Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Personality Shapes Perception Of Romance, But Doesn't Tell the Whole Story

03.11.2008
Personality researchers have long known that people who report they have certain personality traits are also more (or less) likely to be satisfied with their romantic partners. Someone who says she is often anxious or moody, for example, is more likely than her less neurotic counterpart to be dissatisfied with her significant other.

In a new analysis, researchers at the University of Illinois found that measuring the quality of romantic relationships is more complex than these earlier studies suggest. While personality has been found to be predictive of perceived relationship satisfaction and success, other measures of relationship quality may offer additional insight into how a romantic relationship is functioning.

“Obviously there are going to be strong links between how you perceive your relationship and how you perceive yourself,” said Ashley Holland, a doctoral student in developmental psychology who led the research as part of her master’s thesis. “But maybe there are not going to be such strong links between how you perceive yourself and how well you actually interact with your partner.”

“Our question was whether personality traits get reflected not just in how people perceive their relationships, but actually how they’re behaving toward one another – and how their bodies respond while they interact,” said Illinois psychology professor Glenn Roisman, a co-author on the study.

The researchers began by giving dating, engaged and married participants a questionnaire about their own and their partners’ personalities and the quality of their relationships. The participants had to indicate where they fell on a spectrum of each of the “big five” personality traits: extroversion, neuroticism, conscientiousness, agreeableness and openness to experience.

This part of the analysis confirmed some of what other studies had found: How an individual describes his own personality characteristics corresponds to how satisfied or dissatisfied he is in his romantic relationship.

The researchers also included two other measures of their subjects’ relationship quality. The researchers’ goal was to compare the self-reported data to that obtained by observation and specific physiological measures. This is the first such study to use all three approaches.

Trained observers watched videotapes of study participants as they discussed disagreements and agreements in their relationships. The observers coded each person on his or her positive and negative behaviors, such as smiling or scowling, avoiding or making eye contact, and so on. Each participant was given a final score that reflected the balance of positive and negative behaviors and attributes observed.

The researchers also measured participants’ heart rate and skin conductance during their interactions. Skin conductance is a gauge of how much a person sweats. Other studies have established that sweating is a sign that the person is making an effort to control his or her own behavior. If a person sweats a lot when engaged in a conversation with her partner, it’s a sign that she is becoming aroused or agitated in a way that requires self-control.

“Both heart rate and skin conductance have been linked to a host of important outcomes in interpersonal relationships, including the likelihood of divorce,” Roisman said. “It’s a problem if you need to inhibit yourself greatly while having a conversation with your partner about the kinds of things that you would ordinarily be talking about and trying to resolve in your daily lives.”

The researchers found that the way the participants described themselves and their relationships was not strongly linked to how they behaved toward one another in the laboratory. This suggests that those who study relationships might need to look deeper than what individuals report about themselves and their romantic partners, Roisman said.

“Romantic relationships are complex and multi-faceted, and, therefore, measuring the quality of romantic relationships should probably include a variety of approaches in order to get a more nuanced view of how the relationship is functioning,” Holland said.

The paper, “Big Five Personality Traits and Relationship Quality: Self-reported, Observational and Physiological Evidence,” appeared this month in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

Editor’s note: To reach Glen Roisman, call: 217-333-1529; e-mail: roisman@illinois.edu.

To reach Ashley Holland, call: 608-527-5304; e-mail: ashollan@illinois.edu.

Diana Yates | University of Illinois
Further information:
http://www.illinois.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Innovative genetic tests for children with developmental disorders and epilepsy
11.07.2018 | Christian-Albrechts-Universität zu Kiel

nachricht Oxygen loss in the coastal Baltic Sea is “unprecedentedly severe”
05.07.2018 | European Geosciences Union

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>