changes of weight and volume are found to accompany modifications of affection—and so on. Apart altogether from the facts that this investigation is still in its infancy and that the conditions of experiment are insufficiently understood, its ultimate success is rendered highly problematical by the essential fact that real scientific results can be achieved only by data recorded in connection with a perfectly normal subject; a conscious or interested subject introduces variable factors which are probably incalculable.
2.The second is Fechner’s method; it consists of recording the changes in feeling-tone produced in a subject by bringing him in contact with a series of conditions, objects or stimuli graduated according to a scientific plan and presented singly in pairs or in groups. The result is a comparative table of likes and dislikes.
Mention should also be made of a third method which has hardly yet been tried, namely, that of endeavouring to isolate one of the three directions by the method of suggestion or even hypnotic trance observations.
Attachment theory, originating in the work of John Bowlby, is a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory that provides a descriptive and explanatory framework for understanding interpersonal relationships between human beings. Attachment theorists consider the human infant to have a need for a secure relationship with adult caregivers, without which normal social and emotional development will not occur.
Within attachment theory, infant behaviour associated with attachment is primarily a process of proximity seeking to an identified attachment figure in stressful situations, for the purpose of survival. Infants become attached to adults who are sensitive and responsive in social interactions with the infant, and who remain as consistent caregivers for some months during the period from about six months to two years of age. During the later part of this period, children begin to use attachment figures (familiar people) as a secure base to explore from and return to. Parental responses lead to the development of patterns of attachment which in turn lead to internal working models which will guide the individual’s feelings, thoughts and expectations in later relationships. Separation anxiety or grief following serious loss are normal and natural responses in an attached infant. An extreme deficit in appropriate parenting can lead to a lack of attachment behaviours in a child and may result in the rare disorder known as reactive attachment disorder.
Father and babyDevelopmental psychologist Mary Ainsworth, an important figure in the formulation and development of attachment theory, introduced the concept of the “secure base” and developed a theory of a number of attachment patterns or “styles” in infants in which distinct characteristics were identified; these were secure attachment, avoidant attachment, anxious attachment and, later, disorganised attachment. Other theorists subsequently extended attachment theory to adults. Methods exist for measurement of attachment patterns in older infants and adults, although measurement in middle childhood is problematic. In addition to care-seeking by children, one may construe other interactions as including some components of attachment behaviour; these include peer relationships of all ages, romantic and sexual attraction, and responses to the care needs of infants or sick or elderly adults.
In order to formulate a comprehensive theory of the nature of early attachments, Bowlby explored a range of fields including evolution by natural selection, object relations theory (psychoanalysis), control systems theory, evolutionary biology and the fields of ethology and cognitive psychology. There were preliminary papers from 1958 onwards but Bowlby published the full theory in the trilogy Attachment and Loss, 1969–82. Although in the early days academic psychologists criticized Bowlby and the psychoanalytic community ostracised him, attachment theory has become the dominant approach to understanding early social development and given rise to a great surge of empirical research into the formation of children’s close relationships. There have been significant modifications as a result of empirical research but attachment concepts have become generally accepted. Criticism of attachment theory has been sporadic, some of it relating to an early precursor hypothesis called “maternal deprivation”, published in 1951. Past criticism came particularly from within psychoanalysis, and from ethologists in the 1970s. More recent criticism relates to the complexity of social relationships within family settings, and the limitations of discrete patterns for classifications. There are current efforts to evaluate a number of interventions and treatment approaches, that are based on applications of attachment theory.
2 Attachment patterns
3 Changes in attachment after the infant-toddler period
4 Attachment in adults
5.1 Earlier theories
5.2 Early developments
5.3 Attachment theory
5.3.3 Internal working model
6.1 Effects of changing times and approaches
7 Criticism and controversy
7.1 Criticism from the 1950s to the 1970s
7.2 Criticism from specific disciplines
7.2.3 Cognitive development
7.3 Criticism of methodology
7.4 Criticism from the 1990s on
8 Attachment theory in clinical practice
8.1 Clinical practice in children
8.2 Reactive attachment disorder
8.3 Attachment disorder
8.4 Clinical practice in adults
9 See also
12 Further reading
13 External links
Within attachment theory, attachment means a bond or tie between an individual and an attachment figure. Between two adults, such bonds may be reciprocal and mutual; however, as felt by children toward a parental or caregiving figure, such bonds are likely to be asymmetric. The reason for this is inherent in the theory: it proposes that the need for safety and protection, which is paramount in infancy and childhood, is the basis of the bond. The theory posits that children attach to carers instinctively, with respect to ways of achieving security, survival and, ultimately, genetic replication. Attachment theory is not intended as an exhaustive description of human relationships, nor is it synonymous with love and affection; these may indicate that bonds exist but the bonds proposed by the theory presuppose needs. In the case of child-to-adult relationships, the child’s tie is the “attachment” and the caregiver’s reciprocal equivalent is referred to as the “caregiving bond”.
Almost from the first, many children have more than one figure towards whom they direct attachment behaviour, but these figures are arranged in hierarchical order with the “principal attachment figure” at the top. If the figure is unavailable or unresponsive, separation distress occurs and the anticipation of such an occurrence arouses separation anxiety. Bowlby distinguished between alarm and anxiety: “alarm” was the term he used for activation of the attachment behavioural system caused by fear of danger, while “anxiety” was the fear of being cut off from the attachment figure (caregiver).
FamilyInfants will form attachments to any consistent caregiver who is sensitive and responsive in social interactions with the infant. The quality of the social engagement appears to be more influential than amount of time spent. Although it is usual for the principal attachment figure to be the biological mother, the role can be taken anybody who behaves in a “mothering” way over a consistent period, a set of behaviours that involve engaging in lively social interaction with the infant and responding readily to signals and approaches. Attachment theory accepts the customary primacy of the mother as the main caregiver and therefore the person who interacts most with a young child, but there is nothing in the theory to suggest that fathers are not equally likely to become principal attachment figures if they happen to provide most of the childcare and related social interaction.
The attachment behavioural system serves to maintain or achieve closer proximity to the attachment figure, although its many diverse behaviours may be used in other behaviour systems. Attachment has also been described as an attitude, or readiness for certain behaviours, that one person displays toward another. This attitude involves seeking proximity to the attachment figure and may include a variety of other attachment behaviours. However many attachment behaviours are likely to occur only in threatening or uncomfortable circumstances such as the approach of an unfamiliar person. Thus, attachment may be present without being displayed behaviourally, and it may be impossible to measure its presence without creating such circumstances.
Infant exploration is greater when the caregiver is present; with the caregiver present, the infant’s attachment system is relaxed and it is free to explore. If the caregiver is inaccessible or unresponsive, attachment behaviour is strongly activated. Between the ages of six months to two years, the child’s behaviour towards the caregiver becomes organised on a goal-directed basis to achieve the conditions that make it feel secure. With the development of locomotion the infant begins to use the caregiver or caregivers as a safe base from which to explore. In adolescents, the role of the caregiver is to be available when needed while the adolescent makes sorties into the outside world.
Attachment theory uses a set of assumptions to connect observable human social behaviours; listed as follows:
1.Adaptiveness: Common human attachment behaviours and emotions are adaptive. Evolution of human beings has involved selection for social behaviours that make individual or group survival more likely. For example, the commonly observed attachment behaviour of toddlers includes staying near familiar people; this behaviour would have had safety advantages in the environment of early adaptation, and has such advantages today. Bowlby termed proximity-seeking to the attachment figure in the face of threat to be the “set-goal” of the attachment behavioural system. There is a survival advantage in the capacity to sense possibly dangerous conditions such as unfamiliarity, being alone or rapid approach, and such conditions are likely to activate the attachment behavioural system causing the infant or child to seek proximity to the attachment figure.
2.Critical period: Certain changes in attachment, such as the infant’s coming to prefer a familiar caregiver and avoid strangers, are most likely to occur within the period between the ages of about six months and two or three years. Bowlby’s sensitivity period has been modified to a less “all or nothing” approach. Although there is a sensitive period during which it is highly desirable that selective attachments develop, the time frame is probably broader and the effects not so fixed and irreversible. With further research,authors discussing attachment theory have come to appreciate that social development is affected by later as well as earlier relationships.
3.Robustness of development: Attachment to and preferences for some familiar people are easily developed by most young humans, even under far less than ideal circumstances.
4.Experience as essential factor in attachment: Infants in their first months have no preference for their biological parents over strangers and are equally friendly to anyone who treats them kindly. Human beings develop preferences for particular people, and behaviours which solicit their attention and care, over a considerable period of time.
5.Monotropy: Early steps in attachment take place most easily if the infant has one caregiver, or the occasional care of a small number of other people. According to Bowlby, almost from the first many children have more than one figure towards whom they direct attachment behaviour; these figures are not treated alike and there is a strong bias for a child to direct attachment behaviour mainly towards one particular person. Bowlby used the term “monotropy” to describe this bias to attach primarily to one figure. Researchers and theorists have effectively abandoned this concept insofar as it may be taken to mean that the relationship with the special figure differs qualitatively from that of other figures. Rather, current thinking postulates definite hierarchies of relationships.
6.Social interactions as cause of attachment: Feeding and relief of an infant’s pain do not cause an infant to become attached to a caregiver. Infants become attached to adults who are sensitive and responsive in social interactions with the infant, and who remain as consistent caregivers for some time.
7.Internal working model: Early experiences with caregivers gradually give rise to a system of thoughts, memories, beliefs, expectations, emotions, and behaviours about the self and others. This system, called the internal working model of social relationships, continues to develop with time and experience and enables the child to handle new types of social interactions. For example, a child’s internal working model helps him or her to know that an infant should be treated differently from an older child, or to understand that interactions with a teacher can share some of the characteristics of an interaction with a parent. An adult’s internal working model continues to develop and to help cope with friendships, marriage, and parenthood, all of which involve different behaviours and feelings.
8.Transactional processes: As attachment behaviours change with age, they do so in ways shaped by relationships, not by individual experiences. A child’s behaviour when reunited with a caregiver after a separation is determined not only by how the caregiver has treated the child before, but on the history of effects the child has had on the caregiver in the past.
9.Consequences of disruption: In spite of the robustness of attachment, significant separation from a familiar caregiver, or frequent changes of caregiver that prevent development of attachment, may result in psychopathology at some point in later life.
10.Developmental changes: Specific attachment behaviours begin with predictable, apparently innate, behaviour in infancy, but change with age in ways that are partly determined by experiences and by situational factors. For example, a toddler is likely to cry when separated from his mother, but an eight-year-old is more likely to call out, “When are you coming back to pick me up?” or to turn away and begin the familiar school day.
See also: Attachment measures
Mary Ainsworth’s innovative methodology and comprehensive observational studies, particularly those undertaken in Scotland and the Ganda, informed much of the theory, expanded its concepts and enabled its tenets to be empirically tested. She conducted research based on Bowlby’s early formulation and identified different attachment styles or patterns which are not, strictly speaking, part of attachment theory but are very closely identified with it.
Infant exploring a bookShe devised a protocol known as the Strange Situation Protocol, still used today to assess attachment patterns in children, as the laboratory portion of a larger study that included extensive home visitations over the first year of the child’s life. Her studies identified three attachment patterns that a child may have with its primary attachment figure: secure, anxious-avoidant (insecure) and anxious-ambivalent (insecure). Her work in the USA attracted many scholars into the field, inspiring research and challenging the dominance of behaviouralism.
Further research by Dr. Mary Main and colleagues at the University of California, Berkeley identified a fourth attachment pattern, called disorganised/disoriented attachment, which reflects these children’s lack of a coherent coping strategy.
Other methods have been developed for the assessment of patterns in children beyond the age of 18 months. Research from the Minnesota longitudinal study assessed children at 12 and 18 months, four years, middle childhood, 13 years and 15 years and followed children into the school environment. Securely attached children were the least isolated and most popular, the most likely to respond empathically and the least likely to bully or be bullied. Bullies were most likely to be classified as anxious–avoidant and victims as anxious–ambivalent.
More recent research sought to ascertain the extent to which a parent’s attachment classification is predictive of their children’s classification; it found that parents’ perceptions of their own childhood attachments predicted their children’s attachment classifications 75% of the time. Each of the attachment patterns is associated with certain characteristic patterns of behaviour, as described in the following table:
Child and caregiver behaviour patterns Attachment
pattern Child Caregiver
Secure Protests caregiver’s departure and is comforted on return, returning to exploration. Responds appropriately, promptly and consistently to needs.
Avoidant Little or no distress on departure, little or no visible response to return. Quality of play often low. Little or no response to distressed child. Discourages crying and encourages independence.
Ambivalent Sadness on departure but warms to stranger. On return, ambivalence, anger, reluctance to warm to caregiver and return to play. Preoccupied with caregiver’s availability. Inconsistent between appropriate and neglectful responses.
Disorganised Stereotypies on return such as freezing or rocking. Lack of coherent coping strategy (such as approaching but with the back turned). Frightened or frightening behaviour, intrusiveness, withdrawal, negativity, role confusion, affective communication errors and maltreatment.
Some authors have suggested continuous rather than categorical gradations between attachment patterns, and have discussed dimensions of underlying security rather than the classifications derived from Ainsworth’s work.
Changes in attachment after the infant-toddler period
According to Bowlby’s theory, the child’s early experience of social interactions with familiar people leads to the development of an internal working model of social relationships, a set of ideas and feelings that establish the individual’s expectations about relationships, the behaviour of others toward him or her, and the behaviours appropriate for him or her to show to others. Age, cognitive growth, and continued social experience advance the development and complexity of the internal working model. As the internal working model of relationships advances, attachment-related behaviours lose some of the characteristics so typical of the infant-toddler period, and take on a series of age-related tendencies.
Peer groupsIn considering the development of attachment behaviour and the internal working model after the toddler period, theorists have posited that the preschool period involves the use of negotiation, bargaining, and compromise as part of attachment behaviour, and that these social skills ideally become incorporated into the internal working model of social relationships, to be used with other children and later with adult peers. As children move into the school years, most develop a goal-corrected partnership with parents, in which each partner is willing to give up some desires in order to maintain the relationship in a gratifying form. Incorporation of this type of partnership into the internal working model prepares the growing child for later mature friendships, marriage, and parenthood. The mature internal working model of social relationships thus advances far beyond the basic desire to maintain proximity to familiar people, although this type of behaviour may continue to be present in times of threat or pain.
Relationships with peers have an influence distinct from that of parents but parent-child relationships can influence the peer relationships children form. For example, secure attachment status is said to promote social competence and positive peer relationships. Relationships formed with peers influence the acquisition of social skills, intellectual development and the formation of social identity. Classification of children’s peer status (popular, neglected or rejected) has been found to predict subsequent adjustment; however, as with attachment to parental figures, subsequent experiences may well alter the course of development.
Attachment in adults
See also: Attachment in adults and Attachment measures
Attachment theory was extended to adult romantic relationships in the late 1980s by Cindy Hazan and Phillip Shaver. Four styles of attachment have been identified in adults: secure, anxious-preoccupied, dismissive-avoidant, and fearful-avoidant.
CoupleInvestigators have explored the organisation and the stability of mental working models that underlie these attachment styles. They have also explored how attachment functions in relationship dynamics and impacts relationship outcomes. Generally the concept of attachment style is used by social psychologists interested in romantic attachment, and the concept of attachment status by developmental psychologists interested in the individual’s state of mind with respect to attachment. The latter is more stable, while the former fluctuates more.
Some authors have suggested that adults’ internal working models do not involve a single perspective, but instead entail a hierarchy of models containing general ideas about close relationships, and within those, information related to specific relationships or even specific events within a relationship. One interesting idea about the hierarchy of models is that information at different levels need not be consistent.
Attachment in adults is commonly measured using the Adult Attachment Interview and self-report questionnaires. Self-report questionnaires have identified two dimensions of attachment, one dealing with anxiety about the relationship, and the other with avoidance in the relationship. Adult attachment research uses a wide variety of attachment measures. The most popular measure in social psychological research is the Experiences in Close Relationships-Revised scale.
Main article: History of attachment theory
 Earlier theories
The concept of infants’ emotional attachment to caregivers has been known anecdotally for hundreds of years. Most early observers from the 1940s onward focused on the anxiety displayed by infants and toddlers when threatened with separation from a familiar caregiver. From the late nineteenth century onward, psychologists and psychiatrists suggested theories about attachment. Freudian theory attempted a systematic consideration of infant attachment and attributed the infant’s attempts to stay near the familiar person to motivation learned through feeding experiences and gratification of libidinal drives.
Parents and childIn the 1930s, the British developmentalist Ian Suttie put forward the suggestion that the child’s need for affection was a primary one, not based on hunger or other physical gratifications. William Blatz, a Canadian psychologist and teacher of Bowlby’s colleague Mary Ainsworth, was among the first to stress the need for security as a normal part of personality at all ages, as well as normality of the use of others as a secure base and the importance of social relationships for other aspects of development.
A third theory prevalent at the time of Bowlby’s development of attachment theory was “dependency”. This approach posited that infants were dependent on adult caregivers but that dependency was, or should be, outgrown as the individual matured. Such an approach perceived attachment behaviour in older children as regressive, whereas attachment theory assumes that older children and adults retain attachment behaviour and display it in stressful situations; indeed, a secure attachment is associated with independent exploratory behaviour rather than dependence. Current attachment theory focuses on social experiences in early childhood as the source of attachment in childhood and in later life. Bowlby developed attachment theory as a consequence of his dissatisfaction with existing theories of early relationships.
