Intimate Relationships
PSY. 357
Block 5, 2000
Bill Dragon

Class Hours: 9:00 am - 11:00 am Monday - Friday

Lab Hours: 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm Monday - Friday

Office Hours: 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm Monday - Friday, or by appointment

Contact: x4281 anytime or email (

Text: Brehm, S. S. (1992). Intimate relationships (2nd Ed). New York: McGraw-Hill Inc.

Class Schedule
 Date  Reading/Discussion Topic/Activity
 Jan. 03 (M) Computer Workshops
 Jan. 04 (T)  Relationships Today (1)
    • Weigel, D. J., & Ballard-Reisch, D. S. (1999). All marriages are not maintaine equally: Martial type, marital quality, and the use of maintenance behaviors. Personal Relationships, 6, 291-304.
 Jan. 05 (W)  Research Methods (2)
    • Gable, S. L., & Reis, H. T. (1999). Now and then, them and us, this and that: Studying relationships across time, partner, context, and person. Personal Relationships, 6, 415-432.
 Jan. 06 (Th)  Interpersonal Attraction (3)
    • Rowatt, W. C., Cunningham, M. R., & Druen, P. B. (1999). Lying to get a date: The effect of facial physical attractiveness on the willingness to deceive prospective dating partners. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 16, 209-224.
    • Regan, P. C. (1998). What if you can't get what you want? Willingness to compromise ideal mate selection standards as a function of sex, mate value, and relationship context. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 1294-1303.
 Jan. 07 (F)  Love and Romance (4)
    • Sprecher, S. (1999). "I love you more today than yesterday": Romantic partners' perceptions of changes in love and related affect over time. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 76, 46-53.
    • Aron, A., Aron, E. N., & Allen, J. (1998). Motivations for unreciprocated love. Personality and Social Psychology
      Bulletin, 24
      , 787 796.
 Jan. 10 (M)  Sexuality (5)
    • Regan, P. C. (1998). Of lust and love: Beliefs about the role of sexual desire in romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 5, 139-158.
    • Byers, E. S., Demmons, S., & Lawrance, K. (1998). Sexual satisfaction within dating relationships: A test of interpersonal exchange model of sexual satisfaction. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 15, 257-267.
    • Appleby, P. R., Miller, L. C., & Rothspan, S. (1999). The paradox of trust for male couples: When risking is part of loving. Personal Relationships, 6, 81-94.
 Jan. 11 (T)  Relationship Development (6)
    • Haas, S., & Stafford, L. (1998). An initial examination of maintenance behaviors in gay and lesbian relationships. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 15, 846-855.
    • Garcia, S. D., & Rivera, S. M. (1999). Perceptions of Hispanic and African-American couples at the friendship or engagement stage of a relationship. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 16, 65-86.
 Jan. 12 (W)  Fairness, Selfishness, and Altruism (7)
    • Buunk, B. P., & Mutsaers, W. (1999). Equity perceptions and martial satisfaction in former and current marriage. Journal of Personal and
      Social Relationships, 16
      , 123-132.
    • Garrido, E. F., & Acitelli, L. K. (1999). Relational identity and the
      division of household labor. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 16, 619-638.
 Jan. 13 (Th)  Communication (8)
    • Roloff, M. E., & Ifert, D. (1998). Antecedent and consequences of
      explicit agreements to a topic taboo in dating relationships. Personal
      Relationships, 5,
    • Afifi, W. A., & Burgoon, J. K. (1998). "We never talk about that": A
      comparison of cross-sex friendships and dating relationships on
      uncertainty and topic avoidance. Personal Relationships, 5, 255-273.

 Jan. 14 (F)
 Exam 1: (Chapters 1 - 8 and the articles)
 Jan. 17 (M)
Social Power (9)
    • Solomon, D. H., & Samp, J. A. (1998). Power and problem appraisal:
      Perceptual foundations of the chilling effect in dating relationships.
      Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 15, 191-210.


 Jan. 18 (T)
Jealousy (10)
    • Buss, D. M., Shackelford, T. K., Kirkpatrick, L. A., Choe, J. C., Lim, H. K., Hasegawa, T., & Bennett, K. (1999). Jealousy and the nature of beliefs about infidelity: Tests of competing hypotheses about sex differences in the United States, Korea, and Japan. Personal Relationships, 6, 125-150.
    • Yarab, P. E., Allgeier, E. R., Sensibaugh, C. C. (1999). Looking deeper:
      Extradyadic behaviors, jealousy, and perceived unfaithfulness in hypothetical dating relationships. Personal Relationships, 6, 305-316.


