Relationship Match: The neural underpinnings of social feedback in romantic couples

Thao Ha, Ryan S. Hampton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Romantic love involves an evaluative process in which couples weigh similarities and differences that facilitates pair bonding. We investigated neural attentive processes (P3) during evaluative relationship feedback within existing romantic couples using the Relationship Match Game. This paradigm included participant-driven expectations about relationship matching and relationship feedback from an expert panel of fictive peers and their romantic partner. In total, 49 couples participated who had dated less than one year. Participants showed significantly larger P3s in anticipation of feedback when they expected a mismatch, especially when supported by panel feedback. P3 amplitudes were also greater when participants received feedback from their partner congruent with their own assessment of compatibility. This was moderated by relational ambiguity, or one's preference to keep the relationship's status vague. We discuss how insecurity about the relationship is costly in terms of attentional resources contributing to over-alertness to cues of relationship evaluation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-502
Number of pages10
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Volume17
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • ERP
  • P3
  • relational ambiguity
  • romantic evaluation
  • social feedback

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

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