The early thinking of the object relations school of psychoanalysis and of Melanie Klein, in particular, influenced Bowlby. However he profoundly disagreed with the then prevalent psychoanalytic belief that infants’ responses relate to their internal fantasy life rather than to real-life events. As Bowlby began to formulate his concept of attachment, he was influenced by many case studies on disturbed and delinquent children, including his own and those of Goldfarb. Bowlby’s contemporary René Spitz made observations of separated children’s grief and proposed that “psychotoxic” results were brought about by inappropriate experiences of early care. A strong influence was the work of social worker and psychoanalyst James Robertson who filmed the effects of separation on children in hospital and collaborated with Bowlby in making the 1952 documentary film A Two-Year Old Goes to the Hospital which was instrumental in a campaign to alter hospital restrictions on visiting by parents.
In his 1951 monograph for the World Health Organisation, Maternal Care and Mental Health, Bowlby put forward the hypothesis that “the infant and young child should experience a warm, intimate, and continuous relationship with his mother (or permanent mother substitute) in which both find satisfaction and enjoyment” and that lack of this experience may have significant and irreversible mental health consequences. This proposition was influential in terms of the effect on the institutional care of children, but highly controversial. There was limited empirical data at the time and no comprehensive theory to account for such a conclusion.
Following the publication of Maternal Care and Mental Health, Bowlby sought new understanding from such fields as evolutionary biology, ethology, developmental psychology, cognitive science and control systems theory; he drew upon these to formulate the innovative proposition that the mechanisms underlying an infant’s tie emerged as a result of evolutionary pressure. He realised that he had to develop a new theory of motivation and behaviour control, built on up-to-date science rather than the outdated psychic energy model espoused by Freud. Bowlby argued that he had made good the “deficiencies of the data and the lack of theory to link alleged cause and effect” in “Maternal Care and Mental Health” in his later work “Attachment and Loss” published between 1969 and 1980.
The formal origin of attachment theory can be traced to the publication of two 1958 papers: Bowlby’s The Nature of the Child’s Tie to his Mother, in which the precursory concepts of “attachment” were introduced, and Harry Harlow’s The Nature of Love, based on the results of experiments which showed, approximately, that infant rhesus monkeys spent more time with soft mother-like dummies that offered no food than they did with dummies that provided a food source but were less pleasant to touch. Bowlby followed this up with two more papers, Separation Anxiety (1960a), and Grief and Mourning in Infancy and Early Childhood (1960b). At about the same time, Bowlby’s former colleague Mary Ainsworth was completing extensive observational studies on the nature of infant attachments in Uganda with Bowlby’s ethological theories in mind. Ainsworth’s innovative methodology and comprehensive observational studies informed much of the theory, expanded its concepts and enabled some of its tenets to be empirically tested. Attachment theory was finally presented in 1969 in Attachment, the first volume of the Attachment and Loss trilogy. The second and third volumes, Separation: Anxiety and Anger and Loss: Sadness and Depression followed in 1972 and 1980 respectively. Attachment was revised in 1982 to incorporate more recent research.
Bowlby’s attention was first drawn to ethology when he read Konrad Lorenz’s 1952 publication in draft form (although Lorenz had published much earlier work). Soon after this he encountered the work of Nikolaas Tinbergen, and began to collaborate with Robert Hinde. In 1953 Bowlby stated “the time is ripe for a unification of psychoanalytic concepts with those of ethology, and to pursue the rich vein of research which this union suggests”.
Lorenz and his imprinted geeseKonrad Lorenz had examined the phenomenon of “imprinting” and felt that it might have some parallels to human attachment. Imprinting, a behaviour characteristic of some birds and a very few mammals, involves rapid learning of recognition and tendency to follow, by a young bird or animal exposed to a conspecific or an object or organism that behaves suitably. The learning is possible only within a limited age range, known as a critical period. On maturity, courtship behaviour is directed toward objects that resemble the imprinting object. Bowlby’s attachment concepts later included the ideas that attachment involves learning from experience during a limited age period, and that the learning that occurs during that time influences adult behaviour. However, he did not apply the imprinting concept in its entirety to human attachment, nor assume that human development was as simple as that of birds. He did, however, consider that attachment behaviour was best explained as instinctive in nature, an approach that does not rule out the effect of experience, but that stresses the readiness the young child brings to social interactions. Over time it became apparent there were more differences than similarities between attachment theory and imprinting and the analogy was dropped.
Evacuation of Japanese school children in WWIIPsychoanalytical concepts and the earlier work of psychoanalysts also influenced Bowlby’s view of attachment. In particular, he was influenced by observations of young children separated from familiar caregivers, as provided during World War II by Anna Freud and her colleague Dorothy Burlingham. Bowlby rejected psychoanalytical explanations for early infant bonds including the Freudian and early object relations “drive theory” in which the motivation for attachment derives from gratification of hunger and libidinal drives. He called this the “cupboard-love” theory of relationships. In his view both failed to see attachment as a psychological bond in its own right rather than an instinct derived from feeding or sexuality. Thinking in terms of primary attachment and neo-darwinism, Bowlby identified what he saw as fundamental flaws in psychoanalysis, namely the overemphasis of internal dangers at the expense of external threat, and the picture of the development of personality via linear “phases” with “regression” to fixed points accounting for psychological illness. Instead he posited that several lines of development were possible, the outcome of which depended on the interaction between the organism and the environment. In attachment this would mean that although a developing child has a propensity to form attachments, the nature of those attachments depends on the environment to which the child is exposed.
Internal working model
Bowlby adopted the important concept of the internal working model of social relationships from the work of the philosopher Kenneth Craik, who had noted the adaptiveness of the ability of thought to predict events, and who stressed the survival value of and natural selection for this ability. According to Craik, prediction occurs when a “small-scale model” consisting of brain events is used to represent not only the external environment, but the individual’s own possible actions. This model allows a person to mentally try out alternatives and to use knowledge of the past in responding to the present and future. At about the same time that Bowlby was applying Craik’s ideas to the study of attachment, other psychologists were using these concepts in discussion of adult perception and cognition.
The theory of control systems (cybernetics), developing during the 1930s and ’40s, influenced Bowlby’s thinking. The young child’s need for proximity to the attachment figure was seen as balancing homeostatically with the need for exploration. The actual distance maintained would be greater or less as the balance of needs changed; for example, the approach of a stranger, or an injury, would cause the child to seek proximity when a moment before he had been exploring at a distance.
Although research on attachment behaviours continued after Bowlby’s death in 1990, there was a period when attachment theory was considered to have run its course. Some authors argued that attachment should not be seen as a trait (lasting characteristic of the individual), but instead should be regarded as an organising principle with varying behaviours resulting from contextual factors. Related later research looked at cross-cultural differences in attachment, and concluded that there should be re-evaluation of the assumption that attachment is expressed identically in all humans. A 2007 study conducted in Sapporo found attachment distributions consistent with global norms using the six-year Main & Cassidy scoring system for attachment classification.
Interest in attachment theory continued, and the theory was later extended to adult romantic relationships by Cindy Hazen and Phillip Shaver. Peter Fonagy and Mary Target have attempted to bring attachment theory and psychoanalysis into a closer relationship by way of such aspects of cognitive science as mentalization, the ability to estimate the beliefs or intentions of another person. A “natural experiment” has permitted extensive study of attachment issues, as researchers have followed the thousands of Romanian orphans who were adopted into Western families after the end of the Ceasescu regime. The English and Romanian Adoptees Study Team, led by Michael Rutter, has followed some of the children into their teens, attempting to unravel the effects of poor attachment, adoption and new relationships, and the physical and medical problems associated with their early lives. Studies on the Romanian adoptees, whose initial conditions were shocking, have yielded reason for optimism. Many of the children have developed quite well, and the researchers have noted that separation from familiar people is only one of many factors that help to determine the quality of development.
Effects of changing times and approaches
Some authors have noted the connection of attachment theory with Western family and child care patterns characteristic of Bowlby’s time. The implication of this connection is that attachment-related experiences (and perhaps attachment itself) may alter as young children’s experience of care change historically. For example, changes in attitudes toward female sexuality have greatly increased the numbers of children living with their never-married mothers and being cared for outside the home while the mothers work. This social change, in addition to increasing abortion rates, has also made it more difficult for childless people to adopt infants in their own countries, and has increased the number of older-child adoptions and adoptions from third-world sources in first-world countries. Adoptions and births to same-sex couples have increased in number and even gained some legal protection, compared to their status in Bowlby’s time.
Father and childOne focus of attachment research has been on the difficulties of children whose attachment history was poor, including those with extensive non-parental child care experiences. Concern with the effects of child care was intense during the so-called “day care wars” of the late 20th century, during which some authors stressed the deleterious effects of day care. As a result of this controversy, training of child care professionals has come to stress attachment issues and the need for relationship-building through techniques such as assignment of a child to a specific care provider. Although only high-quality child care settings are likely to follow through on these considerations, nevertheless a larger number of infants in child care receive attachment-friendly care than in the past, and emotional development of children in nonparental care may be different today than it was in the 1980s or in Bowlby’s time.
Finally, any critique of attachment theory needs to consider how the theory has connected with changes in other psychological theories. Research on attachment issues has begun to include concepts related to behaviour genetics and to the study of temperament (constitutional factors in personality), but it is unusual for popular presentations of attachment theory to include these. Importantly, some researchers and theorists have begun to connect attachment with the study of mentalization or theory of mind, the capacity of human beings to guess with some accuracy what thoughts, emotions, and intentions lie behind behaviours as subtle as facial expression or eye movement. The connection of theory of mind with the internal working model of social relationships may open a new area of study and lead to alterations in attachment theory.
Criticism and controversy
Criticism from the 1950s to the 1970s
Bowlby’s colleague Ainsworth listed nine concerns that she felt were chief points of controversy related to the attachment theory precursor referred to as “maternal deprivation”, a hypothesis that includes some of the tenets that later made up attachment theory. 1) The vagueness of the term “maternal deprivation” used in the description of a child’s history of attachment experiences. 2) The lack of clarity of the theory’s implications for experiences with multiple caregivers. 3) The implications for the theory of the degree of variability following “deprivation”. 4) The question of what specific effects result from “deprivation”. 5) The question of individual differences in children’s reactions to separation or loss. 6) The question of the degree of permanence of specific effects of “deprivation”. 7) The question of delinquency as an infrequent outcome of separation and loss. 8) The question of specifics of deprivation and whether these have to do with the caregiver or the more general environment. 9) Controversies having to do with the effects of genetic defects or of brain damage on the developmental outcome.
As the formulation of attachment theory progressed, critics commented on empirical support for the theory and for the possible alternative explanations for results of empirical research. Wootton questioned the suggestion that early attachment history (as it would now be called) had a lifelong impact.
In the 1970s, problems with the emphasis on attachment as a trait (a stable characteristic of an individual) rather than as a type of behaviour with important organising functions and outcomes, led some authors to consider that “attachment (as implying anything but infant-adult interaction) [may be said to have] outlived its usefulness as a developmental construct…” and that attachment behaviours were best understood in terms of their functions in the child’s life. Children may achieve a given function, such as a sense of security, in many different ways and the various but functionally comparable behaviours should be categorized as related to each other. This way of thinking saw the secure base concept (the organisation of exploration of an unfamiliar situation around returns to a familiar person) as “central to the logic and coherence of attachment theory and to its status as an organizational construct.” Similarly, Thompson pointed out that “other features of early parent-child relationships that develop concurrently with attachment security, including negotiating conflict and establishing cooperation, also must be considered in understanding the legacy of early attachments.”
Criticism from specific disciplines
From an early point in the development of attachment theory, there was criticism of the theory’s lack of congruence with the various branches of psychoanalysis. Like other members of the British object-relations group, Bowlby rejected Melanie Klein’s views that considered the infant to have certain mental capacities at birth and to continue to develop emotionally on the basis of fantasy rather than of real experiences. But Bowlby also withdrew from the object-relations approach (exemplified, for example, by Anna Freud), as he abandoned the “drive theory” assumptions in favor of a set of automatic, instinctual behaviour systems that included attachment. Bowlby’s decisions left him open to criticism from well-established thinkers working on problems similar to those he addressed. Bowlby was effectively ostracized from the psychoanalytic community although more recently some psychoanalysts have sought to reconcile the two theories in the form of attachment-based psychotherapy, a therapeutic approach.
Ethologists expressed concern about the adequacy of some of the research on which attachment theory was based, particularly the generalisation to humans from animal studies as not all animals are suitable for generalisation to human beings.  Schur, discussing Bowlby’s use of ethological concepts (pre-1960) commented that these concepts as used in attachment theory had not kept up with changes in ethology itself.
Ready to exploreEthologists and others writing in the 1960s and 1970s questioned the types of behaviour used as indications of attachment, and offered alternative approaches. For example, crying on separation from a familiar person was suggested as an index of attachment. Observational studies of young children in natural settings also provided behaviours that might be considered to indicate attachment; for example, in one study of toddlers in parks with their mothers, the children were observed to stay within a predictable distance of the mother without effort on her part. The children walked when moving away from the mother, but ran when returning to her. When the child saw or heard something surprising, he or she related this to the mother, looking at her while pointing to the event if at a distance, pointing and tapping her with the other hand if near. The toddlers, unexpectedly, did not follow the mother if she moved away, but most “froze” in place. Another unanticipated indication of the relationship was that the toddler picked up small objects and brought them to the mother, a behaviour that did not usually occur toward other adults who were present. Although ethological work tended to be in agreement with Bowlby, work like that just described led to the conclusion that “[w]e appear to disagree with Bowlby and Ainsworth on some of the details of the child’s interactions with its mother and other people”. Some ethologists pressed for further observational data, arguing that psychologists “are still writing as if there is a real entity which is ‘attachment’, existing over and above the observable measures.”
Robert Hinde expressed concern with the use of the word “attachment” to imply that it was an intervening variable or a hypothesised internal mechanism rather than a data term. He suggested that confusion about the meaning of attachment theory terms “could lead to the ‘instinct fallacy’ of postulating a mechanism isomorphous with the behaviours, and then using that as an explanation for the behaviour”. However, Hinde considered “attachment behaviour system” to be an appropriate term of theory language which did not offer the same problems “because it refers to postulated control systems that determine the relations between different kinds of behaviour.”
Bowlby’s reliance on Piaget’s theory of cognitive development gave rise to questions about object permanence (the ability to remember an object that is temporarily absent) and its connection to early attachment behaviours, and about the fact that the infant’s ability to discriminate strangers and react to the mother’s absence seems to occur some months earlier than Piaget suggested would be cognitively possible. More recently, it has been noted that the understanding of mental representation has advanced so much since Bowlby’s day that present views can be far more specific than those of Bowlby’s time.
In 1969, Gerwitz discussed how mother and child could provide each other with positive reinforcement experiences through their mutual attention and therefore learn to stay close together; this explanation would make it unnecessary to posit innate human characteristics fostering attachment. In the last decade, behaviour analysts have constructed models of attachment based on the importance of contingent relationships. These behaviour analytic models have received support from research and meta-analytic reviews.
Criticism of methodology
There has been critical discussion of conclusions drawn from clinical and observational work, and whether or not they actually support tenets of attachment theory. For example, Skuse based criticism of a basic tenet of attachment theory on the work of Anna Freud with children from Theresienstadt, who apparently developed relatively normally in spite of serious deprivation during their early years. This discussion concluded from Freud’s case and from some other studies of extreme deprivation that there is an excellent prognosis for children with this background, unless there are biological or genetic risk factors. The psychoanalyst Margaret Mahler interpreted ambivalent or aggressive behaviour of toddlers toward their mothers as a normal part of development, not as evidence of poor attachment history. Some of Bowlby’s interpretations of the data reported by James Robertson were eventually rejected by the researcher, who reported data from 13 young children who were cared for in ideal circumstances during separation from their mothers. Robertson noted, “…Bowlby acknowledges that he draws mainly upon James Robertson’s institutional data. But in developing his grief and mourning theory, Bowlby, without adducing non-institutional data, has generalized Robertson’s concept of protest, despair and denial beyond the context from which it was derived. He asserts that these are the usual responses of young children to separation from the mother regardless of circumstance…”; however, of the 13 separated children who received good care, none showed protest and despair, but “coped with separation from the mother when cared for in conditions from which the adverse factors which complicate institutional studies were absent”. In the second volume of the trilogy, Separation, published two years later, Bowlby acknowledged that Robertsons foster study had caused him to modify his views on the traumatic consequences of separation in which insufficient weight was given to the influence of skilled care from a familiar substitute.
Some authors have questioned the idea of attachment patterns, thought to be measured by techniques like the Strange Situation Protocol. Such techniques yield a taxonomy of categories considered to represent qualitative difference in attachment relationships (for example, secure attachment versus avoidant). However, a categorical model is not necessarily the best representation of individual difference in attachment. An examination of data from 1139 15-month-olds showed that variation was continuous rather than falling into natural groupings. This criticism introduces important questions for attachment typologies and the mechanisms behind apparent types, but in fact has relatively little relevance for attachment theory itself, which “neither requires nor predicts discrete patterns of attachment.” As was noted above, ethologists have suggested other behavioural measures that may be of greater importance than Strange Situation behaviour.
Criticism from the 1990s on
Recent critics such as J. R. Harris, Stephen Pinker and Jerome Kagan are generally concerned with the concept of infant determinism and stress the possible effects of later experience on personality. Harris and Pinker have put forward the notion that the influence of parents has been much exaggerated and that socialisation takes place primarily in peer groups, although H. Rudolph Schaffer concludes that parents and peers fulfill different functions and have distinctive roles in children’s development. Another concern about attachment theory has to do with the fact that infants often have multiple relationships, within the family as well as in child care settings, and that the dyadic model characteristic of attachment theory cannot address the complexity of real-life social experiences.