 Jan. 19 (W)
Conflict and Dissolution (11)
    • Choice, P., & Lamke, L. K. (1999). Stay/leave decision-making processes in abusive dating relationships. Personal Relationships, 6, 351 368.
    • Battaglia, D. M., Richard, F. D., Datteri, D. L., & Lord, C. G. (1998). Breaking up is (relatively) easy to do: A script for the dissolution of close relationships. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 15, 829-845.
    • Schutz, A. (1999). It was your fault! Self-serving biases in autobiographical accounts of conflicts in married couples. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 16, 193-208.


 Jan. 20 (Th)
Loneliness (12)
    • Kirkpatrick, L. A., Shillito, D. J., & Kellas, S. L. (1999). Loneliness, social support, and perceived relationships with God. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 16, 513-522.
    • Christensen, P. N., & Kashy, D. A. (1998). Perceptions of and by lonely people in initial social interactions. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 322-329.
    • Anderson, C. A. (1999). Attributional style, depression, and loneliness: A cross-cultural comparison of American and Chinese students. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 25, 482-499.


 Jan. 21 (F)
The Social Network (13)
    • Dalla, R. L., & Gamble, W. C. (1999). Weaving a tapestry of relational
      assistance: A qualitative investigation of interpersonal support among
      reservation-residing Navajo teenage mothers. Personal Relationships, 6, 251-267.
    • Nolen-Hoeksema, S., & Davis, C. G. (1998). "Thanks for sharing that":
      Ruminators and their social support networks. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77, 801-814.


 Jan. 24 (M)
Therapeutic Relationships (14)
    • McCullough, M. E., Rachale, K. C., Sandage, S. J., Worthington, Jr., E., L., Brown, S. W., & Hight, T. L. (1998). Interpersonal forgiving in close relationships: II. Theoretical elaboration and measurement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 1586-1603.
    • Arriaga, X. B., & Rusbult, C. E. (1998). Standing in my partner's shoes: Partner perspective taking and reactions to accommodative dilemmas. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24, 927-948.


 Jan. 25 (T)
Relationships Tomorrow (15)
    • Parks, M. R., & Roberts, L. D. (1998). 'Making MOOsic': The development of personal relationships on line and a comparison to their off line counterparts. Journal of Personal and Social Relationships, 15, 517 537.
    • McKenna, K. Y. A., & Bargh, J. A. (1998). Coming out in the age of the Internet: Identity "demarginalization" through virtual group participation. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 75, 681-694.



    • Kraut, R., Patterson, M., Lundmark, V., Kiesler, S., Mukopadhyay, T., & Scherilis, W. (1998). Internet paradox: A social technology that reduces social involvement and psychological well-being? American Psychologist, 53, 1017-1031.
 Jan. 26 (F)
Exam 2: (Chapters 9 - 15 and the articles)
Goals of the course: After finishing a discussion on "Liking and Loving" in my social psychology class a few years ago I asked the class members if they would be interested in taking an entire course on this topic. The answer was a resounding"YES" and the rest, as they say, was history. I began to think about what I might like to do in the course. Along this journey from the initial idea to this class session today I became convinced that a college community should have a forum for it's members to read and discuss the dynamics involved in intimate relationships. A side product of this conviction was the "What's Love got to do with it?" workshop for the new student orientation program that I developed with Helen Damon-Moore. So, as you can see, I strongly believe that a college community must provide an ongoing forum on issues of intimacy. This class is only a part of our shared responsibility.

Our charge in this course is to "critically" examine the concept of intimacy. To accomplish this goal we will consider a number of theories (presented in Brehm's book or in additional articles) and the empirical data that either supports or disconfirms these theories. Class discussion will focus on this type of "verbal" critical analysis. It is not an opportunity to publicly elicit moral support and try to solve personal relationship problems. However, it is unlikely that you will be able to avoid thinking about these relationships while you are reading the material or participating in class discussion. These personal experiences can bring an immediacy and a deep understanding of what can at times be a dry discussion of a theory and may, at times, be offered to the class for consideration. These idiosyncratic experiences can be of value to the class but
hold a different weight than data from sound research studies. Ultimately, our critical analysis of the issues must place more weight on the shared perceptions or experiences of large numbers of people as reported in research.
A second goal of the course is to examine how our popular culture depicts intimate relationships. We will examine how a variety of relationships are represented in the media and the arts. These renderings may or may not be consistent with the bulk of scientific knowledge on relationships. It will be our job to draw those conclusions.

