Several strategies may help to close this gap between modem and ancestral

Several strategies may help to close this gap between

This preview shows page 6 - 7 out of 9 pages.

Several strategies may help to close this gap between modem and ancestral conditions to deepen social connect- edness (Tooby & Cosmides, 1996). First, people should promote reputations that highlight their unique or excep- tional attributes. Second, they should be motivated to rec- ognize personal attributes that others value but have diffi- culty getting from other people. This involves cultivating a sensitivity to the values held by others. Third, they should acquire specialized skills that increase irreplaceability. If people develop expertise or proficiency in domains that most others lack, they become indispensable to those who value those competencies. Fourth, they should preferen- tially seek out groups that most strongly value what they have to offer and what others in the group tend to lack; in short, they should find groups in which their assets will be most highly cherished. Fifth, they should avoid social groups where their unique attributes are not valued or where these qualities are easily provided by others. A sixth strategy involves the imposition of critical tests designed to deepen the friendship and test the strength of the bond (see also Zahavi, 1977; Zahavi & Zahavi, 1997). Although it would be foolish to subject oneself to a life-or-death situation merely to test the strength of a friendship, more modest tests are possible. Some friends may fail the tests, in which case they are deemed fair- weather friends. Those who pass the tests and provide help during these critical times make the transition to true friends marked by deep engagement. Reducing Subjective Distress If humans have evolved psychological mechanisms that function to produce subjective distress, one can design a social environment to reduce the likelihood of facing the adaptive problems that trigger psychological anguish. Al- though these problems are probably impossible to avoid completely, several strategies might lower the likelihood of their occurrence. Selecting a mate who is similar-Reducing jealousy and infidelity. One strategy is to select a long-term mate or marriage partner who is similar to you on dimensions such as values, interests, politics, personal- ity, and overall "mate value." A large body of empirical evidence supports the hypothesis that discrepancies be- tween partners in these qualities lead to increased risk of infidelity, instability of the relationship, and a higher like- lihood of eventual breakup (Buss, 2000; Hill, Rubin, & Peplau, 1976; Kenrick & Keefe, 1992; Thiessen & Gregg, 1980; Walster, Traupmann, & Walster, 1978; Whyte, 1990). Selecting a mate who is similar, conversely, should lower the likelihood of infidelity, and hence the agony experienced as a result of jealousy. Because jealousy ap- pears to be an evolved emotion designed to combat threats to relationships, anything that reduces its activation should reduce the subjective pain people experience (Buss, 2000).
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