Attachment theory in clinical practice
Clinical practice in children
Main article: Attachment-based therapy (children)
Mainstream prevention programs and treatment approaches for attachment difficulties or disorders for infants and younger children are based on attachment theory and concentrate on increasing the responsiveness and sensitivity of the caregiver, or if that is not possible, placing the child with a different caregiver. These approaches are mostly in the process of being evaluated. The programs invariably include a detailed assessment of the attachment status or caregiving responses of the adult caregiver as attachment is a two-way process involving attachment behaviour and caregiver response. Some of these treatment or prevention programs are specifically aimed at foster carers rather than parents, as the attachment behaviours of infants or children with attachment difficulties often do not elicit appropriate caregiver responses.
Outside the mainstream programs is a form of treatment generally known as attachment therapy, a subset of techniques (and accompanying diagnosis) for supposed attachment disorders including reactive attachment disorder. There is considerable criticism of this form of treatment and diagnosis as it is largely unvalidated and has developed outside the scientific mainstream. In general, these therapies are aimed at adopted or fostered children with a view to creating attachment to their new caregivers. The theoretical base is broadly a combination of regression and catharsis, accompanied by parenting methods which emphasise obedience and parental control. There is little or no evidence base and techniques vary from non-coercive therapeutic work to more extreme forms of physical, confrontational and coercive techniques, of which the best known are holding therapy, rebirthing, rage-reduction and the Evergreen model. These forms of the therapy may well involve physical restraint, the deliberate provocation of rage and anger in the child by physical and verbal means including deep tissue massage, aversive tickling, enforced eye contact and verbal confrontation, and being pushed to revisit earlier trauma. Critics maintain that these therapies are not within the attachment paradigm, are potentially abusive, and are antithetical to attachment theory. The APSAC Taskforce Report of 2006 notes that many of these therapies concentrate on changing the child rather than the caregiver.
Reactive attachment disorder
Main article: Reactive attachment disorder
Reactive attachment disorder—sometimes referred to by its initials, “RAD”—is a psychiatric diagnosis (DSM-IV-TR 313.89, ICD-10 F94.1/2). The essential feature of reactive attachment disorder is markedly disturbed and developmentally inappropriate social relatedness in most contexts that begins before age five years and is associated with gross pathological care. There are two subtypes, one reflecting the disinhibited attachment pattern and the other reflecting the inhibited pattern. RAD denotes a lack of age appropriate attachment behaviours that amount to a clinical disorder rather than a description of insecure or disorganised attachment patterns or styles however problematic those styles may be. It is thought to be rare, despite its popularisation on the Web, in connection with the pseudoscientific attachment therapy, for a range of perceived behavioural difficulties in children that are not within DSM or ICD criteria.
Main article: Attachment disorder
Attachment disorder is an ambiguous term. It may be used to refer to reactive attachment disorder, the only ‘official’ clinical diagnosis, or the more problematical attachment styles (although none of these are clinical disorders), or within the alternative medicine field, the pseudoscience of attachment therapy as a form of unvalidated diagnosis.
Clinical practice in adults
Main articles: Attachment-based psychotherapy and Emotionally Focused Therapy
A form of psychoanalysis-based therapy for adults within relational psychoanalysis incorporates and uses attachment theory and attachment patterns. Other attachment-based treatment approaches can be used with adults, and there is also an approach to treating couples. Psychologist and psychoanalyst Peter Fonagy and colleagues, have applied mentalization and attachment theory concepts to developmental psychopathology in the context of attachment relationships gone awry.
Courtship is the traditional dating period before engagement and marriage. During a courtship, a couple dates to get to know each other and decide if there will be an engagement. Usually courtship is a public affair, done in public and with family approval.
It includes activities such as dating where couple go together for a dinner, a movie, dance parties, a picnic, shopping or general “hanging out”, along with other forms of activity. Acts such as meeting on the Internet or virtual dating, chatting on-line, sending text messages or picture messages, conversing over the telephone, writing each other letters, and sending each other flowers, songs, and gifts constitute wooing.
1 Courtship traditions
2 Modern dating
2.1 Courtship as a social theory
2.2 Commercial dating services
3 Courtship in the animal kingdom
4 See also
 Courtship traditions
Youth conversing with suitors
from the Haft Awrang of Jami, in the story A Father Advises his Son About Love.
Courting, tacuinum sanitatis casanatensis (XIV century)While the date is fairly casual in most European cultures, in many traditional societies, courtship is a highly structured activity, with very specific formal rules.
In some societies, the parents or community propose potential partners, and then allow limited dating to determine whether the parties are suited. In Japan, there is a type of courtship called Omiai.
Parents will hire a matchmaker to provide pictures and résumés of potential mates, and if the couple agrees, there will be a formal meeting with the matchmaker and often parents in attendance. The matchmaker and parents will often exert pressure on the couple to decide whether they want to marry or not after a few dates.
In more closed societies, courtship is virtually eliminated altogether by the practice of arranged marriages, where partners are chosen for young people, typically by their parents. Forbidding experimental and serial courtship and sanctioning only arranged matches is partly a means of guarding the chastity of young people and partly a matter of furthering family interests, which in such cultures may be considered more important than individual romantic preferences.
Over recent decades though, the concept of arranged marriage has changed or simply been mixed with other forms of dating, including Eastern and Indian ones; potential couples have the opportunity to meet and date each other before one decides on whether to continue the relationship or not.
 Modern dating
Main article: Dating (activity)
In earlier centuries, young adults were expected to court with the intention of finding a marriage partner, rather than for social reasons. However, by the Jazz Age of the 1920s, dating for fun was becoming an expectation, and by the 1930s, it was assumed that any popular young person would have lots of dates. This form of dating, though, was usually more chaste than is seen today, since pre-marital sex was not considered the norm.
After the sexual revolution of the 1960s and 1970s, this “old-fashioned” form of dating waned in popularity. Couples became more likely to “hook up” or “hang out” with large groups than to go on an old-fashioned date, and frequently went from “hanging out” to an exclusive relationship without engaging in what their parents or grandparents might have called dating.
In recent years, a number of college newspapers have featured editorials where students decry the lack of “dating” on their campuses. This may be a result of a highly-publicized 2001 study and campaign sponsored by the conservative American women’s group Independent Women’s Forum, which promotes “traditional” dating.
 Courtship as a social theory
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Courtship is used by a number of theorists to explain gendering processes and sexual identity. Scientific research into courtship began in the 1980s after which time academic researchers started to generate theories about modern dating practices and norms. Both Moore and Perper found that, countrary to popular beliefs, courtship is normally triggered and controlled by women, driven mainly by non-verbal behaviours to which men respond. This is generally supported by other theorists who specialise in the study of body language. Feminist scholars, however, continue to regard courtship as a socially constructed (and male-led) process organised to subjugate women. The main weakness in this argument, however, lies in the continuing empirical evidence that the institutions of courtship are more strongly supported by women than men. Farrell reports, for example, that magazines about marriage and romantic fiction continue to attract a 98% female readership. Systematic research into courtship processes inside the workplace as well two 10-year studies examining norms in different international settings continue to support a view that courtship is a social process that socialises both sexes into accepting forms of relationship that maximise the chances of successfully raising children. Whilst this may negatively impact women, particularly those seeking independence and equality at work, it is argued that the majority of negative impacts accrue to men in the form of shorter life-expectancy, higher rates of suicide, alcoholism, homelessless and imprisonment.
 Commercial dating services
Though most people meet their dates at social organizations, in their daily life, or are introduced through friends or relatives, commercial dating agencies emerged strongly, but discreetly, in the Western world after World War II, mostly catering for the 25–44 age group. Newspaper and magazine personal ads also became common.
In the last five years, mate-finding and courtship have seen changes due to online dating services. Telecommunications and computer technologies have developed rapidly since around 1995, allowing daters the use of home telephones with answering machines, mobile phones, and web-based systems to find prospective partners.
“Pre-dates” can take place by telephone or online via instant messaging, e-mail, or even video communication. A disadvantage is that, with no initial personal interview by a traditional dating agency head, Internet daters are free to exaggerate or lie about their characteristics.
While the growing popularity of the Internet took some time, now one in five singles is said to look for love on the Web, which has led to a dramatic shift in dating patterns. Research in the United Kingdom suggests that as of 2004[update] there were around 150 agencies there, and the market was growing at around 20 percent a year due to, first, the very low entry barriers to setting up a dating site, and secondly, the rising number of single people.
However, even academic researchers find it impossible to find precise figures about crucial statistics, such as the ratio of active daters to the large number of inactive members whom the agency will often wrongly claim as potential partners, and the overall ratio of men to women in an agency’s membership. Academic research on traditional pre-Internet agencies suggests that most agencies have far more men than women in their membership.
Traditionally, in many societies (including Western societies), men are expected to fill the role of the pursuer. However, the anonymity of the Internet (as well as other factors) has allowed women to take on that role online. A recent study indicated that “women pay to contact men as often as the reverse, which is quite different from behavior in telephone-based dating system[s]” (from Wired magazine).
The trend of singles making a Web connection continues to increase, as the percentage of North American singles who have tried Internet dating has grown from two percent in 1999 to over ten percent today (from Canadian Business, February 2002). More than half of online consumers (53%) know someone who has started a friendship or relationship online, and three-quarters of 18-to-24-year-old online consumers (74%) say they do.
There is also some academic evidence that the 18–25 age group has significantly taken up online dating. This growing trend is reflected in the surging popularity of online communities such as Faceparty, Friendster, Facebook, MySpace, and Nexopia sites which are not directly geared toward dating, but many users nonetheless use to find potential dates or research a new acquaintance to check for availability and compatibility.
Mobile dating websites, too, are gaining popularity.
 Courtship in the animal kingdom
Main articles: Mating and Mating system
Courtship of green turtlesMany non-human animal species have mate-selection rituals also referred to as “courtship” in an anthropomorphic (and somewhat misleading) manner. Animal courtship may involve complicated dances or touching; vocalizations; or displays of beauty or fighting prowess. Most animal courtship occurs out of sight of humans, so it is often the least documented of animal behaviors. One animal whose courtship rituals are well studied is the bowerbird, whose male builds a “bower” of collected objects.
From the scientific point of view, courtship in the animal kingdom is the process in which the different species select their partners for reproduction purposes. Generally speaking, the male initiates the courtship and the female chooses to either mate or reject the male based on his “performance”.
One sociobiological model that sheds some light on courtship behavior is The Selfish Gene model proposed by Richard Dawkins which states that an individual of a particular species will mate with individuals from the same species that display “good genes”.
In this case, courtship is a display of “genes” carried by a particular organism looking forward to mix with the genes of another organism in order to preserve themselves onto the next generation, thereby ensuring the survival of the genes themselves.
Empathy is the ‘capacity’ to share and understand another’s ‘state of mind’ or emotion. It is often characterized as the ability to “put oneself into another’s shoes”, or in some way experience the outlook or emotions of another being within oneself. Empathy does not necessarily imply compassion, or empathic concern because this capacity can be present in context of compassionate or cruel behavior.
2 Theorists and their definitions
4 Contrast with other phenomena
5 The development of empathy
6 Neurological basis
7 Lack of empathy
8 Autism spectrum disorders
9 Practical issues
10 Ethical issues
11 Disciplinary approaches
11.3 With animals
11.4 In fiction, art, and music
11.5 In history
11.6 In philosophy
12 Gender differences
13 See also
16 External links
Look up empathy in
Wiktionary, the free dictionary.
The English word is derived from the Greek word ἐμπάθεια (empatheia), “physical affection, passion, partiality” which comes from ἐν (en), “in, at” + πάθος (pathos), “feeling”. The term was adapted by Theodore Lipps to create the German word Einfühlung (“feeling into”) from which the English term is then more directly derived.
 Theorists and their definitions
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Daniel Batson: A motivation oriented towards the other.
D. M. Berger: The capacity to know emotionally what another is experiencing from within the frame of reference of that other person, the capacity to sample the feelings of another or to put oneself in another’s shoes.
Jean Decety: A sense of similarity in feelings experienced by the self and the other, without confusion between the two individuals.
Nancy Eisenberg: An affective response that stems from the apprehension or comprehension of another’s emotional state or condition, and that is similar to what the other person is feeling or would be expected to feel.
R. R. Greenson: To empathize means to share, to experience the feelings of another person.
Alvin Goldman: The ability to put oneself into the mental shoes of another person to understand her emotions and feelings.
Martin Hoffman: An affective response more appropriate to another’s situation than one’s own.
William Ickes: A complex form of psychological inference in which observation, memory, knowledge, and reasoning are combined to yield insights into the thoughts and feelings of others.
Heinz Kohut: Empathy is the capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person.
Carl Rogers: To perceive the internal frame of reference of another with accuracy and with the emotional components and meanings which pertain thereto as if one were the person, but without ever losing the “as if” condition. Thus, it means to sense the hurt or the pleasure of another as he senses it and to perceive the causes thereof as he perceives them, but without ever losing the recognition that it is as if I were hurt or pleased and so forth.
Roy Schafer: Empathy involves the inner experience of sharing in and comprehending the momentary psychological state of another person.
Wynn Schwartz: “We recognize others as empathic when we feel that they have accurately acted on or somehow acknowledged in stated or unstated fashion our values or motivations, our knowledge, and our skills or competence, but especially as they appear to recognize the significance of our actions in a manner that we can tolerate their being recognized.”
Edith Stein: Empathy is the experience of foreign consciousness in general
Since empathy involves understanding the emotion states of other people, the way it is characterized is derivative of the way emotions themselves are characterized. If for example, emotions are taken to be centrally characterized by bodily feelings, then grasping the bodily feelings of another will be central to empathy. On the other hand, if emotions are more centrally characterized by a combination of beliefs and desires, then grasping these beliefs and desires will be more essential to empathy. Furthermore, a distinction should be made between deliberately imagining being another person, or being in their situation, and simply recognizing their emotion. The ability to imagine oneself as another person is a sophisticated imaginative process. However the basic capacity to recognize emotions is probably innate and may be achieved unconsciously. Yet it can be trained, and achieved with various degrees of intensity or accuracy.
The human capacity to recognize the bodily feelings of another is related to one’s imitative capacities, and seems to be grounded in the innate capacity to associate the bodily movements and facial expressions one sees in another with the proprioceptive feelings of producing those corresponding movements or expressions oneself. Humans also seem to make the same immediate connection between the tone of voice and other vocal expressions and inner feeling. See neurological basis below.
There is some debate concerning how exactly the conscious experience (or phenomenology) of empathy should be characterized. The basic idea is that by looking at the facial expressions or bodily movements of another, or by hearing their tone of voice, one may get an immediate sense of how they feel (as opposed to more intellectually noting the behavioral symptoms of their emotion). Though empathic recognition is likely to involve some form of arousal in the empathiser, they may not experience this feeling as belonging to their own body, but instead likely to perceptually locate the feeling ‘in’ the body of the other person. Alternatively the empathiser may instead get a sense of an emotional ‘atmosphere’ or that the emotion belongs equally to all the parties involved.
However, the full-blown capacity of human empathy is more sophisticated than the mere automatic resonance of the target’s affective state. Indeed, empathy is both about sharing the emotional state of others and understanding it in relation to oneself. The capacity for two people to resonate with each other emotionally, prior to any cognitive understanding, is the basis for developing shared emotional meanings, but is not enough for empathic understanding. According to Decety and Jackson, this requires forming an explicit representation of the feelings of another person, an intentional agent, which necessitates additional computational mechanisms beyond the shared emotional level. In order to understand the emotions and feelings of others in relation to oneself, second-order representations of the other need to be available to awareness (a decoupling mechanism between first-person information and second person information: similar to theory of mind).
 Contrast with other phenomena
Empathy is distinct from sympathy, pity, and emotional contagion. Sympathy or empathic concern is the feeling of compassion or concern for another, the wish to see them better off or happier. Pity is feeling that another is in trouble and in need of help as they cannot fix their problems themselves, often described as “feeling sorry” for someone. Emotional contagion is when a person (especially an infant or a member of a mob) imitatively ‘catches’ the emotions that others are showing without necessarily recognizing this is happening (Hatfield et al 1994). Telepathy is not a psychological phenomenon, but a supposed paranormal phenomenon, whereby emotions or other mental states can be read directly, without needing to infer, or perceive expressive clues about the other person.
 The development of empathy
When children watch short video clips depicting another individual in a painful situation compared with a non painful situation, regions of the brain associated with the processing of nociception are activatedBy the age of two, children normally begin to display the fundamental behaviors of empathy by having an emotional response that corresponds with another person. Even earlier, at one year of age, infants have some rudiments of empathy, in the sense that they understand that, just like their own actions, other people’s actions have goals. Sometimes, toddlers will comfort others or show concern for them as early as 24 months of age. Also during the second year, toddlers will play games of falsehood or “pretend” in an effort to fool others, and this requires that the child know what others believe before he or she can manipulate those beliefs. According to researchers at the University of Chicago who used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), children between the ages of seven and 12 appear to be naturally inclined to feel empathy for others in pain. Their findings, published in Neuropsychologia (June 3, 2008), is consistent with previous fMRI studies of pain empathy with adults. The research also found additional aspects of the brain were activated when youngsters saw another person intentionally hurt by another individual, including regions involved in moral reasoning.
 Neurological basis
Research in recent years has focused on possible brain processes underlying the experience of empathy. For instance, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been employed to investigate the functional anatomy of empathy. These studies have shown that observing another person’s emotional state activates parts of the neuronal network involved in processing that same state in oneself, whether it is disgust, touch, or pain. The study of the neural underpinnings of empathy has received increased interest following the target paper published by Preston and De Waal, following the discovery of mirror neurons in monkeys that fire both when the creature watches another perform an action as well as when they themselves perform it. In their paper, they argued that ‘attended perception of the object’s state automatically activates neural representations, and that this activation automatically primes or generate the associated autonomic and somatic responses, unless inhibited. This mechanism is similar to the common coding theory between perception and action.
