Encoding- How we “package” a messageDecoding- How we “un-package” a message°Verbal communicationAbout what to we tend to argue?
The methodology [in studying conflict]oIdentify problem areasoRecord conversationso“Code” for specific behaviors, etc.Gottman’s studiesoRetrospective studies that are highly debated and “oversold”oIdentified 7 ‘signs’ of distressed couples [who he claimed are highly likely to divorce]1. Harsh startupCouple has no problem getting the argument startedThose who engage in this behavior begin an argument [in the lab] very quickly and negatively.Differs not in magnitude of criticism, but rather the duration of time it takes to bring it upThe 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse2. CriticismNOTa complaint-focuses on a specific behavior (i.e. putting dishes away, picking up shoes left in the middle of the floor, etc.)Tends to be global (i.e. slob)Stating that there is something inherently wrong withthe individual which causes them to act a certain wayIncludes blameand character assassinationEx: “There’s no gas in the car. Why didn’t you fill it up like you said you would?”; “Why can’t you remember anything? Sometimes you can be such an idiot.”3. ContemptAttitude of utter disgust or hatredFueled by long-simmering negative thoughts about partnerSarcasm, name-calling, eye-rolling, sneering, mockery, etc.oOften goes unrealized by the partner engaging in the behavior
4. DefensivenessWay of blaming the partnerRather than accepting the complaint/criticism, it is taking the complaint/criticism and redirecting it to the other partner.o“It’s not me – it’s you.”Becomes difficult to stick to the original grievance onwhich the argument was focused5. StonewallingWhen one partner finally tunes out of the argumentTypically present in couples who have been together for a longer period of timeoOccurs when a negative pattern of communication/conflict has already been establishedAct as though one could not care lessAvoidance of not just the fight, but of the relationshipitselfoCan lead to feelings of isolation and lonelinessSome evidence suggest that stonewalling is more common among males.oThe biological stress-response system in male’s recovers more slowly.6. FloodingA partner’s negativity is so overwhelming and sudden that you feel shell-shocked.Focus is on protecting one’s selfNo longer leads to conversationOften leads to stonewallingNothing constructive comes out of the situation7. Body languageHeart rate, hormones, etc.