A third goal involves the private examination of a topic of interest. Frequently a course ends and people walk away from the class with a feeling that they have not studied what they really wanted to study when they signed up for the course. Most courses do not allow the flexibility necessary for an individual to examine issues that are both relevant to the course and personally interesting. In an effort to correct this oversight, you will have the opportunity to write a library research paper or conduct an empirical research project on a topic that interests you.
Reading assignments and Morning Class: Class discussion/lecture will be based upon the readings listed for each day and will extend the material, not simply go over the same material presented in the book. Classes will require a high degree of participation. Therefore, it is critical that you complete the reading before class so that you will understand the material
presented in class and can contribute to the discussion.
Afternoon Labs: Afternoons will be spent in an examination of how the issues presented in the morning sessions are represented in our popular culture. This includes film, song, theater, visual art, prose, and poetry. I will provide some of the materials for discussion but I encourage you to think about how you see the issues of intimacy represented in our world and bring those materials to class. If you would like to present them to the class that would be great, just let me know ahead of time. It is equally okay if you want me to present and interpret the materials, all I need is a little lead time. We will usually have some time for discussion of the materials following the presentation. A brief written critical analysis of the materials presented in the lab will be due at 9:00 AM the following day. The guidelines for the "critical analysis" are discussed below.
Critique Guideline: The purpose of the afternoon class session is to analyze how intimate relationships are depicted in our popular culture. Hopefully this analysis will make some of our culturally accepted myths more obvious to us and the analysis will enable us to examine these assumptions about relationships by referring to empirical data. Sometimes we will find that they are supported, and sometimes we will not find support for the way relationships are depicted in our popular culture. Your critique should examine this relationship between the "media" representation and empirical research. You should note points of agreement and points of disagreement. References should be made in your paper to exact page number of the text, additional reading or lecture information. General typing instructions include: a one to two page paper, typed, double spaced, with no spelling errors. I will not accept papers that do not meet these criteria. In addition, I would appreciate reasonably sound grammar but will not specifically reduce your grade for each grammatical error. A sample critique from a previous class will be posted on the newsgroup to aid your initial efforts.
Electronic Class Discussion: On Monday of the first week you will each participate in a workshop on how to use a computer "newsgroup" set up for this class. The URL for the newsgroup is: The workshops will be small and will enable you to post questions to other members of the class, reply to a question posed by another class member, or join a discussion that other members of the class are having on some issue related to intimacy. The goal of this "newsgroup" is to provide the class an opportunity to continue discussion of issues raised in class or address issues that we were not able to fit into our normal class time.
There is an advantage in having an "electronic" voice rather than an acoustical voice in the discussion of the issues surrounding intimacy. It encourages us to think more carefully about our positions before stating them, it allows us to easily go back to issues earlier in the discussion that may have gotten lost or side-tracked, and it gives everyone in the "newsgroup" a voice in the discussion that is free of the anxiety of public speaking. A side benefit is that nobody can
interrupt you - so if you have found that other people cut you off, or that the discussion moves away from the topic faster than you can formulate a response, or that you can never seem to get a word in edge-wise, this is your chance! I encourage you to use the "news group" daily. If you check the news group and do not see a discussion that is interesting to you, post your own message. This is an extremely powerful medium and can be used in variety of ways. I encourage you to explore the issues and the power of the "newsgroup". For instance, discussion of movies or related campus events, incidents that occur on campus, general calls for help on your paper, rides to Iowa City to get articles, stress reduction conversation, setting up a "personals
ad service",......