 Lack of empathy
Some psychologists, and psychiatrists believe that not all humans have an ability to feel empathy or understand the emotions of others. For instance, Autism and related conditions such as Asperger’s syndrome are often (but not always) characterized by an apparent reduced ability to empathize with others. The interaction between empathy and autism spectrum disorders is a complex and ongoing field of research. According to recent fMRI studies the syndrome of alexithymia, a condition in which an individual is rendered incapable of recognising and articulating emotional arousal in self or others, is responsible for a severe lack of emotional empathy. The lack of empathetic attunement inherent to alexithymic states may reduce quality and satisfaction of relationships.
According to Simon Baron-Cohen, an absence of empathy might also be related to an absence of theory of mind (i.e., the ability to model another’s world view using either a theory-like analogy between oneself and others, or the ability to simulate pretend mental states and then apply the consequences of these simulations to others). Again with regard to autism, not all autistics fit this pattern, and the theory remains controversial, and does not differentiate between cognitive empathy and affective empathy, nor do autistic people lack compassion. Francesca Happe showed that autistic children who demonstrate a lack of theory of mind (cognitive empathy) lack theory of mind for self as well as for others .
In contrast, psychopaths are seemingly able to demonstrate the appearance of sensing the emotions of others with such a theory of mind, often demonstrating care and friendship in a convincing manner, and can use this ability to charm or manipulate, but they crucially lack the sympathy or compassion that empathy often leads to. However, it has been claimed that components of circuitry involved in empathy may also be dysfunctional in psychopathy (Tunstall N., Fahy T. and McGuire P. in: Guide to Neuroimaging in Psychiatry, Eds. Fu C et al, Martin Dunitz: London 2003). Empathy certainly does not guarantee benevolence. The same ability may underlie schadenfreude (taking pleasure in the pain of another entity) and sadism (being sexually gratified through the infliction of pain or humiliation on another person). Recently, a functional MRI study conducted by Jean Decety and colleagues at the University of Chicago has demonstrated that youth with aggressive conduct disorder (who have psychopathic tendencies) have a different brain response when confronted with empathy-eliciting stimuli. In the study, researchers compared 16- to 18-year-old boys with aggressive conduct disorder to a control group of adolescent boys with no unusual signs of aggression. The boys with the conduct disorder had exhibited disruptive behavior such as starting a fight, using a weapon and stealing after confronting a victim. The youth were tested with fMRI while looking at video clips in which people endured pain accidentally, such as when a heavy bowl was dropped on their hands, and intentionally, such as when a person stepped on another’s foot. Results show that the aggressive youth activated the neural circuits underpinning pain processing to the same extent, and in some cases, even more so than the control participants without conduct disorder. However, aggressive adolescents showed a specific and very strong activation of the amygdala and ventral striatum (an area that responds to feeling rewarded) when watching pain inflicted on others, which suggested that they enjoyed watching pain. Unlike the control group, the youth with conduct disorder did not activate the area of the brain involved in self-regulation and moral reasoning.
 Autism spectrum disorders
A common source of confusion in analyzing the interactions between empathy and autism spectrum disorders (ASD) is that the apparent lack of empathy may mask excessive sensitivity. An apparant lack of empathy may also mask a failure to demonstrate empathy can arise from inability (or not knowing how) to express empathy to others, as opposed to difficulty feeling it, internally.
Research suggests that many ASD individuals have a lack of theory of mind (ToM) and alexithymia (85% of those with ASD’s have alexithymia), both of which conditions involve severe deficits in the individual’s ability to be empathetically attuned to others. Alexithymia involves not just the inability to verbally express emotions, but specifically the inability to identify emotional states in self or others. However, research by Rogers et al. suggests that empathy needs to be differentiated between cognitive empathy and affective empathy in people with Asperger syndrome, suggesting autistic individuals have less developed understanding of the feeling of others, but demonstrate equally as much empathy when they are aware of others’ states of mind, and actually respond more to stress experienced by other people than non-autistic people do.
One study found that, relative to typically developing children, high-functioning children with autism showed reduced mirror neuron activity in the brain’s inferior frontal gyrus (pars opercularis) while imitating and observing emotional expressions. The authors suggested that their study supports the hypothesis that a dysfunctional mirror neuron system may underlie the social deficits observed in autism. However, this finding should be taken with extreme caution, since it has not been replicated by other fMRI studies.
 Practical issues
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Proper empathetic engagement is supposed to help to understand and anticipate the behavior of the other. Apart from the automatic tendency to recognise the emotions of others, one may also deliberately engage in empathic reasoning. Two general methods have been identified here (e.g. Goldie 2000). A person may simulate ‘pretend’ versions of the beliefs, desires, character traits and context of the other and see what emotional feelings this leads to. Or, a person may simulate the emotional feeling and then look around for a suitable reason for this to fit.
Some research suggests that people are more able and willing to empathize with those most similar to themselves. In particular, empathy increases with similarities in culture and living conditions. We are also more likely to empathize with those with whom we interact more frequently (See Levenson and Reuf 1997 and Hoffman 2000: 62). A measure of how well a person can infer the specific content of another person’s thoughts and feelings has been developed by William Ickes (1997, 2003). Ickes and his colleagues have developed a video-based method to measure empathic accuracy and have used this method to study the empathic inaccuracy of maritally aggressive and abusive husbands, among other topics.
There are concerns that the empathiser’s own emotional background may affect or distort what emotions they perceive in others (e.g. Goleman 1996: p. 104). Empathy is not a process that is likely to deliver certain judgements about the emotional states of others. It is a skill that is gradually developed throughout life, and which improves the more contact we have with the person with whom we empathise. Accordingly, any knowledge we gain of the emotions of the other must be revisable in light of further information.
 Ethical issues
The extent to which a person’s emotions are publicly observable, or mutually recognized as such has significant social consequences. Empathic recognition may or may not be welcomed or socially desirable. This is particularly the case where we recognise the emotions that someone has towards ourselves during real time interactions. Based on a metaphorical affinity with touch, Philosopher Edith Wyschogrod claims that the proximity entailed by empathy increases the potential vulnerability of either party. The appropriate role of empathy in our dealings with others is highly dependent on the circumstances. For instance, it is claimed that clinicians or caregivers must take care not to be too sensitive to the emotions of others, to over-invest their own emotions, at the risk of draining away their own resourcefulness. Furthmore an awareness of the limitations of empathic accuracy is prudent in a caregiving situation.
 Disciplinary approaches
Heinz Kohut is the main introducer of the principle of empathy in psychoanalysis. His principle applies to the method of gathering unconscious material. The possibility of not applying the principle is granted in the cure. For instance when you must reckon with another principle, that of reality. Developing skills of empathy is often a central theme in the recovery process for drug addicts.
In evolutionary psychology, attempts at explaining pro-social behavior often mention the presence of empathy in the individual as a possible variable. Although exact motives behind complex social behaviors are difficult to distinguish, the “ability to put oneself in the shoes of another person and experience events and emotions the way that person experienced them” is the definitive factor for truly altruistic behavior according to Batson’s empathy-altruism hypothesis. If empathy is not felt, social exchange (what’s in it for me?) supersedes pure altruism, but if empathy is felt, an individual will help regardless of whether it is in their self-interest to do so and even if the costs outweigh potential rewards.
An important target by the method Learning by teaching (LbL) is to train systematically and in each lesson the students-empathy. They have to transmit new contents to the classmates, so they have to reflect continuously on the mental processes by the other students in the classroom. This way – in addition – it is possible to develop step by step the students-feeling for group-reactions and networking.
 With animals
Some students of animal behavior claim that empathy is not restricted to humans as the definition implies. Examples include dolphins saving humans (sympathy) from drowning or from shark attacks, and a multitude of behaviors observed in primates, both in captivity and in the wild. See, for instance, the popular book The Ape and the Sushi Master by Frans de Waal. Rodents have been shown to demonstrate empathy for cagemates (but not strangers) in pain. Furthermore people can empathize with animals. As such, empathy is thought to be a driving psychological force behind the animal rights movement (an example of sympathy), whether or not using empathy is justified by any real similarity between the emotional experiences of animals and humans.
 In fiction, art, and music
For empathy as a special ability, see Empath.
Some philosophers (such as Martha Nussbaum) suggest that novel reading cultivates readers’ empathy and leads them to exercise better world citizenship. For a critique of this application of the empathy-altruism hypothesis to experiences of narrative empathy, see Keen’s Empathy and the Novel (Oxford, 2007). In some works of science fiction and fantasy, empathy is understood to be a paranormal or psychic ability to sense the emotions of others, as opposed to telepathy, which allows one to perceive thoughts as well. A person who has that ability is also called an “empath” or “telempath” in this context. Occasionally these empaths are also able to project their own emotions, or to affect the emotions of others.
The metaphor of musical resonance reinforces certain ideas around empathy that are often misconstrued. Gauss, suggests that, “In popular usage the idea refers to the emotional resonance between two people, when, like strings tuned to the same frequency, each responds in perfect sympathy to the other and each reinforces the responses of the other”However, within the musical semantic universe, the better metaphor is that of overtones and undertones, by which an instrument incapable of replicating a particular frequency (pitch), nevertheless, resonates with pitches sharing certain harmonic structures. Harmonic resonance, unlike pitch replication, suggests appropriate differentiation between the two instruments, between model and beholder, while retaining a sense that some accuracy is required. One Chinese translation for empathy contains the two characters not for the replication of pitch, but for harmonic resonance. This Chinese translation aligns with the forms of empathy which arise intuitively or non-cognitively.
 In history
Some postmodern historians such as Keith Jenkins in recent years have debated whether or not it is possible to empathise with people from the past. Jenkins argues that empathy only enjoys such a privileged position in the present because it corresponds harmoniously with the dominant Liberal discourse of modern society and can be connected to John Stuart Mill’s concept of reciprocal freedom. Jenkins argues the past is a foreign country and as we do not have access to the epistemological conditions of bygone ages we are unable to empathise. The reader will not be astonished at the conclusive issue about empathy and history. Only events and their products meet or not empathy. It is impossible to forecast the effect of empathy on the future. We can pay attention to the means of language of telling events. We above checked a contemporary subject may not take part in the past. A past subject may take part in the present by the so-called historic present. If we watch from a fictitious past, can tell the present with the future tense, as it happens with the trick of the false prophecy. There is no way of telling the present with the means of the past. The way of making the study of empathy functional is still long.
 In philosophy
In the 2007 book “The Ethics of Care and Empathy,” philosopher Michael Slote introduces a theory of care-based ethics that is grounded in empathy. His claim is that moral motivation does, and should stem from a basis of empathic response. He claims that our natural reaction to situations of moral significance are explained by empathy. He explains that the limits and obligations of empathy and in turn morality are natural. These natural obligations include a greater empathic, and moral obligation to family and friends, along with an account of temporal and physical distance. In situations of close temporal and physical distance, and with family or friends, our moral obligation seems stronger to us than with strangers at a distance naturally. Slote explains that this is due to empathy and our natural empathic ties. He further adds that actions are wrong if and only if they reflect or exhibit a deficiency of fully developed empathic concern for others on the part of the agent.
In phenomenology, empathy is used to describe the experience in which one experiences what the Other experiences. It should not, however, be understood as some kind of magical or telepathic connection, but rather as the experience of experiencing something from the Other’s viewpoint, without confusion between self and other. This draws on the sense of agency. In the most basic sense, this is the experience of the Other’s body, and in this sense, it is an experience of “my body over there.” In most other respects, however, the experience is modified so that what is experienced is experienced as being the Other’s experience; in experiencing empathy, what is experienced is not “my” experience, even though I experience it. Empathy is also considered to be the condition of intersubjectivity, and, as such, the source of the constitution of objectivity.
 Gender differences
The issue of gender differences in empathy is quite controversial. It is often believed that females are more empathetic than males. Evidence for gender differences in empathy are important for self report questionnaires of empathy in which it is obvious what was being indexed (i.e., impact of social desirability and gender stereotypes) but are smaller or nonexistent for other types of indexes that are less self-evident with regard to their purpose. However, a series of recent studies, using a variety of neurophysiological measures, including MEG, spinal reflex excitability,  electroencephalography,   have documented the presence of a gender difference in the human mirror neuron system, with female participants exhibiting stronger motor resonance than male participants. In addition, these aforementioned studies also found that females participants scored higher on empathy self report dispositional measures, and that these measures positively correlated with the physiological response.
Friendship is a term used to denote co-operative and supportive behavior between two or more people. In this sense, the term connotes a relationship which involves mutual knowledge, esteem, and affection and respect along with a degree of rendering service to friends in times of need or crisis. Friends will welcome each other’s company and exhibit loyalty towards each other, often to the point of altruism. Their tastes will usually be similar and may converge, and they will share enjoyable activities. They will also engage in mutually helping behavior, such as exchange of advice and the sharing of hardship. A friend is someone who may often demonstrate reciprocating and reflective behaviors. Yet for many, friendship is nothing more than the trust that someone or something will not harm them.
Value that is found in friendships is often the result of a friend demonstrating the following on a consistent basis:
the tendency to desire what is best for the other,
sympathy and empathy,
honesty, perhaps in situations where it may be difficult for others to speak the truth, especially in terms of pointing out the perceived faults of one’s counterpart
In a comparison of personal relationships, friendship is considered to be closer than association, although there is a range of degrees of intimacy in both friendships and associations. Friendship and association can be thought of as spanning across the same continuum. The study of friendship is included in sociology, anthropology, philosophy, and zoology. Various theories of friendship have been proposed, among which are social psychology, social exchange theory, equity theory, relational dialectics, and attachment styles. See Interpersonal relationships
1 Friendship in history
2 Cultural variations
2.4 Modern west
2.4.1 Decline of friendships in U.S. civilization
3 Developmental issues
4 Types of friendships
5 Non-personal friendships
6 Interspecies friendship and animal friendship
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
 Friendship in history
Friendship is considered one of the central human experiences, and has been sanctified by all major religions. The Epic of Gilgamesh, a Babylonian poem that is among the earliest known literary works in history, chronicles in great depth the friendship between Gilgamesh and Enkidu. The Greco-Roman had, as paramount examples, the friendship of Orestes and Pylades, and, in Virgil’s Aeneid, the friendship of Euryalus and Nisus. The Abrahamic faiths have the story of David and Jonathan. Friendship played an important role in German Romanticism. A good example for this is Schiller’s Die Bürgschaft. The Christian Gospels state that Jesus Christ declared, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”(John 15:13).
In philosophy, Aristotle is known for his discussion (in the Nicomachean Ethics) of philia, which is usually (somewhat misleadingly) translated as “friendship,” and certainly includes friendship, though is a much broader concept.
 Cultural variations
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A group of friends consists of two or more people who are in a mutually pleasing relationship engendering a sentiment of camaraderie, exclusivity, and mutual trust. There are varying degrees of “closeness” between friends. Hence, some people choose to differentiate and categorize friendships based on this sentiment.
During the time of the Roman Empire, Cicero had his own beliefs on friendship. Cicero believed that in order to have a true friendship with someone there must be all honesty and truth. If there isn’t, then this isn’t a true friendship. In that case, friends must be one hundred percent honest with each other and put one hundred percent of their trust in the other person. Cicero also believed that for people to be friends with another person, they must do things without the expectation that their friend will have to repay them. He also believes that if a friend is about to do something wrong, and something that goes against your morals, you shouldn’t compromise your morals. You must explain why what they are going to do is wrong, and help them to see what the right thing to do is, because Cicero believes that ignorance is the cause of evil. Finally the last thing that Cicero believed was that the reason that a friendship comes to an end is because one person in that friendship has become bad. (On Friendship, Cicero)
The relationship is constructed differently in different cultures. In Russia, for example, one typically accords very few people the status of “friend”. These friendships, however, make up in intensity what they lack in number. Friends are entitled to call each other by their first names alone, and to use diminutives. A norm of polite behaviour is addressing “acquaintances” by full first name plus patronymic. These could include relationships which elsewhere would be qualified as real friendships, such as workplace relationships of long standing, neighbors with whom one shares an occasional meal and visit, and so on. Physical contact between friends was expected, and friends, whether or not of the same sex, would embrace, sometimes kiss and walk in public with their arms around each other, or arm-in-arm, or hand-in-hand.
In the Middle East and Central Asia, male friendships, while less restricted than in Russia, tend also to be reserved and respectable in nature. They may use nick names and diminutive forms of their first names.
 Modern west
In the Western world, intimate physical contact has been sexualized in the public mind over the last one hundred years and is considered almost taboo in friendship, especially between two males. However, stylized hugging or kissing may be considered acceptable, depending on the context (see, for example, the kiss the tramp gives the kid in The Kid). In Spain and other Mediterranean countries, men may embrace each other in public and kiss each other on the cheek. This is not limited solely to older generations but rather is present throughout all generations. In young children throughout the modern Western world, friendship, usually of a homosocial nature, typically exhibits elements of a closeness and intimacy suppressed later in life in order to conform to societal standards.
 Decline of friendships in U.S. civilization
According to a 2006 study documented in the journal the American Sociological Review, Americans are thought to be suffering a loss in the quality and quantity of close friendships since at least 1985. The study states 25% of Americans have no close confidants, and the average total number of confidants per citizen has dropped from four to two.
