Close Relationships

I also conduct a lot of work on close (romantic) relationships. Much of this research is centered on attachment theory and forgiveness, both of which are elaborated below. However, I also have done a little work on attraction (Foster et al., 1998; Green, 2008), self-discrepancy and romantic relationships (Green, Campbell, & Davis, 2007), and extending the notion of commitment to a relationship partner to commitment to the environment (Davis, Green, & Reed, 2009).

Foster, C. A., Witcher, B. S., Campbell, W. K., & Green, J. D. (1998). Arousal and attraction: Evidence for automatic and controlled components. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 86-101. 

Green, J. D., Campbell, W. K., & Davis, J. L. (2007). Ghosts from the past: An examination of romantic relationships and self-discrepancy. Journal of Social Psychology, 147, 243-264. 

Green, J. D. (2008). Is research on beauty only skin deep? Journal of Social Psychology, 148, 379-382. 

Davis, J. L., Green, J. D., & Reed, A. (2009). Interdependence with the environment: Commitment, interconnectedness, and environmental behavior. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 29, 173-180. 

Attachment theory provides a great lens with which to examine the nexus of self and other. I have done some work on attachment and exploration in adults (Coy, Green, & Davis, under review; Green & Campbell, 2000), and continue to investigate attachment theory in other realms, such as pet-human relationships (Green, Mathews, & Foster, 2009). We have found, for example, that perceptions of different pets vary along attachment dimensions of avoidance and anxiety, and that people report higher felt security to their dogs relative to their romantic partners.

Green, J. D., & Campbell, W. K. (2000). Attachment and exploration: Chronic and contextual accessibility. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 26, 452-461. 

Green, J. D., Mathews, M., & Foster, C. A. (2009). Another kind of “interpersonal” relationship: Humans, animal companions, and attachment theory. In E. Cuyler & M. Ackhart (Eds.), Psychology of relationships (pp. 87-109). New York, NY: Nova Science Publishers. 

Coy, A. E., Green, J. D., & Davis, J. L. (2012). With or without you: The impact of partner presence and attachment on exploration. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 411-415.

Another fruitful research area has been that of forgiveness. We found that third parties to a relationship (e.g., parents, close friends) often are less forgiving than those who are hurt (Green, Burnette, & Davis, 2008). For example, imagine that your significant other offends you, and you forgive them, but your mother does not. We are following up on this work by investigating the impact of unforgiveness on relationships (either the romantic relationship or between the victim and the third party). In a different line of forgiveness work, we found that rumination and empathy associated with insecure attachment help to explain depressive symptoms that more anxious and avoidant individuals experience (Burnette et al., 2009). We also are investigating how mortality salience affects forgiveness (Van Tongeren, Green, & Reid). In addition, a cross-cultural investigation (Takaku, Green, & Ohbuchi, 2010) has examined the other side of the coin of forgiveness: apologies and account-giving for offenses.

Green, J. D., Burnette, J., & Davis, J. L. (2008). Third-party forgiveness: (Not) forgiving your close other's betrayer. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34, 407-418. 

Burnette, J., Davis, D. E., Green, J. D., Worthington, E., & Bradfield, E. (2009). Insecure attachment and depressive symptoms: the mediating role of rumination, empathy, and forgiveness. Personality and Individual Differences, 46, 276-280. 

Davis, D. E., Worthington, E. L. Jr., Hook, J. N., Van Tongeren, D. R., Green, J. D., & Jennings, D. J. (2009). Relational spirituality and the development of the Similarity of the Offender’s Spirituality (SOS) scale. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 1, 249-262.

Takaku, S., Green, J. D., & Ohbuchi, K. (2010). A cross-cultural examination of the use of complete account in reducing the perpetrator-victim account bias. Asian Journal of Social Psychology, 13, 274-285.