This paper is a test of Ellen Berscheid's Emotion in Relationships Model (ERM; Berscheid, 1983; Berscheid & Ammazzalorso, 2001). This model is based primarily on the Discrepancy/Evaluation Theory of emotion propsed by George Mandler (1975; 1990a). The ERM predicts that emotion in interpersonal relationships occurs when our relationship partner violates our expectancies and interrupts our behavioral sequences. This expectancy violation leads to arousal. Cognitive evaluation of the situation then either simultaneously or subsequently determines whether the violation is positive or negative based on whether it provides an opportunity to promote the individual's welfare or poses a threat to the individual's welfare. The ERM also expands upon Mandler's ideas by formulating hypotheses related to the infrastructure of the relationship, specifically how interdependent relationship partners are. This paper provides strong evidence for the expectancy - arousal relationship in an experimental paradigm that tests people in intact relationships, using a real time interaction between the participant's and their partners. The ERM is well supported by the data and evidence for a variety of expectancy sources such as the partner's past behavior, social norms, individual differences in attachment history, and relationship interdpendence or behavioral closeness is gleaned and discussed.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2009. Major: Psychology. Advisors: Ellen Berscheid, Jeffry Simpson. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 101 pages, appendices A-J.
Beckes, Lane Alexander.
Discrepancy and evaluation in romantic relationships: testing the emotion in relationships model..
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