According to the study:
Americans’ dependence on family as a safety net went up from 57% to 80%
Americans’ dependence on a partner or spouse went up from 5% to 9%
Research has found a link between fewer friendships (especially in quality) and psychological and physiological regression
In recent times, it is postulated modern American friendships have lost the force and importance they had in antiquity. C. S. Lewis for example, in his The Four Loves, writes:
“ To the Ancients, Friendship seemed the happiest and most fully human of all loves; the crown of life and the school of virtue. The modern world, in comparison, ignores it. We admit of course that besides a wife and family a man needs a few ‘friends’. But the very tone of the admission, and the sort of acquaintanceships which those who make it would describe as ‘friendships’, show clearly that what they are talking about has very little to do with that Philía which Aristotle classified among the virtues or that Amicitia on which Cicero wrote a book. ”
 Developmental issues
In the sequence of the emotional development of the individual, friendships come after parental bonding and before the pair bonding engaged in at the approach of maturity. In the intervening period between the end of early childhood and the onset of full adulthood, friendships are often the most important relationships in the emotional life of the adolescent, and are often more intense than relationships later in life. However making friends seems to trouble lots of people; having no friends can be emotionally damaging in some cases. Sometimes going years without a single friend can lead to suicide. A long time of friendship may also result in marriage, as they say[who?], too much friendship, is followed by a compromise.
A study by researchers from Purdue University found that post secondary education (e.g. university) friendships last longer than the friendships before it.
 Types of friendships
Best friend (or close friend): a person(s) with whom someone shares extremely strong interpersonal ties with as a friend.
Acquaintance: similar to a friend, but sharing of emotional ties aren’t present. An example would be a coworker with whom you enjoy eating lunch, but would not look to for emotional support.
Romantic friendship: the very close but non-sexual friendship shared between two friends, often involving physical contact such as hugging, holding hands, and even cuddling.
Soulmate: the name given to someone who is considered the ultimate, true, and eternal half of the other’s soul, in which the two are and forever were meant to be together.
Pen pal: a person who shares a “postal” relationship with another and regularly writes via “snail mail”. They may or may not have met each other in person and may share either love, friendship, or simply an acquaintance between each other.
Internet friendship: a widely debated and form of friendship or romance which takes place over the Internet.
Comrade: means “ally”, “friend”, or “colleague” in a military or (usually) left-wing political connotation. This is the feeling of affinity that draws people together in time of war or when people have a mutual enemy or even a common goal. Friendship can be mistaken for comradeship. Former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges wrote:
“ We feel in wartime comradeship. We confuse this with friendship, with love. There are those, who will insist that the comradeship of war is love — the exotic glow that makes us in war feel as one people, one entity, is real, but this is part of war’s intoxication. […] Friends are predetermined; friendship takes place between men and women who possess an intellectual and emotional affinity for each other. But comradeship – that ecstatic bliss that comes with belonging to the crowd in wartime – is within our reach. We can all have comrades. ”
As a war ends, or a common enemy recedes, many comrades return to being strangers, who lack friendship and have little in common.
Casual relationship or “Friends with benefits”: the sexual or near-sexual and emotional relationship between two people who don’t expect or demand to share a formal romantic relationship. In the U.S., this is considered “a fling”.
Boston marriage: a term used in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to denote two women that lived together in the same household independent of male support. Relationships were not necessarily sexual. It was used to quell fears of lesbians after World War I.
Blood brother or blood sister: may refer to people related by birth, or a circle of friends who swear loyalty by mingling the blood of each member together.
Open relationship: a relationship, usually between two people, that agree each partner is free to have sexual intercourse with others outside the relationship. When this agreement is made between a married couple, it’s called an open marriage.
Roommate: a person who shares a room or apartment (flat) with another person and do not share a familial or romantic relationship.
Imaginary friend: a non-physical friend created by a child. It may be seen as bad behavior or even taboo (some religious parents even consider their child to be possessed by an evil spirit), but is most commonly regarded as harmless, typical childhood behavior. The friend may or may not be human, and commonly serves a protective purpose.
Spiritual friendship: the old buddhist ideal of kalyana-mitra, that is a relationship between friends with a common interest, though one person may have more knowledge and experience than the other. The relationship is the responsibility of both friends and both bring something to it.
See also: Marriage
Love is closely related to friendship in that it involves strong interpersonal ties between two or more people. A child may love his or her parents or a man may love a woman. Love can also be used in non-personal terms such as a girl may love soccer or someone may love their favorite color.
In terms of interpersonal relationships, there are two distinct types of love:
1.Platonic love: is a deep and spiritual connection between two individuals. It is love where the sexual element does not enter.
2.Romantic love: considered similar to Platonic love, but involves sexual elements.
 Non-personal friendships
Although the term initially described relations between individuals, it is at times used for political purposes to describe relations between states or peoples (“the Franco-German friendship”, for example), indicating in this case an affinity or mutuality of purpose between the two nations.
Regarding this aspect of international relations, Lord Palmerston said:
“ Therefore I say that it is a narrow policy to suppose that this country or that is to be marked out as the eternal ally or the perpetual enemy of England. We have no eternal allies, and we have no perpetual enemies. Our interests are eternal and perpetual, and those interests it is our duty to follow. ”
This is often paraphrased as: “Nations have no permanent friends and no permanent enemies. Only permanent interests.”
The word “friendship” can be used in political speeches as an emotive modifier. Friendship in international relationships often refers to the quality of historical, existing, or anticipated bilateral relationships.
 Interspecies friendship and animal friendship
Friendship as a type of interpersonal relationship is found also among animals with high intelligence, such as the higher mammals and some birds. Cross-species friendships are common between humans and domestic animals. Less common but noteworthy are friendships between an animal and another animal of a different species[who?], such as a dog and cat.
See also: ethology, altruism in animals, sociobiology
Aristotle, Nicomachean Ethics
Cicero, Laelius de Amicitia
David Hein, “Farrer on Friendship, Sainthood, and the Will of God” (in Captured by the Crucified: The Practical Theology of Austin Farrer, edited by David Hein and Edward Hugh Henderson. New York and London: Continuum/T. & T. Clark, 2004. 119–48)
John von Heyking and Richard Avramenko (eds.), Friendship and Politics: Essays in Political Thought. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 2008.
Human bonding refers to the development of a close, interpersonal relationship between family members or friends. Bonding is a mutual, interactive process, and is not the same as simple liking.
The term is from the 12th century, Middle English word band or band, which refers to something that binds, ties, or restrains. In early usage, a bondman, bondwoman, or bondservant was a feudal serf that was obligated to serve his or her lord without pay. In modern usage, a bondsman is a person who provides bonds or surety for someone.
Bonding typically refers to the process of attachment that develops between romantic partners, close friends, or parents and children. This bond is characterized by emotions such as affection and trust. Any two people that spend time together may form a bond.
Male bonding refers to the establishment of relationships between men through shared activities that often exclude females. The term female bonding is less frequently used, but refers to the formation of close personal relationships between women.
1 Early views
2 Pair bonding
2.1 Limerent bond
3 Parental bonding
3.2 Maternal bonding
3.3 Paternal bonding
4 Human-animal bonding
6 Weak ties
7 Debonding and loss
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
11.2 Baby bonding
11.3 Adoption bonding
11.4 Human-animal bonding
 Early views
In the 4th century BC, the Greek philosopher Plato argued that love directs the bonds of human society. In his Symposium, Eryximachus, one of the narrators in the dialog, states that love goes far beyond simple attraction to human beauty. He states that it occurs throughout the animal and plant kingdoms, as well as throughout the universe. Love directs everything that occurs, in the realm of the gods as well as that of humans (186a-b).
Eyrximachus reasons that when various opposing elements such as wet and dry are “animated by the proper species of Love, they are in harmony with one another… But when the sort of Love that is crude and impulsive controls the seasons, he brings death and destruction” (188a). Because it is love that guides the relations between these sets of opposites throughout existence, in every case it is the higher form of love that brings harmony and cleaves toward the good, whereas the impulsive vulgar love creates disharmony.
Plato concludes that the highest form of love is the greatest. When love “is directed, in temperance and justice, towards the good, whether in heaven or on earth: happiness and good fortune, the bonds of human society, concord with the gods above- all these are among his gifts” (188d).
In the 1660s, the Dutch philosopher Spinoza wrote, in his Ethics of Human Bondage or the Strength of the Emotions, that the term “bondage” relates to the human infirmity in moderating and checking the emotions. That is, according to Spinoza, “when a man is prey to his emotions, he is not his own master, but lies at the mercy of fortune.”
In 1809 Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, in his classic novella Elective Affinities, wrote of the “marriage tie,” and by analogy shows how strong marriage unions are similar in character to that by which the particles of quicksilver find a unity together though the process of chemical affinity. Humans in passionate relationships, according to Goethe, are analogous to reactive substances in a chemical equation.
 Pair bonding
Main article: Pair bond
The term, pair-bond originated in 1940 in reference to mated pairs of birds. It is a generic term signifying a monogamous or relatively monogamous relationship in either humans or animals. The term is commonly used in sociobiology and evolutionary psychology. Pair-bonding, usually of a fairly short duration, occurs in a variety of primate species. Some scientists speculate that prolonged bonds developed in humans along with increased sharing of food.
a couple sharing time together
 Limerent bond
Main article: Limerence
According to limerence theory, positioned in 1979 by psychologist Dorothy Tennov, a certain percentage of couples may go through what is called a limerent reaction, in which one or both of the pair may experience a state of passion mixed with continuous intrusive thinking, fear of rejection, and hope. Hence, with all human romantic relationships, one of three varieties of bonds may form, defined over a set duration of time, in relation to the experience or non-experience of limerence:
1.Affectional bond: define relationships in which neither partner is limerent.
2.Limerent-Nonlimerent bond: define relationships in which one partner is limerent.
3.Limerent-Limerent bond: define relationships in which both partners are limerent.
The constitution of these bonds may vary over the course of the relationship, in ways that may either increase or decrease the intensity of the limerence. The basis and interesting characteristic of this delineation made by Tennov, is that based on her research and interviews with over 500 people, all human bonded relationships can be divided into three varieties being defined by the amount of limerence or non-limerence each partner contributes to the relationship.
A mother breast feeding – a process that facilitates mother-infant bonding.
 Parental bonding
Main articles: Affectional bond and Attachment theory
In 1958, British developmental psychologist John Bowlby published the ground-breaking paper “the Nature of the Child’s Tie to his Mother”, in which the precursory concepts of “attachment theory” were developed. This included the development of the concept of the affectional bond, sometimes referred to as the emotional bond, which is based on the universal tendency for humans to attach, i.e. to seek closeness to another person and to feel secure when that person is present. Attachment theory has some of its origins in the observation of and experiments with animals, but is also based on observations of children who had missed typical experiences of adult care. Much of the early research on attachment in humans was done by John Bowlby and his associates. Bowlby proposed that babies have an inbuilt need from birth to make emotional attachments, i.e. bonds, because this increases the chances of survival by ensuring that they receive the care they need.
 Maternal bonding
Main article: Maternal bond
Of all human bonds, the maternal bond is considered to be one of the strongest. The maternal bond begins to develop during pregnancy; following pregnancy, the production of oxytocin during lactation increases parasympathetic activity, thus reducing anxiety and theoretically fostering bonding. It is generally understood that maternal oxytocin circulation can predispose some mammals to show caregiving behavior in response to young of their species.
Breastfeeding has been reported to foster the early post-partum maternal bond, via touch, response, and mutual gazing.. Extensive claims for the effect of breastfeeding were made in the 1930s by Margaret Ribble, a champion of “infant rights” , but were rejected on scientific grounds. . The claimed effect is not universal, and bottle-feeding mothers are generally appropriately concerned with their babies. It is difficult to determine the extent of causality due to a number of confounding variables, such as the varied reasons families choose different feeding methods. Many believe that early bonding ideally increases response and sensitivity to the child’s needs, bolstering the quality of the mother-baby relationship – however, many exceptions can be found of highly successful mother-baby bonds, even though early breastfeeding did not occur, such as with premature infants who may lack the necessary sucking strength to successfully breastfeed.
Father playing with his young daughter – an activity that tends to strengthen the father-child bond.
 Paternal bonding
Main article: Paternal bond
In contrast to the maternal bond, paternal bonds tend to vary greatly over the span of a child’s development in terms of both strength and stability. In fact, many children now grow up in fatherless households and do not experience a paternal bond at all. In general, paternal bonding is more dominant later in a child’s life after language develops. Fathers may be more influential in play-interactions as opposed to nurturance-interactions. Father-child bonds also tend to develop with respect to topics such as political views or money, whereas mother-child bonds tend to develop in relation to topics such as religious views or general outlooks on life.
In 2003, researcher from Northwestern University in Illinois found that progesterone, a hormone more usually associated with pregnancy and maternal bonding, may also control the way men react towards their children. Specifically, they found that a lack of progesterone reduced aggressive behaviour in male mice and stimulated them to act in a fatherly way towards their offspring.
 Human-animal bonding
Main articles: Pet and Animal love
Human-animal bond human to animal contact is known to reduce the physiological characteristics of stress.The human-animal bond can be defined as a connection between people and animals, domestic or wild; be it a cat as a pet or birds outside one’s window. Research into the nature and merit of the human animal bond began in the late 1700s when, in York, England, the Society of Friends established the The Retreat to provide humane treatment for the mentally ill. By having patients care for the many farm animals on the estate, society officials theorized that the combination of animal contact plus productive work would facilitate the patients’ rehabilitation. In the 1870s in Paris, a French surgeon had patients with neurological disorders ride horses. The patients were found to have improved their motor control and balance and were less likely to suffer bouts of depression.
In the 19th century, in Bielefeld, Germany, epileptic patients were given the prescription to spend time each day taking care of cats and dogs. The contact with the animals was found to reduce the occurrence of seizures. In 1980, a team of scientists at the University of Pennsylvania found that human to animal contact was found to reduce the physiological characteristics of stress; specifically, lowered levels of blood pressure, heart rate, respiratory rate, anxiety, and tension were all found to correlate positively with human pet bonding.
Historically, animals were domesticated for functional use; for example, dogs for herding and tracking, and cats for killing mice or rats. Today, in Western societies, their function is primarily a bonding function. For example, current studies show that 60–80% of dogs sleep with their owners at night in the bedroom, either in or on the bed. Moreover, in the past the majority of cats were kept outside (barn cats) whereas today most cats are kept indoors (housecats) and considered part of the family. Presently, in the US, for example, 1.2 billion animals are kept as pets, primarily for bonding purposes. In addition, as of 1995 there were over 30 research institutions looking into the potential benefits of the human animal bond.
There is evidence in a variety of species that the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin are involved in the bonding process, and in other forms of prosocial and reproductive behavior. Both chemicals facilitate pair bonding and maternal behavior in experiments on laboratory animals. In humans, there is evidence that oxytocin and vasopressin are released during labor and breastfeeding, and that these events are associated with maternal bonding. According to one model, social isolation leads to stress, which is associated with activity in the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis and the release of cortisol. Positive social interaction is associated with increased oxytocin. This leads to bonding, which is also associated with higher levels of oxytocin and vasopressin, and reduced stress and stress-related hormones.
Oxytocin is associated with higher levels of trust in laboratory studies on humans. It has been called the “cuddle chemical” for its role in facilitating trust and attachment. In the reward centers of the limbic system, the neurotransmitter, dopamine may interact with oxytocin and further increase the likelihood of bonding. One team of researchers has argued that oxytocin only plays a secondary role in affiliation, and that endogenous opiates play the central role. According to this model, affiliation is a function of the brain systems underlying reward and memory formation.
Because the vast majority of this research has been done on animals– and the majority of that on rodents– these findings must be taken with caution when applied to humans. One of the few studies that looked at the influence of hormones on human bonding compared participants who had recently fallen in love with a control group. There were no differences for most of the hormones measured, including LH, estradiol, progesterone, DHEAS, and androstenedione. Testosterone and FSH were lower in men who had recently fallen in love, and there was also a difference in blood cortisol for both sexes, with higher levels in the group that was in love. These differences disappeared after 12-28 months and may reflect the temporary stress and arousal of a new relationship.
 Weak ties
Main article: Interpersonal ties
In 1962, Mark Granovetter, a freshman history major at Harvard, became enamored with the concepts underlying the classic chemistry lecture in which “weak” hydrogen bonds hold huge water molecule together, which themselves are held together by “strong” covalent bonds. This model was the stimulus behind his famous 1973 paper The Strength of Weak Ties, which is now considered a classic paper in sociology.
Weak social bonds are believed to be responsible for the majority of the embeddedness and structure of social networks in society as well as the transmission of information through these networks. Specifically, more novel information flows to individuals through weak than through strong ties. Because our close friends tend to move in the same circles that we do, the information they receive overlaps considerably with what we already know. Acquaintances, by contrast, know people that we do not, and thus receive more novel information.
 Debonding and loss
In 1976, sociologist Diane Vaughan proposed an “uncoupling theory”, where, during the dynamics of relationship breakup, there exists “turning point”, only noted in hindsight, followed by transition period in which one partner unconsciously knows the relationship is going to end, but holds on to it for an extended period, sometimes for a number of years.
When a person to which one has become bonded is lost, a grief response may occur. Grief is the process of accepting the loss and adjusting to the changed situation. Grief may take longer than the initial development of the bond, typically one to two years for the loss of a marital partner. The grief process varies with culture.
Interpersonal attraction is the attraction between people which leads to friendships and romantic relationships. The study of interpersonal attraction is a major area of research in social psychology. Interpersonal attraction is related to how much we like, love, dislike, or hate someone. It can be viewed as a force acting between two people that tends to draw them together and resist their separation. When measuring interpersonal attraction, one must refer to the qualities of the attracted as well as the qualities of the attractor to achieve predictive accuracy. It is suggested that to determine attraction, personality and situation must be taken into account. Repulsion is also a factor in the process of interpersonal attraction, one’s conception of “attraction” to another can vary from extreme attraction to extreme repulsion.
