PSY34: Advanced Issues in Social Psychology

Advanced Issues in Social Psychology: The Psychology of Marriage (PSY34)
Mon-Thurs 10:05-12
Dr. Nancy Frye
Email: Nancy.Frye@gmail.com
Office Hours: Mon and Wed, 12-1, or by appointment

Overview    Policies and Expectations   Readings   Grades and Assignments   Calendar

New!
Date Information
5/28/08 Here is a link to the study. The address is: http://myweb.liu.edu/~nfrye/psy34/study1.htm. Recruit at least 8 people to participate in this study. Since you know the hypothesis, you cannot participate in the study yourself.
6/2/08 Here is a link to the findings of our first study. You can (but do not have to) use these findings as you write your paper that is due Thurs.
6/11/08 Here is a link to the second study. The address is: http://myweb.liu.edu/~nfrye/psy34/study2.htm. Recruite at least 8 people to participate in this study. Since you know the hypothesis, you cannot participate in the study yourself.
6/15/08 Here is a link to the findings of our second study. You can (but do not have to) use these findings as you write your paper that is due Thurs.

Overview
Nearly everyone begins their marriage with a high level of satisfaction with their relationship and a high level of optimism for the future. Yet, marriages end in divorce for many couples, and marital satisfaction declines over time for even more couples. Given everything we know from social psychology, this is a puzzle. People tend to fall prey to the confirmation bias, they tend to be more optimistic for themselves than for others, and they tend to interpret facts in a way that supports their desired view of the world. This is not to say that people are irrational, but simply to say that the preponderance of evidence from social psychology suggests that divorce should be relatively uncommon and that marital satisfaction should remain high over time.

By the end of this class, you should have thought carefully about this question of why satisfaction tends to decline over time. The goal of the class is not to answer all aspects of the question, but rather to give you an opportunity to read and think critically about some of the research that has been conducted to address either this broad question, or more specific questions linked to that broad question.

Policies and Expectations
It is expected that you will actively participate in every class. In addition to attending each class, active participation involves coming prepared for class (i.e., having read and thought about the readings and completed any assignments) and ready to engage in class discussions.

Article summaries for class readings are due by 9am the day of the class. For instance, the article summary for the article due Tues, May 20 is due by 9am on Tues, May 20. These summaries should be added to google documents (see details under Grades and Assignments section of this page). No late summaries will be accepted.

Other assignments are due by the start of class on the day that they are due. These assignments must be typed and turned in in hard copy. Late assignments will result in a loss of 10% of the possible points for that assignment for each 24 hour period that passes between the due date and the date it is handed in. Details about these assignments can be found by following links for the days that the assignments are due.

Readings
The readings for this class are all empirical journal articles. This means they describe a study (or multiple studies) that have been conducted to test hypotheses about specific aspects of marriage and relationships. It may take reading a few research articles before you get used to the style in which they are written. However, each research article has similar ingredients. See this page for some tips on reading the types of articles assigned for this course.

All readings for this course are available either through Google Scholar, library databases, or the library's online reserve system.

This class will revolve around research that has been conducted in the realm of romantic relationships. Just about everyone has been in a romantic relationship (or many romantic relationships), or knows people who have been in a romantic relationship (or many romantic relationships). Why should we bother with research on relationships? See this page for some reasons why research is so vital to understanding relationships.

Grades
Grades will be based on article summaries as well as three papers. Specifically:
Assignment Possible points
19 article summaries 190
3 papers 30
Total possible points 220

Article summaries
Article summaries of the reading for each class are due at 9am of that class (e.g., the summary of the article that we will discuss in class on Tues, May 20 is due by 9am on Tues, May 20). These article summaries should:

These article summaries should be posted on Google documents. At the top of each article summary, type in the date as well as the title of the article that you are summarizing. Add new entries to the top of the file. For directions on using Google documents, click here.

Papers
Throughout this course, you will write three papers. Directions for each of these papers can be found throughout the syllabus, on the dates on which they are due. As you write these papers, and as you write your article summaries, keep in mind that your grade will be based, in part, on how clearly you articulate your ideas. In order to help ensure that I can understand the points you want to make, be sure to use proper grammar. See this page for some grammar tips. Additionally, don't forget about the writing center at CW Post. Information about the writing center can be found here.

