Intimate Relationships (PSYL10132)

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Intimate Relationships (PSYL10132)

Intimate relationships are frequently listed among the factors that make life most meaningful. At the present time, the field of relationship science is characterized by an enormous breadth of content, several unique methodological and statistical challenges, and meta-theories around which various empirical findings are integrated and organized.

In this course, we will cover the major theoretical perspectives and methodologies related to the scientific study of intimate relationships. With an emphasis on empirical evidence, we will focus on how relationship dynamics can meaningfully influence human psychology, and vice versa. We will examine how relationship processes relate to multiple areas of psychology (e.g., cognitive, developmental, health, social), with particular attention to the social level. This course will likely challenge some of your (and society’s) preconceptions about intimate relationships.

Each week we will explore a different aspect of intimate relationships and how relationship processes relate to human psychology. Classes will consist of a mixture of lectures, large and small group discussions, and other activities.

Theories and Methods in Relationship Science
S.1, 7 George Square
17/09/2018 - 2:10pm to 4:00pm
Attraction and Relationship Formation
S.1, 7 George Square
24/09/2017 - 2:10pm to 24/09/2018 - 4:00pm
Relationship Maintenance I
S.1, 7 George Square
01/10/2018 - 2:10pm to 4:00pm
Relationship Maintenance II
S.1, 7 George Square
08/10/2018 - 2:10pm to 4:00pm
Relationship Dissolution
S.1, 7 George Square
15/10/2018 - 2:10pm to 4:00pm
Learning Outcomes: 

On completion of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Examine intimate relationships from an empirically-based, scholarly perspective, rather than from an intuitive or speculative perspective based solely on personal experience and observations.
  2. Understand a number of classical and contemporary theoretical frameworks and methodologies that characterize the scientific study of intimate relationships.
  3. Recognize several ways in which relationship processes occur in daily life.
  4. Evaluate situations relevant to intimate relationships and make predictions about behavior.
  5. Identify critical questions that must be asked if a stronger, more complete, and more integrated science of intimate relationships is to emerge, and develop an empirical project that could test these questions.
Additional Information: 


Reading Response (400-500 words; worth 20% of final grade)
This assessment comprises one thought paper in which students must summarize and discuss a class reading of their choice. Students should also comment on their reading in relation to the broader literature discussed in class. This assessment involves deep comprehension of class readings, and requires students to think independently and analytically.

Essay (2,000-2,500 words; worth 80% of final grade)
This assessment requires students to develop a research question related to intimate relationships and to write a proposal designed to test this question empirically. This assessment involves integration of theoretical and methodological approaches covered in class, and requires students to think independently, creatively, and critically.


An electronic copy must be submitted through an own work declaration confirmation form and Turnitin link in Learn by the deadline. The electronic submission allows us to check for plagiarism and word count.

The submission deadline must be observed. Failure to comply with the deadline without good reason will incur mark penalties as follows:

  • Up to 7 calender days, 5 marks per calender day will be deducted
  • More than 7 calender days late a mark of zero will be given