2.1 Similarity in different aspects
2.2 Reasons of spouse similarity (Watson et al., 2004)
2.3 Effects of similarity on interpersonal attraction
3.1 Similarity or Complementarity?
4 Social Exchange Theory
5 Attraction = Friendship
6 Attraction = Romantic Relationship
7 Evolutionary theories
8 Breaking up
9 See also
Many factors leading to interpersonal attraction have been studied. The most frequently studied are: physical attractiveness, propinquity, familiarity, similarity, complementarity, reciprocal liking, and reinforcement.
The notion of “birds of a feather flock together” points out that similarity is a crucial determinant of interpersonal attraction. According to Morry’s attraction-similarity model (2007), there is a lay belief that people with actual similarity produce initial attraction. Perceived similarity develops for someone to rate others as similar to themselves in on-going relationship. Such perception is either self-serving (friendship) or relationship-serving (romantic relationship). Newcomb (1963) pointed out that people tend to change perceived similarity to obtain balance in a relationship. Additionally, perceived similarity was found to be greater than actual similarity in predicting interpersonal attraction.
 Similarity in different aspects
Findings suggest that interpersonal similarity and attraction are multidimensional constructs (Lydon, Jamieson & Zanna, 1988), in which people are attracted to others who are similar to them in demographics, physical appearance, attitudes, interpersonal style, social and cultural background, personality, interests and activities preferences, and communication and social skills. A study conducted by Theodore Newcomb (1961) on college dorm roommates suggested that individuals with shared background, majors, attitudes, values, and political views became friends.
The matching hypothesis proposed by Goffman (1952) suggests why people become attracted to their partner. It claims that people are more likely to form long standing relationships with those who are equally physically attractive as they are. The study by Walster and Walster (1969) supported the matching hypothesis by showing that partners who were similar in terms of physical attractiveness expressed the most liking for each other. Murstein (1972) also found evidence that supported the matching hypothesis: photos of dating and engaged couples were rated in terms of attractiveness. A definite tendency was found for couples of similar attractiveness to date or engage.
According to the ‘law of attraction’ by Byrne (1971), attraction towards a person is positively related to the proportion of attitudes similarity associated with that person. Clore (1976) also raised that the one with similar attitudes as yours was more agreeable with your perception of things and more reinforcing s/he was, so the more you like him/her. Based on the cognitive consistency theories, difference in attitudes and interests can lead to dislike and avoidance (Singh & Ho, 2000; Tan & Singh, 1995) whereas similarity in attitudes promotes social attraction (Byrne, London & Reeves, 1968; Singh & Ho, 2000). Miller (1972) pointed out that attitude similarity activates the perceived attractiveness and favorability information from each other, whereas dissimilarity would reduce the impact of these cues. The studies by Jamieson, Lydon and Zanna (1987, 1988) showed that attitude similarity could predict how people evaluate their respect for each other, and social and intellectual first impressions which in terms of activity preference similarity and value-based attitude similarity respectively. In intergroup comparisons, high attitude similarity would lead to homogeneity among in-group members whereas low attitude similarity would lead to diversity among in-group members, promoting social attraction and achieving high group performance in different tasks (Hahn & Hwang, 1999). Although attitudinal similarity and attraction are linearly related, attraction may not contribute significantly to attitude change (Simons, Berkowitz & Moyer, 1970)
Social and cultural background
Byrne, Clore and Worchel (1966) suggested people with similar economic status are likely to be attracted to each other. Buss & Barnes (1986) also found that people prefer their romantic partners to be similar in certain demographic characteristics, including religious background, political orientation and socio-economic status.
Researchers have shown that interpersonal attraction was positively correlated to personality similarity (Goldman, Rosenzweig & Lutter, 1980). People inclined to desire romantic partners who are similar to themselves on agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, emotional stability, openness to experience (Botwin, Buss, & Shackelford, 1997), and attachment style (Klohnen & Luo, 2003).
Interests and activities
Activity similarity was especially predictive of liking judgments, which affects the judgments of attraction (Lydon, Jamieson & Zanna, 1988). Lydon and Zanna (1987, 1988) claimed that high self-monitoring people were influenced more by activity preference similarity than attitude similarity on initial attraction, while low self-monitoring people were influenced more on initial attraction by value-based attitude similarity than activity preference similarity.
According to the post-conversation measures of social attraction, tactical similarity was positively correlated with partner satisfaction and global competence ratings, but was uncorrelated with the opinion change and perceived persuasiveness measures (Waldron & Applegate, 1998).
 Reasons of spouse similarity (Watson et al., 2004)
Social homogamy refers to “passive, indirect effects on spousal similarity” (Watson et al., 2004, p.1034). The result showed that age and education level are crucial in affecting the mate preference. Because people with similar age study and interact more in the same form of the school, propinquity effect (i.e., the tendency of people to meet and spend time with those who share the common characteristics) plays a significant impact in spousal similarity.
Convergence refers to an increasing similarity with time. Although the previous research showed that there is a greater effect on attitude and value than on personality traits, however, it is found that initial assortment (i.e., similarity within couples at the beginning of marriage), rather than convergence, plays a crucial role in explaining spousal similarity.
Active assortment refers to direct effects on choosing someone similar as self in mating preferences. The data showed that there is a greater effect on political and religious attitudes than on personality traits. A follow-up issue on the reason of the finding was raised. The concepts of idiosyncratic (i.e., different individuals has different mate preferences) and consensual (i.e., a consensus of preference on some prospective mates to others) in mate preference. The data showed that mate preference on political and religious tend to be idiosyncratic, for example, A Catholic prefers to choose the one who is a Catholic, rather than a Buddhist. Such idiosyncratic preference produces high level of active assortment which plays a vital role in affecting spousal similarity.
In summary, active assortment is the most powerful in explaining spousal similarity, whereas convergence has little evidence on showing such effect.
 Effects of similarity on interpersonal attraction
Similarity has effects on starting a relationship by initial attraction to know each other. It is showed that high attitude similarity resulted in a significant increase in initial attraction to the target person and high attitude dissimilarity resulted in a decrease of initial attraction (Gutkin, Gridley & Wendt, 1976; Kaplan & Olczak, 1971). Besides, similarity also promotes relationship commitment. Study on heterosexual dating couples found that similarity in intrinsic values of the couple was linked to relationship commitment and stability (Kurdek & Schnopp-Wyatt, 1997).
The model of complementarity explains whether “birds of a feather flock together” or “opposites attract”.
Studies show that complementary interaction between two partners increases their attractiveness to each other (Nowicki and Manheim, 1991). Complementary partners preferred closer interpersonal relationship than non-complementary ones (Nowicki & Manheim,1991). Couples who reported the highest level of loving and harmonious relationship were more dissimilar in dominance than couples who scored lower in relationship quality. (Markey & Markey (2007)).
Mathes and Moore (1985) found that people were more attracted to peers approximating to their ideal self than to those who did not. Specifically, low self-esteem individuals appeared more likely to desire a complementary relationship than high self-esteem people. We are attracted to people who complement to us because this allows us to maintain our preferred style of behavior (Markey & Markey (2007), and through interaction with someone who complements our own behavior, we are likely to have a sense of self-validation and security (Carson, 1969).
 Similarity or Complementarity?
Principles of similarity and complementarity seem to be contradictory on the surface (Posavac, 1971; Klohnen & Mendelsohn, 1998). In fact, they agree on the dimension of warmth. Both principles state that friendly people would prefer friendly partners. (Dryer & Horowitz, 1997)
The importance of similarity and complementarity may depend on the stage of the relationship. Similarity seems to carry considerable weight in initial attraction, while complementarity assumes importance as the relationship develops over time (Vinacke, Shannon, Palazzo, Balsavage, et-al, 1988). Markey (2007) found that people would be more satisfied with their relationship if their partners differed from them, at least, in terms of dominance, as two dominant persons may experience conflicts while two submissive individuals may have frustration as neither member take the initiative.
Perception and actual behavior might not be congruent with each other. There were cases that dominant people perceived their partners to be similarly dominant, yet in the eyes of independent observers, the actual behavior of their partner was submissive, in other words, complementary to them (Dryer1997). Why do people perceive their romantic partners to be similar to them despite evidence to the contrary? The reason remains unclear, pending further research.
 Social Exchange Theory
People’s feelings toward a potential partner are dependent on their perception of rewards and costs, the kind of relationships they deserve, and their likelihood for having a healthier relationship with someone else. Rewards are the part of a relationship that makes it worthwhile and enjoyable. A cost is something that can cause irritation like a friend overstaying his welcome. Comparison level is also taken into account during a relationship. This suggests that people expect rewards or costs depending on the time invested in the relationship. If the level of expected rewards are minimal and the level of costs is high, the relationship suffers and both parties may become dissatisfied and unhappy. Lastly, the comparison of alternatives means that satisfaction is conditional on the chance that a person could replace the relationship with a more desirable one.
 Attraction = Friendship
Warren Kubitschek and Maureen Hallinan, University of Notre Dame, social psychologists who suggested that attraction is the result of the propinquity and similarity effects and the status of each party involved. Their study was about the tracking program that organizes students according to their level of ability to learn. This is mostly implemented in middle and almost all of high school. Their goal is to prove that students on the same track have a higher probability of becoming friends compared to those in different tracks according. Other organizational based groupings should also follow these factors. The propinquity effect creates an ideal environment where students are in close physical proximity with each other and have the chance to build familiarity that leads to friendship. Similarity in tracking students is important because they found that track students tend to become friends with others who have the same academic achievement and expectations as themselves. They also found that students on the same level of status concerning grades will likely name them than those who are on lower level than their own. They conclude that although the factors mentioned do have great influence on friendship, they are not exclusive for organized program like tracking.
 Attraction = Romantic Relationship
The triangular theory of love by Robert Sternberg is based on intimacy, passion, and commitment. Consummate love being the strongest type of love which consists of three aspects: intimacy+passion+commitment. The idea of this theory is that love can consist of one component alone or any combination of the three parts: intimacy, passion, and commitment.
There are many factors taken into account when a relationship turns into love. One big factor is culture. This is a common issue among two people who come from very different cultural backgrounds. In a study done by Phillip Shavers and his colleagues, they interviewed participants from different parts of the world and found that love has “similar and different meanings cross-culturally. The Chinese participants had several different love concepts such as “sorrow-love”,”tenderness-pity”, and “sorrow-pity”. This ties into another study done by Rothbaym and his partner Tsang in 1998 in which they researched popular love songs from American and Chinese artists. The difference was that the Chinese love songs “had significantly more references to suffering and to negative outcomes than the American love songs”. This may be due to beliefs that interpersonal relationships are predestined, and thus have no control over love lives.
 Evolutionary theories
The evolutionary theory of human interpersonal attraction states that interpersonal attraction most often occurs when someone has physical features indicating that he or she is very fertile. The only purpose of relationships is reproduction, thus people invest in partners who appear very fertile to increase the chance of their genes being passed down to the next generation. This theory has been criticized because it does not explain relationships between same-sex couples or couples who do not want children.
Another evolutionary explanation suggests that fertility in a mate is of greater importance to men than to women. According to this theory, a woman places significant emphasis on a man’s ability to provide resources and protection. The theory suggests that these resources and protection are important in ensuring the successful raising of the woman’s offspring. The ability to provide resources and protection might also be sought because the underlying traits are likely to be passed on to male offspring.
Evolutionary theory also suggests that people whose physical features suggest they are healthy are seen as more attractive. The theory suggests that a healthy mate is more likely to possess genetic traits related to health that would be passed on to offspring. People’s tendency to consider people with facial symmetry more attractive than those with less symmetrical faces is one example. However a test was conducted that found that perfectly symmetrical faces were less attractive than normal faces. 
It has also been suggested that people are attracted to faces similar to their own. Case studies have revealed that when a photograph of a woman was superimposed to include the features of a man’s face, the man whose face was superimposed almost always rated that picture the most attractive. This theory is based upon the notion that we want to replicate our own features in the next generation, as we have survived thus far with such features and have instinctive survival wishes for our children. Another (non-evolutionary) explanation given for the results of that study was that the man whose face was superimposed may have consciously or subconsciously associated the photographically altered female face with the face of his mother or other family member.
 Breaking up
Breaking up is the ending of a relationship whether its a friendship or romantic relationship. There are several reasons that a relationship may come to an end. One reason derives from the equity theory (rewards and costs are equal to both parties). If a person in the relationship feels that the personal costs of being in the relationship outweigh the rewards there is a strong chance that he/she will end the relationship. This also may go for the rewards outweighing costs in some cases.
Interpersonal communication is defined by communication scholars in numerous ways, usually describing participants who are dependent upon one another and have a shared history. Communication channels, the conceptualization of mediums that carry messages from sender to receiver, take two distinct forms: direct and indirect.
Direct channels are obvious and easily recognized by the receiver. Both verbal and non-verbal information is completely controlled by the sender. Verbal channels rely on words, as in written or spoken communication. Non-verbal channels encompass facial expressions, controlled body movements (police present hand gestures to control traffic), color (red signals ‘stop’, green signals ‘go’), and sound (warning sirens).
Indirect channels are usually recognized subconsciously by the receiver, and are not always under direct control of the sender. Body language, comprising most of the indirect channel, may inadvertently reveal one’s true emotions, and thereby either unintentionally taint or bolster the believability of any intended verbal message. Subconscious reception and interpretation of these signals is often described with arbitrary terms like gut-feeling, hunch, or premonition.
Context refers to the conditions that precede or surround the communication. It consists of present or past events from which the meaning of the message is derived, though it may also, in the case of written communications, depend upon the statements preceding and following the quotation in question. Immediate surroundings may also color the perceived meaning of words; normally safe discourse may easily become contextually ambiguous or offensive in a restroom or shower hall. These influences do not constitute the message by themselves, but rather these extraneous nuances subtly change the message’s effective meaning. Ultimately, context includes the entire world, but usually refers to salient factors such as the following:
Physical milieu: the season or weather, current physical location and environment
Situational milieu: classroom, military conflict, supermarket checkout
Cultural and linguistic backgrounds
Developmental progress (maturity) or emotional state
Complementary or contrasting roles: boss and employee; teacher and student; parent, child, and spouse; friend or enemy; partner or competitor
Interpersonal compatibility is a concept that describes the long-term interaction between two or more individuals in terms of the ease and comfort of communication.
1 Existing concepts
3 See also
 Existing concepts
Although various concepts of interpersonal compatibility have existed from ancient times (see e.g. Plato’s Lysis), no general theory of interpersonal compatibility has been proposed in psychology. Existing concepts are contradictory in many details, beginning with the central point — whether compatibility is caused by matching psychological parameters or by their complementarity. At the same time, the idea of interpersonal compatibility is extremely popular in non-scientific and anti-scientific circles (see e.g. Astrological compatibility).
Among existing psychological tools for studying and/or measuring interpersonal compatibility, the following are noteworthy:
a test of interpersonal compatibility proposed by Timothy Leary
a three-factor hypothesis by William Schutz (further developed into FIRO-B questionnaire)
Hans Jurgen Eysenck’s hypothesis on compatibility between temperaments
Social psychological research on similarity of interests and attitudes
hypothesis of compatibility between personality attitudes by Russell Ackoff and Frederick Edmund Emery, 
DMO tool by Lyudmila Sobchik (DMO stands for Interpersonal relations diagnostics, Russian: диагностика межличностных отношений)
Socionics has proposed a theory of intertype relationships between psychological types based on a modified version of C.G. Jung’s theory of psychological types. Communication between types is described using the concept of information metabolism proposed by Antoni Kępiński. However, socionic theory is somewhat controversial because of a lack of experimental data (although socionic data are much more representative than e.g. those of Ackoff and Emery).
Alternative hypotheses of intertype relationships were later proposed by adherents of MBTI (D. Keirsey’s hypothesis of compatibility between Keirsey temperaments, an intertype relationships chart by Joe Butt and Marina Margaret Heiss, LoveTypes by Alexander Avila and some other theories) Neither of these hypotheses is commonly accepted in the Myers-Briggs type theory. MBTI in Russia is often confused with socionics, although the 16 types in these theories are described differently and do not correlate exactly.
The following problems may be reasons for the absence of a theory of psychological compatibility:
lack of generally accepted criteria for measuring compatibility (‘degrees of compatibility’)
the terms compatibility and matching, although not identical, are often confused in common speech
the field’s unclear status in social science (the problem may belong to social psychology, sociology, personality psychology etc.)
different psychological theories propose different parameters of personality, but only few of them are generally accepted among psychologists (e.g. cognitive styles); still, even generally accepted criteria may be irrelevant to interpersonal compatibility
some, if not all personality parameters (even genetically determined ones), may change over time and/or due to interpersonal interaction
the non-traditional view of psychological dependency, which is not considered drug dependency, but rather a need (unilateral or mutual) for somebody else’s psychological support that one cannot or can hardly provide by him/herself.
An intimate relationship is a particularly close interpersonal relationship. It is a relationship in which the participants know or trust one another very well or are confidants of one another, or a relationship in which there is physical or emotional intimacy.
Physical intimacy is characterized by romantic or passionate love and attachment, or sexual activity.
 Physical and emotional intimacy
Main articles: Love and Intimacy
Love is an important factor in physical and emotional intimate relationships. Though the term is notoriously difficult to define, any thoughtful inquiry into the subject will show it to be qualitatively, not only quantitatively, different than liking, and the difference is not merely in the presence or absence of sexual attraction. According to one analysis, love in relationships is divided into two types: passionate and companionate. Passionate love is intense longing, and is often accompanied by physiological arousal (shortness of breath, rapid heart rate). Companionate love is affection and a feeling of intimacy and is not necessarily accompanied by physiological arousal.