Calendar of readings and assignments
Date Topic Reading/assignment due
Mon, May 19 Overview of class and research methods  
 

Relationship initiation and initial attraction

 
Tues, May 20 Eastwick, P.W., & Finkel, E.J. (2008). Sex differences in mate preferences revisited: Do people know what they initially desire in a romantic partner? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 94, 245-264 Paper on factors predicting satisfaction and stability due

Article summary in Google documents due by 9am

Wed, May 21 McNulty, J.K., Neff, L.A., & Karney, B.R. (2008). Beyond initial attraction: Physical attractiveness in newlywed marriage. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 135-143. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Thurs, May 22 Barelds, D.P.H., & Barelds-Dijkstra, P. (2007). Love at first sight or friends first? Ties among partner personality trait similarity, relationship onset, relationship quality, and love. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 479-496. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Mon, May 26 No class -- Memorial Day  
 

Person-level variables

 
Tues, May 27 Donnellan, M.B., Conger, R.D., & Bryant, C.M. (2004). The big five and enduring marriages. Journal of Research in Personality, 38, 481-504. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Wed, May 28 Vicary, A.M., & Fraley, R.C. (2007). Choose your own adventure: Attachment dynamics in a simulated relationship. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 33, 1279-1291. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Thurs, May 29 Assad, K.K., Donnellan, M.B., & Conger, R.D. (2007). Optimsim: An enduring resource for romantic relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 93, 285-297. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Fri, May 30 Fisher, T.D., & McNulty, J.K. (2008). Neuroticism and marital satisfaction: The mediating role played by the sexual relationship. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 112-122. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
 

Partner perceptions

 
Mon, June 2 Neff, L.A., & Karney, B.R. (2003). The dynamic structure of relationship perceptions: Differential importance as a strategy of relationship maintenance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1433-1446. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am

Bring in data from 8 participants

Tues, June 3 Swann, W.B., & Gill, M.J. (1997). Confidence and accuracy in person perception: Do we really know what we think we know about our relationship partners? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 73, 747-757. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Wed, June 4 Neff, L.A., & Karney, B.R. (2005). To know you is to love you: The implications of global adoration and specific accuracy for marital relationships. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 480-497. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Thurs, June 5 Arriaga, X.B., Slaughterbeck, E.S., Capezza, N.M., & Hmurovic, J.L. (2007). From bad to worse: Relationship commitment and vulnerability to partner imperfections. Personal Relationships, 14, 389-409. Note: this article is not available online, but is available in hard copy in the library Article summary in Google documents due by 9am

Paper due

 

Challenges

 
Mon, June 9 Goff, B.S.N., Crow, J.R., Reisbig, A.M.J., & Hamilton, S. (2007). The impact of individual trauma symptoms of deployed soldiers on relationship satisfaction. Journal of Family Psychology, 21, 344-353. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Tues, June 10 Lawrence, E., Rothman, A.D., Cobb, R.J., Rothman, M.T., & Bradbury, T.N. (2008). Marital satisfaction across the transition to parenthood. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 41-50 Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Wed, June 11 Bodenman, G., Ledermann, T., & Bradbury, T.N. (2007). Stress, sex, and satisfaction in marriage. Personal Relationships, 14, 551-569. Note that this article is not available online, but is available in the library Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Thurs, June 12 Frye, N.E., McNulty, J.K., & Karney, B.R. (2008). How do constraints on leaving a marriage affect behavior within the marriage? Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 153-161 Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
 

Relationship work and improvements

 
Mon, June 16 Simpson, L.E., Atkins, D.C., Gattis, K.S., & Christensen, A. (2008). Low-level relationship aggression and couple therapy outcomes. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 102-111. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am

Bring in data from 8 participants

Tues, June 17 Mitchell, A.E., Castellani, A.M., Herrington, R.L., Joseph, J.I., Doss, B.D., & Snyder, D.K. (2008). Predictors of intimacy in couples' discussions of relationship injuries: An observational study. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 21-29. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Wed, June 18 McNulty, J.K. (2008). Forgiveness in marriage: Putting the benefits into context. Journal of Family Psychology, 22, 171-175. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am
Thurs, June 19 Marigold, D.C., Holmes, J.G., & Ross, M. (2007). More than words: Reframing compliments from romantic partners fosters security in low self-esteem individuals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 92, 232-248. Article summary in Google documents due by 9am

Paper due