Finally, notice that there is no grade attached to the use of the "newsgroup". Research that has shown that if a reward is attached to something that interests people they will be less likely to participate in that activity in the future when that reward is absent. Therefore, I have set this up to stimulate rather than stifle future use of computers and computer news groups at Cornell. Examinations: There will be two examinations. Exams will be a combination of multiple choice and essay questions. They will start at 9:00 AM and are designed to take approximately two hours. Make-up exams will be given to class members that miss a scheduled exam for an approved reason and will consist of a mix of multiple choice and essay questions. Make-up
exams must be made up with-in two days of the scheduled exam. Individual Research Project: Each class member will conduct a research project. The project has several goals. First, it
will enable you to become intimately acquainted with a particular content area. Second, it will give you first hand experience at conducting a research project. This experience will enable you to not only become critical consumers of science but also skilled producers of science. As you may remember from the section on goals of the course, you may do a library research
project or an empirical research project. Ideas for these projects are all around you. You can start in Brehm's index, look at the additional reading topics, go to PsychLit, or reflect on what you want to know about intimate relationships. Once you have an idea for a project you should write it down on an index card and give it to me with at least one xeroxed reference on the topic. The reference should be from a high quality journal. Any journal published by the American Psychological Association will be acceptable. I should be consulted about all other journals before you select an article. You should also indicate on your index card whether you plan to conduct an empirical research project or a library research project. I must have the index cards by the date of the first exam. The research projects will be run in the following manner:

Initial topics will be selected by the date of the first exam and one xerox of an
article on the topic. The article should be within the last 4 years.

  • Individual meetings on Monday and Tuesday about the topics.
  • Five articles turned in for the library research projects by Wednesday of the
    third week.
  • Two articles turned in for the empirical research projects by Wednesday of
    the third week. All data collected and analyzed by Friday of the third week
    for the empirical studies.
  • Two articles turned in for the empirical research projects by Wednesday of
    the third week. All data collected and analyzed by Friday of the third week
    for the empirical studies.
  • Individual papers turned in by 12:00 noon Wednesday, the last day of class.
    Papers are late if they are turned in at 12:01 PM on Wednesday. Papers
    should be in APA format.

    • Daily Thought Questions: A large number of research studies in cognitive psychology have shown that deeper or more elaborate processing of information enhances memory (e.g., Hyde & Jenkins, 1973). A similar line of research in social cognition has shown that when we have a "prior expectation" or "schema" for a set of stimuli, our later recall of that information is superior to when we did not have a prior expectation. In the context of this course, the thought questions
      provide the prior expectations that will organize and guide your encoding and later retrieval of information from the text. They will be posted each night on the newsgroup. You should turn in, at the beginning of class each day, your answer to one of the questions on a single 5 X 7 index card.

    Although there is data to suggests that specific questions from an expert are superior to questions formed by non-experts, I believe that there are many ways to form more elaborate connections between new material and an established cognitive network. Therefore, there are two additional ways to meet the Daily Thought Questions requirement. First, you can develop your own list of 3 thought questions. They should be developed from the reading and should be different from the questions I have provided the class. Second, you can come up with a personal example from the material. Personal examples are probably the highest form of elaboration we can use in processing new material and usually foster the highest level of recall. If you choose this option you should explain your example and how it relates to the material in the reading assignment. If you select one of the alternative methods to meeting this requirement your work should also be turned in before class each day on a 5 X 7 index card. Of course, you can always submit your daily thought questions via "email" -- that will save a few trees.
    Grading: The exams will account for 60% of your course grade (First exam 30%, Second Exam 30%). The research project will account for 30% of your course grade and the lab reports will account for 9% of your grade. The final 1% of your final grade will be based on the discussion questions you turn in each day. Grades will be assigned on a percentage basis using:

     A 94%  B 84%  C 74%  D 64%
     A- 90%  B- 80%   C- 70%  D- 60%
     B+ 87%  C+ 77%   D+ 67%   F 59%

    Academic Honesty: Any violation of academic honesty is a serious breach of the student-teacher relationship and the values of Cornell College. Therefore, violations of academic honesty will be treated accordingly. Any individual who cheats on an exam or turns in work that is not their own will receive a very harsh penalty, they will receive an F in the course and be
    recommended for expulsion from Cornell College.
    Class Attendance: It is obviously very important that you attend every class period. Material covered on the exams will come from the text and information presented only in class.
    Please be Prompt: Latecomers are very disruptive to everyone and may force us to continue beyond ending time. In addition, there are two behaviors that will absolutely not be tolerated in class; SMOKING and EATING.