People who are in an intimate relationship with one another are often called a couple, especially if the members of that couple have ascribed some degree of permanency to their relationship. Such couples often provide the emotional security that is necessary for them to accomplish other tasks, particularly forms of labor/work.
 The intimate partners
Terms for partners in intimate relationships include:
Confidant or confidante
Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection. The word love can refer to a variety of different feelings, states, and attitudes, ranging from generic pleasure (“I loved that meal”) to intense interpersonal attraction (“I love my wife”). This diversity of meanings, combined with the complexity of the feelings involved, makes love unusually difficult to consistently define, even compared to other emotional states.
As an abstract concept, love usually refers to a deep, ineffable feeling of tenderly caring for another person. Even this limited conception of love, however, encompasses a wealth of different feelings, from the passionate desire and intimacy of romantic love to the nonsexual emotional closeness of familial and platonic love to the profound oneness or devotion of religious love. Love in its various forms acts as a major facilitator of interpersonal relationships and, owing to its central psychological importance, is one of the most common themes in the creative arts.
2 Impersonal love
3 Interpersonal love
3.1 Chemical basis
3.2 Psychological basis
3.3 Comparison of scientific models
4 Cultural views
4.2 Chinese and other Sinic cultures
4.4 Ancient Greek
4.5 Turkish (Shaman & Islamic)
4.6 Ancient Roman (Latin)
5 Religious views
5.3 Indic and Hindu
5.4 Arabic and Islamic
8 See also
9 External links
The English word “love” can have a variety of related but distinct meanings in different contexts. Often, other languages use multiple words to express some of the different concepts that English relies mainly on “love” to encapsulate; one example is the plurality of Greek words for “love.” Cultural differences in conceptualizing love thus make it doubly difficult to establish any universal definition.
Although the nature or essence of love is a subject of frequent debate, different aspects of the word can be clarified by determining what isn’t love. As a general expression of positive sentiment (a stronger form of like), love is commonly contrasted with hate (or neutral apathy); as a less sexual and more emotionally intimate form of romantic attachment, love is commonly contrasted with lust; and as an interpersonal relationship with romantic overtones, love is commonly contrasted with friendship, although other definitions of the word love may be applied to close friendships in certain contexts.
When discussed in the abstract, love usually refers to interpersonal love, an experience felt by a person for another person. Love often involves caring for or identifying with a person or thing, including oneself (cf. narcissism).
In addition to cross-cultural differences in understanding love, ideas about love have also changed greatly over time. Some historians date modern conceptions of romantic love to courtly Europe during or after the Middle Ages, although the prior existence of romantic attachments is attested by ancient love poetry.
Because of the complex and abstract nature of love, discourse on love is commonly reduced to a thought-terminating cliché, and there are a number of common proverbs regarding love, from Virgil’s “Love conquers all” to The Beatles’ “All you need is love.” Bertrand Russell describes love as a condition of “absolute value,” as opposed to relative value. Theologian Thomas Jay Oord said that to love is to “act intentionally, in sympathetic response to others, to promote overall well-being.”
A person can be said to love a country, principle, or goal if they value it greatly and are deeply committed to it. Similarly, compassionate outreach and volunteer workers’ “love” of their cause may sometimes be borne not of interpersonal love, but impersonal love coupled with altruism and strong political convictions. People can also “love” material objects, animals, or activities if they invest themselves in bonding or otherwise identifying with those things. If sexual passion is also involved, this condition is called paraphilia.
Interpersonal love refers to love between human beings. It is a more potent sentiment than a simple liking for another. Unrequited love refers to those feelings of love that are not reciprocated. Interpersonal love is most closely associated with interpersonal relationships. Such love might exist between family members, friends, and couples. There are also a number of psychological disorders related to love, such as erotomania.
Throughout history, philosophy and religion have done the most speculation on the phenomenon of love. In the last century, the science of psychology has written a great deal on the subject. In recent years, the sciences of evolutionary psychology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, neuroscience, and biology have added to the understanding of the nature and function of love.
Simplistic overview of the chemical basis of love.Main article: Love (scientific views)
Biological models of sex tend to view love as a mammalian drive, much like hunger or thirst. Helen Fisher, a leading expert in the topic of love, divides the experience of love into three partly overlapping stages: lust, attraction, and attachment. Lust exposes people to others; romantic attraction encourages people to focus their energy on mating; and attachment involves tolerating the spouse (or indeed the child) long enough to rear a child into infancy.
Lust is the initial passionate sexual desire that promotes mating, and involves the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and estrogen. These effects rarely last more than a few weeks or months. Attraction is the more individualized and romantic desire for a specific candidate for mating, which develops out of lust as commitment to an individual mate forms. Recent studies in neuroscience have indicated that as people fall in love, the brain consistently releases a certain set of chemicals, including pheromones, dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin, which act in a manner similar to amphetamines, stimulating the brain’s pleasure center and leading to side effects such as increased heart rate, loss of appetite and sleep, and an intense feeling of excitement. Research has indicated that this stage generally lasts from one and a half to three years.
Since the lust and attraction stages are both considered temporary, a third stage is needed to account for long-term relationships. Attachment is the bonding that promotes relationships lasting for many years and even decades. Attachment is generally based on commitments such as marriage and children, or on mutual friendship based on things like shared interests. It has been linked to higher levels of the chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin to a greater degree than short-term relationships have.
The protein molecule known as the nerve growth factor (NGF) has high levels when people first fall in love, but these return to previous levels after one year. 
Grandmother and grandchild,
Sri Lanka.Further information: Human bonding
Psychology depicts love as a cognitive and social phenomenon. Psychologist Robert Sternberg formulated a triangular theory of love and argued that love has three different components: intimacy, commitment, and passion. Intimacy is a form in which two people share confidences and various details of their personal lives, and is usually shown in friendships and romantic love affairs. Commitment, on the other hand, is the expectation that the relationship is permanent. The last and most common form of love is sexual attraction and passion. Passionate love is shown in infatuation as well as romantic love. All forms of love are viewed as varying combinations of these three components. American psychologist Zick Rubin seeks to define love by psychometrics. His work states that three factors constitute love: attachment, caring, and intimacy.
Fraternal love (Prehispanic sculpture from 250–900 A.D., of Huastec origin). Museum of Anthropology in Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico.Following developments in electrical theories such as Coulomb’s law, which showed that positive and negative charges attract, analogs in human life were developed, such as “opposites attract.” Over the last century, research on the nature of human mating has generally found this not to be true when it comes to character and personality—people tend to like people similar to themselves. However, in a few unusual and specific domains, such as immune systems, it seems that humans prefer others who are unlike themselves (e.g., with an orthogonal immune system), since this will lead to a baby that has the best of both worlds. In recent years, various human bonding theories have been developed, described in terms of attachments, ties, bonds, and affinities.
Some Western authorities disaggregate into two main components, the altruistic and the narcissistic. This view is represented in the works of Scott Peck, whose work in the field of applied psychology explored the definitions of love and evil. Peck maintains that love is a combination of the “concern for the spiritual growth of another,” and simple narcissism. In combination, love is an activity, not simply a feeling.
Sacred Love Versus Profane Love (1602–03) by Giovanni Baglione.
Comparison of scientific models
Biological models of love tend to see it as a mammalian drive, similar to hunger or thirst; psychology sees love as more of a social and cultural phenomenon. There are probably elements of truth in both views. Certainly love is influenced by hormones (such as oxytocin), neurotrophins (such as NGF), and pheromones, and how people think and behave in love is influenced by their conceptions of love. The conventional view in biology is that there are two major drives in love: sexual attraction and attachment. Attachment between adults is presumed to work on the same principles that lead an infant to become attached to its mother. The traditional psychological view sees love as being a combination of companionate love and passionate love. Passionate love is intense longing, and is often accompanied by physiological arousal (shortness of breath, rapid heart rate); companionate love is affection and a feeling of intimacy not accompanied by physiological arousal.
Studies have shown that brain scans of those infatuated by love display a resemblance to those with a mental illness. Love creates activity in the same area of the brain that hunger, thirst, and drug cravings create activity in. New love, therefore, could possibly be more physical than emotional. Over time, this reaction to love mellows, and different areas of the brain are activated, primarily ones involving long-term commitments. Dr. Andrew Newberg, a neuroscientist, suggests that this reaction to love is so similar to that of drugs because without love, humanity would die out.
Even after all this time
The sun never says to the earth, “You owe me.”
Look what happens with a Love like that!
—It lights the whole Sky. (Hafiz)
Rumi, Hafez and Sa’di are icons of the passion and love that the Persian culture and language present. The Persian word for love is eshgh, deriving from the Arabic ishq. In the Persian culture, everything is encompassed by love and all is for love, starting from loving friends and family, husbands and wives, and eventually reaching the divine love that is the ultimate goal in life. Over seven centuries ago, Sa’di wrote:
The children of Adam are limbs of one body
Having been created of one essence.
When the calamity of time afflicts one limb
The other limbs cannot remain at rest.
If you have no sympathy for the troubles of others
You are not worthy to be called by the name of “man.”
Chinese and other Sinic cultures
The traditional Chinese character for love (愛) consists of a heart (middle) inside of “accept,” “feel,” or “perceive,” which shows a graceful emotion.In contemporary Chinese language and culture, several terms or root words are used for the concept of love:
It was the Qing‘s emperor first word of name.
Ai (愛) is used as a verb (e.g., Wo ai ni, “I love you”) or as a noun, especially in aiqing (愛情), “love” or “romance.” In mainland China since 1949, airen (愛人, originally “lover,” or more literally, “love person”) is the dominant word for “spouse” (with separate terms for “wife” and “husband” originally being de-emphasized); the word once had a negative connotation, which it retains among many in Taiwan.
Lian (戀) is not generally used alone, but instead as part of such terms as “being in love” (談戀愛, tan lian’ai—also containing ai), “lover” (戀人, lianren) or “homosexuality” (同性戀, tongxinglian).
Qing (情), commonly meaning “feeling” or “emotion,” often indicates “love” in several terms. It is contained in the word aiqing (愛情); qingren (情人) is a term for “lover.”
In Confucianism, lian is a virtuous benevolent love. Lian should be pursued by all human beings, and reflects a moral life. The Chinese philosopher Mozi developed the concept of ai (愛) in reaction to Confucian lian. Ai, in Mohism, is universal love towards all beings, not just towards friends or family, without regard to reciprocation. Extravagance and offensive war are inimical to ai. Although Mozi’s thought was influential, the Confucian lian is how most Chinese conceive of love.
Gănqíng (感情) is the “feeling” of a relationship, vaguely similar to empathy. A person will express love by building good gănqíng, accomplished through helping or working for another and emotional attachment toward another person or anything.
Yuanfen (緣份) is a connection of bound destinies. A meaningful relationship is often conceived of as dependent strong yuanfen. It is very similar to serendipity. A similar conceptualization in English is, “They were made for each other,” “fate,” or “destiny.”
Zaolian (Simplified: 早恋, Traditional: 早戀, pinyin: zǎoliàn), literally “early love,” is a contemporary term in frequent use for romantic feelings or attachments among children or adolescents. Zaolian describes both relationships among a teenage boyfriend and girlfriend as well as the “crushes” of early adolescence or childhood. The concept essentially indicates a prevalent belief in contemporary Chinese culture, which is that, due to the demands of their studies (especially true in the highly competitive educational system of China), youth should not form romantic attachments lest their jeopardize their chances for success in the future. Reports have appeared in Chinese newspapers and other media detailing the prevalence of the phenomenon and its perceived dangers to students and the fears of parents.
In Japanese Buddhism, ai (愛) is passionate caring love, and a fundamental desire. It can develop towards either selfishness or selflessness and enlightenment.
Amae (甘え), a Japanese word meaning “indulgent dependence,” is part of the child-rearing culture of Japan. Japanese mothers are expected to hug and indulge their children, and children are expected to reward their mothers by clinging and serving. Some sociologists have suggested that Japanese social interactions in later life are modeled on the mother-child amae.
Greek distinguishes several different senses in which the word “love” is used. For example, Ancient Greek has the words philia, eros, agape, storge, and xenia. However, with Greek (as with many other languages), it has been historically difficult to separate the meanings of these words totally. At the same time, the Ancient Greek text of the Bible has examples of the verb agapo having the same meaning as phileo.
Agape (ἀγάπη agápē) means love in modern-day Greek. The term s’agapo means I love you in Greek. The word agapo is the verb I love. It generally refers to a “pure,” ideal type of love, rather than the physical attraction suggested by eros. However, there are some examples of agape used to mean the same as eros. It has also been translated as “love of the soul.”
Eros (ἔρως érōs) is passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. The Greek word erota means in love. Plato refined his own definition. Although eros is initially felt for a person, with contemplation it becomes an appreciation of the beauty within that person, or even becomes appreciation of beauty itself. Eros helps the soul recall knowledge of beauty and contributes to an understanding of spiritual truth. Lovers and philosophers are all inspired to seek truth by eros. Some translations list it as “love of the body.”
Philia (φιλία philía), a dispassionate virtuous love, was a concept developed by Aristotle. It includes loyalty to friends, family, and community, and requires virtue, equality, and familiarity. Philia is motivated by practical reasons; one or both of the parties benefit from the relationship. It can also mean “love of the mind.”
Storge (στοργή storgē) is natural affection, like that felt by parents for offspring.
Xenia (ξενία xenía), hospitality, was an extremely important practice in Ancient Greece. It was an almost ritualized friendship formed between a host and his guest, who could previously have been strangers. The host fed and provided quarters for the guest, who was expected to repay only with gratitude. The importance of this can be seen throughout Greek mythology—in particular, Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey.
Turkish (Shaman & Islamic)
In Turkish, the word “love” comes up with several meanings. A person can love a god, a person, parents, or family. But that person can “love” just one person from the opposite sex, which they call the word “aşk.” Aşk is a feeling for to love, as it still is in Turkish today. The Turks used this word just for their romantic loves in a romantic or sexual sense. If a Turk says that he is in love (aşk) with somebody, it is not a love that a person can feel for his or her parents; it is just for one person, and it indicates a huge infatuation. The word is also common for Turkic languages, such as Kazakh (ғашық).
Ancient Roman (Latin)
The Latin language has several different verbs corresponding to the English word “love.”
Amāre is the basic word for to love, as it still is in Italian today. The Romans used it both in an affectionate sense as well as in a romantic or sexual sense. From this verb come amans—a lover, amator, “professional lover,” often with the accessory notion of lechery—and amica, “girlfriend” in the English sense, often as well being applied euphemistically to a prostitute. The corresponding noun is amor, which is also used in the plural form to indicate love affairs or sexual adventures. This same root also produces amicus—”friend”—and amicitia, “friendship” (often based to mutual advantage, and corresponding sometimes more closely to “indebtedness” or “influence”). Cicero wrote a treatise called On Friendship (de Amicitia), which discusses the notion at some length. Ovid wrote a guide to dating called Ars Amatoria (The Art of Love), which addresses, in depth, everything from extramarital affairs to overprotective parents.
Complicating the picture somewhat, Latin sometimes uses amāre where English would simply say to like. This notion, however, is much more generally expressed in Latin by placere or delectāre, which are used more colloquially, the latter used frequently in the love poetry of Catullus.
Diligere often has the notion “to be affectionate for,” “to esteem,” and rarely if ever is used for romantic love. This word would be appropriate to describe the friendship of two men. The corresponding noun diligentia, however, has the meaning of “diligence” or “carefulness,” and has little semantic overlap with the verb.
Observare is a synonym for diligere; despite the cognate with English, this verb and its corresponding noun, observantia, often denote “esteem” or “affection.”
Caritas is used in Latin translations of the Christian Bible to mean “charitable love”; this meaning, however, is not found in Classical pagan Roman literature. As it arises from a conflation with a Greek word, there is no corresponding verb.
The Christian understanding is that love comes from God. The love of man and woman—eros in Greek—and the unselfish love of others (agape), are often contrasted as “ascending” and “descending” love, respectively, but are ultimately the same thing.
There are several Greek words for “love” that are regularly referred to in Christian circles.
Agape: In the New Testament, agapē is charitable, selfless, altruistic, and unconditional. It is parental love, seen as creating goodness in the world; it is the way God is seen to love humanity, and it is seen as the kind of love that Christians aspire to have for one another.
Phileo: Also used in the New Testament, phileo is a human response to something that is found to be delightful. Also known as “brotherly love.”
Two other words for love in the Greek language, eros (sexual love) and storge (child-to-parent love), were never used in the New Testament.
Christians believe that to Love God with all your heart, mind, and strength and Love your neighbor as yourself are the two most important things in life (the greatest commandment of the Jewish Torah, according to Jesus; cf. Gospel of Mark chapter 12, verses 28–34). Saint Augustine summarized this when he wrote “Love God, and do as thou wilt.”
The Apostle Paul glorified love as the most important virtue of all. Describing love in the famous poem in 1 Corinthians, he wrote, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, and always perseveres.” (1 Cor. 13:4–7, NIV)
The Apostle John wrote, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” (John 3:16–18, NIV)
John also wrote, “Dear friends, let us love one another for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.” (1 John 4:7–8, NIV)
Saint Augustine says that one must be able to decipher the difference between love and lust. Lust, according to Saint Augustine, is an overindulgence, but to love and be loved is what he has sought for his entire life. He even says, “I was in love with love.” Finally, he does fall in love and is loved back, by God. Saint Augustine says the only one who can love you truly and fully is God, because love with a human only allows for flaws such as “jealousy, suspicion, fear, anger, and contention.” According to Saint Augustine, to love God is “to attain the peace which is yours.” (Saint Augustine Confessions)
Christian theologians see God as the source of love, which is mirrored in humans and their own loving relationships. Influential Christian theologian C.S. Lewis wrote a book called The Four Loves.
Benedict XVI wrote his first encyclical on “God is love.” He said that a human being, created in the image of God, who is love, is able to practice love; to give himself to God and others (agape) and by receiving and experiencing God’s love in contemplation (eros). This life of love, according to him, is the life of the saints such as Teresa of Calcutta and the Blessed Virgin Mary and is the direction Christians take when they believe that God loves them.
In Buddhism, Kāma is sensuous, sexual love. It is an obstacle on the path to enlightenment, since it is selfish.
Karuṇā is compassion and mercy, which reduces the suffering of others. It is complementary to wisdom and is necessary for enlightenment.
Adveṣa and maitrī are benevolent love. This love is unconditional and requires considerable self-acceptance. This is quite different from ordinary love, which is usually about attachment and sex and which rarely occurs without self-interest. Instead, in Buddhism it refers to detachment and unselfish interest in others’ welfare.
The Bodhisattva ideal in Mahayana Buddhism involves the complete renunciation of oneself in order to take on the burden of a suffering world. The strongest motivation one has in order to take the path of the Bodhisattva is the idea of salvation within unselfish, altruistic love for all sentient beings.
Indic and Hindu
In Hinduism, kāma is pleasurable, sexual love, personified by the god Kamadeva. For many Hindu schools, it is the third end (artha) in life. Kamadeva is often pictured holding a bow of sugar cane and an arrow of flowers; he may ride upon a great parrot. He is usually accompanied by his consort Rati and his companion Vasanta, lord of the spring season. Stone images of Kaama and Rati can be seen on the door of the Chenna Keshava temple at Belur, in Karnataka, India. Maara is another name for kāma.
In contrast to kāma, prema—or prem—refers to elevated love. Karuna is compassion and mercy, which impels one to help reduce the suffering of others. Bhakti is a Sanskrit term, meaning “loving devotion to the supreme God.” A person who practices bhakti is called a bhakta. Hindu writers, theologians, and philosophers have distinguished nine forms of bhakti, which can be found in the Bhagavatha-Purana and works by Tulsidas. The philosophical work Narada Bhakti Sutras, written by an unknown author (presumed to be Narada), distinguishes eleven forms of love.
Arabic and Islamic
In a sense, love does encompass the Islamic view of life as universal brotherhood that applies to all who hold the faith. There are no direct references stating that God is love, but amongst the 99 names of God (Allah), there is the name Al-Wadud, or “the Loving One,” which is found in Surah 11:90 as well as Surah 85:14. It refers to God as being “full of loving kindness.” All who hold the faith have God’s love, but to what degree or effort he has pleased God depends on the individual itself.
Ishq, or divine love, is the emphasis of Sufism. Sufis believe that love is a projection of the essence of God to the universe. God desires to recognize beauty, and as if one looks at a mirror to see oneself, God “looks” at itself within the dynamics of nature. Since everything is a reflection of God, the school of Sufism practices to see the beauty inside the apparently ugly. Sufism is often referred to as the religion of love. God in Sufism is referred to in three main terms, which are the Lover, Loved, and Beloved, with the last of these terms being often seen in Sufi poetry. A common viewpoint of Sufism is that through love, humankind can get back to its inherent purity and grace. The saints of Sufism are infamous for being “drunk” due to their love of God; hence, the constant reference to wine in Sufi poetry and music.
In Hebrew, Ahava is the most commonly used term for both interpersonal love and love of God. Other related, but dissimilar, terms are Chen (grace) and Hesed, which basically combines the meaning of “affection” and “compassion” and is sometimes rendered in English as “loving-kindness.”
Judaism employs a wide definition of love, both among people and between man and the Deity. Regarding the former, the Torah states, “Love your neighbor like yourself” (Leviticus 19:18). As for the latter, one is commanded to love God “with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your might” (Deuteronomy 6:5), taken by the Mishnah (a central text of the Jewish oral law) to refer to good deeds, willingness to sacrifice one’s life rather than commit certain serious transgressions, willingness to sacrifice all of one’s possessions, and being grateful to the Lord despite adversity (tractate Berachoth 9:5). Rabbinic literature differs as to how this love can be developed, e.g., by contemplating divine deeds or witnessing the marvels of nature.
As for love between marital partners, this is deemed an essential ingredient to life: “See life with the wife you love” (Ecclesiastes 9:9). The biblical book Song of Solomon is considered a romantically phrased metaphor of love between God and his people, but in its plain reading, reads like a love song.
The 20th-century Rabbi Eliyahu Eliezer Dessler is frequently quoted as defining love from the Jewish point of view as “giving without expecting to take” (from his Michtav me-Eliyahu, Vol. 1). Romantic love per se has few echoes in Jewish literature, although the Medieval Rabbi Judah Halevi wrote romantic poetry in Arabic in his younger years (he appears to have regretted this later).
Social interaction is a dynamic, changing sequence of social actions between individuals (or groups) who modify their actions and reactions according to those of their interaction partner(s). In other words, they are events in which people attach meaning to a situation, interpret what others are meaning, and respond accordingly.
Social interactions can be differentiated into:
Accidental (also known as social contact) – not planned and likely not repeated. For example, asking a stranger for directions or shopkeeper for product availability.
Repeated – not planned, bound to happen from time to time. For example, accidentally meeting a neighbor when walking on your street;
Regular – not planned, but very common, likely to raise questions when missed. Meeting a doorman or a security guard every workday in your workplace, dining every day in the same restaurant, etc.
Regulated – planned and regulated by customs or law, will definitely raise questions when missed. Interaction in a workplace (coming to work, staff meetings, playing a game, etc.), family, etc.
In sociological hierarchy, social interaction is more advanced than behavior, action, social behavior, social action and social contact, and is in turn followed by more advanced concept of social relation. In other words, social interactions, which consist of social actions, form the basis for social relations.
Social rejection occurs when an individual is deliberately excluded from a social relationship or social interaction. The topic includes both interpersonal rejection (or peer rejection) and romantic rejection. A person can be rejected on an individual basis or by an entire group of people. Furthermore, rejection can be either active, by bullying, teasing, or ridiculing, or passive, by ignoring a person, or giving the “silent treatment.” The experience of being rejected is subjective for the recipient, and it can be perceived when it is not actually present.
Although humans are social beings, some level of rejection is an inevitable part of life. Nevertheless, rejection can become a problem when it is prolonged or consistent, when the relationship is important, or when the individual is highly sensitive to rejection. Rejection by an entire group of people can have especially negative effects, particularly when it results in social isolation.
The experience of rejection can lead to a number of adverse psychological consequences such as loneliness, reduced self-esteem, aggression, and depression. It can also lead to feelings of insecurity and a heightened sensitivity to future rejection.
1 Need for acceptance
2 Rejection in childhood
3 Rejection in the laboratory
4 Romantic rejection
5 Rejection sensitivity
6 See also
8 Further reading
9 External links
Need for acceptance
Rejection is emotionally painful because of the social nature of human beings and our basic need to be accepted in groups. Abraham Maslow and other theorists have suggested that the need for love and belongingness is a fundamental human motivation. According to Maslow, all humans, even introverts, need to be able to give and receive affection to be psychologically healthy.
Psychologists believe that simple contact or social interaction with others is not enough to fulfill this need. Instead, people have a strong motivational drive to form and maintain caring interpersonal relationships. People need both stable relationships and satisfying interactions with the people in those relationships. If either of these two ingredients is missing, people will begin to feel lonely and unhappy. Thus, rejection is a significant threat. In fact, the majority of human anxieties appear to reflect concerns over social exclusion.
Being a member of a group is also important for social identity, which is a key component of the self-concept. Mark Leary of Wake Forest University has suggested that the main purpose of self-esteem is to monitor social relations and detect social rejection. In this view, self-esteem is a sociometer which activates negative emotions when signs of exclusion appear.
Social psychological research confirms the motivational basis of the need for acceptance. Specifically, fear of rejection leads to conformity to peer pressure (sometimes called normative influence), and compliance to the demands of others. Our need for affiliation and social interaction appears to be particularly strong when we are under stress.
Rejection in childhood
Peer rejection has been measured using sociometry and other rating methods. Studies typically show that some children are popular, receiving generally high ratings, many children are in the middle, with moderate ratings, and a minority of children are rejected, showing generally low ratings. One measure of rejection asks children to list peers they like and dislike. Rejected children receive few “like” nominations and many “dislike” nominations. Children classified as neglected receive few nominations of either type.
According to Karen Bierman of Pennsylvania State University, most children who are rejected by their peers display one or more of the following behavior patterns:
1.Low rates of prosocial behavior, e.g. taking turns, sharing.
2.High rates of aggressive or disruptive behavior.
3.High rates of inattentive, immature, or impulsive behavior.
4.High rates of social anxiety.
Bierman states that well-liked children show social savvy and know when and how to join play groups. Children who are at risk for rejection are more likely to barge in disruptively, or hang back without joining at all. Aggressive children who are athletic or have good social skills are likely to be accepted by peers, and they may become ringleaders in the harassment of less skilled children. Minority children, children with disabilities, or children who have unusual characteristics or behavior may face greater risks of rejection. Depending on the norms of the peer group, sometimes even minor differences among children lead to rejection or neglect. Children who are less outgoing or simply prefer solitary play are less likely to be rejected than children who are socially inhibited and show signs of insecurity or anxiety.
Rejected children are more likely to be bullied at school and on playgrounds.Peer rejection, once established, tends to be stable over time, and thus difficult for a child to overcome. Researchers have found that active rejection is more stable, more harmful, and more likely to persist after a child transfers to another school, than simple neglect. One reason for this is that peer groups establish reputational biases that act as stereotypes and influence subsequent social interaction. Thus, even when rejected and popular children show similar behavior and accomplishments, popular children are treated much more favorably.
Rejected children are likely to have lower self-esteem, and to be at greater risk for internalizing problems like depression. Some rejected children display externalizing behavior and show aggression rather than depression. The research is largely correlational, but there is evidence of reciprocal effects. This means that children with problems are more likely to be rejected, and this rejection then leads to even greater problems for them. Chronic peer rejection may lead to a negative developmental cycle that worsens with time.
Rejected children are more likely to be bullied and to have fewer friends than popular children, but these conditions are not always present. For example, some popular children do not have close friends, whereas some rejected children do. Peer rejection is believed to be less damaging for children with at least one close friend.
An analysis of 15 school shootings between 1995 and 2001 found that peer rejection was present in all but two of the cases (87%). The documented rejection experiences included both acute and chronic rejection and frequently took the form of ostracism, bullying, and romantic rejection. The authors stated that although it is likely that the rejection experiences contributed to the school shootings, other factors were also present, such as depression, poor impulse control, and other psychopathology.
There are programs available for helping children who suffer from social rejection. One large scale review of 79 controlled studies found that social skills training is very effective (r = .40 effect size), with a 70% success rate, compared to 30% success in control groups. There was a decline in effectiveness over time, however, with follow-up studies showing a somewhat smaller effect size (r = .35).
Rejection in the laboratory
Laboratory research has found that even short-term rejection from strangers can have powerful (if temporary) effects on an individual. In several social psychology experiments, people chosen at random to receive messages of social exclusion become more aggressive, more willing to cheat, less willing to help others, and more likely to pursue short-term over long-term goals. Rejection appears to lead very rapidly to self-defeating and antisocial behavior.
A common experimental technique is the “ball toss” paradigm, which was developed by Kip Williams and his colleagues at Purdue University. This procedure involves a group of three people tossing a ball back and forth. Unbeknownst to the actual participant, two members of the group are working for the experimenter and following a pre-arranged script. In a typical experiment, half of the subjects will be excluded from the activity after a few tosses and never get the ball again. Only a few minutes of this treatment are sufficient to produce negative emotions in the target, including anger and sadness. This effect occurs regardless of self-esteem and other personality differences.
A computerized version of the task known as “cyberball” has also been developed and leads to similar results. Surprisingly, people feel rejected even when they know they are only playing against the computer. A recent set of experiments using cyberball demonstrated that rejection impairs will power or self-regulation. Specifically, people who are rejected are more likely to eat cookies and less likely to drink an unpleasant tasting beverage that they are told is good for them. These experiments also showed that the negative effects of rejection last longer in individuals who are high in social anxiety.
Gender differences have been found in these experiments. In one study, women showed greater nonverbal engagement whereas men disengaged faster and showed face-saving techniques, such as pretending to be uninterested. The researchers concluded that women seek to regain a sense of belonging whereas men are more interested in regaining self-esteem.
Researchers have also investigated how the brain responds to social rejection. One study found that the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex is active when people are experiencing both physical pain and “social pain,” in response to social rejection. A subsequent experiment, also using fMRI neuroimaging, found that three regions become active when people are exposed to images depicting rejection themes (e.g. paintings by Edward Hopper). These areas are the posterior cingulate, the parahippocampal gyrus, and the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex. Furthermore, individuals who are high in rejection sensitivity (see below) show less activity in the left prefrontal cortex and the right dorsal superior frontal gyrus, which may indicate less ability to regulate emotional responses to rejection.
A recent experiment at the University of California at Berkeley found that individuals with a combination of low self-esteem and low attentional control are more likely to exhibit eye-blink startle responses while viewing rejection themed images. These findings indicate that people who feel bad about themselves are especially vulnerable to rejection, but that people can also control and regulate their emotional reactions.
A study at Miami University indicated that individuals who recently experienced social rejection were better than both accepted and control participants in their ability to discriminate between real and fake smiles. Though both accepted and control participants were better than chance (they did not differ from each other), rejected participants were much better at this task, nearing 80% accuracy.  This study is noteworthy in that it is one of the few cases of a positive or adaptive consequence of social rejection.
Automat by Edward Hopper (1927) depicts themes of alienation and social rejection.
In contrast to the study of childhood rejection, which primarily examines rejection by a group of peers, some researchers focus on the phenomenon of a single individual rejecting another in the context of a romantic relationship. In both teenagers and adults, romantic rejection occurs when a person refuses the romantic advances of another or unilaterally ends an existing relationship. The state of unrequited love is a common experience in youth, but mutual love becomes more typical as people get older.
Romantic rejection is a painful, emotional experience that appears to trigger a response in the caudate nucleus of the brain, and associated dopamine and cortisol activity. Subjectively, rejected individuals experience a range of negative emotions, including frustration, intense anger, and eventually, resignation and despair.
Men are significantly more likely than women to react with rage and aggression when rejected. Every year over a million American women are stalked, and the majority are stalked by a former boyfriend, husband, or live-in partner. Eight out of ten women are physically attacked by their stalker. Researchers in a variety of countries have demonstrated that stalkers are more likely to be male, and that male stalkers are more likely to become violent.
One reason why romantic rejection is so common in society is a tendency called falling upward. People generally desire mates that are higher than themselves on such characteristics as status and physical attractiveness, but not ones who are lower. When someone falls in love with a person who has aspirations that are higher, that love is less likely to be reciprocated, potentially leading to rejection.
Karen Horney was the first theorist to discuss the phenomenon of rejection sensitivity. She suggested that it is a component of the neurotic personality, and that it is a tendency to feel deep anxiety and humiliation at the slightest rebuff. Simply being made to wait, for example, could be viewed as a rejection and met with extreme anger and hostility.
An early questionnaire measure of rejection sensitivity was developed by Albert Mehrabian. Mehrabian suggested that sensitive individuals are reluctant to express opinions, tend to avoid arguments or controversial discussions, are reluctant to make requests or impose on others, are easily being hurt by negative feedback from others, and tend to rely too much on familiar others and situations so as to avoid rejection.
More recently, Geraldine Downey and her colleagues at Columbia University refined the concept of rejection sensitivity and described it as the tendency to anxiously expect, readily perceive, and over-react to social rejection. Downey has demonstrated in the laboratory that, given a high level of rejection sensitivity, an ambiguous social interaction can be perceived as rejection. This can then lead to defensiveness and self-fulfilling prophecies that undermine social relationships.
Individual differences in rejection sensitivity are believed to be the result of previous rejection experiences, particularly childhood experiences with parents and peers. Attachment theory suggests that rejection from parents could lead to rejection sensitivity. Additionally, both retrospective and longitudinal research has found that peer rejection in children is associated with increased rejection sensitivity. Teasing and other forms of bullying appear to be especially likely to cause later difficulties.
Because of the association between rejection sensitivity and neuroticism, there is a likely genetic predisposition that makes people more vulnerable to rejection experiences and more likely to develop rejection sensitivity.
Sympathy is a social affinity in which one person stands with another person, closely understanding his or her feelings. The word derives from the Greek συμπάθεια (sympatheia), from συν (syn) “together” + πάθος (pathos), in this case “suffering” (from πάσχω – pascho, “to be affected by, to suffer”). It also can mean being affected by feelings or emotions. Thus the essence of sympathy is that one has a strong concern for the other person. Sympathy exists when the feelings or emotions of one person are deeply understood and appreciated by another person.
The psychological state of sympathy is closely linked with that of compassion, empathy and empathic concern. Although empathy and sympathy are often used interchangeably, a subtle variation in ordinary usage can be detected. To empathize is to respond to another’s perceived emotional state by experiencing feelings of a similar sort. Sympathy not only includes empathizing (but not always), but also entails having a positive regard or a non- fleeting concern for the other person.
In common usage, sympathy is usually making known one’s understanding of another’s unhappiness or suffering, especially when it is grief over the death of a loved one!
Sympathy can also refer to being aware of other (positive) emotions as well.
In a broader sense, it can refer to the sharing of political or ideological sentiments, such as in the phrase “a communist sympathizer”.