Social Psychology Network

Maintained by Scott Plous, Wesleyan University

Marian Morry

Marian Morry

My current research falls in the area of social cognition and close relationships. More specifically, I am examining (a) how individuals with anxious or avoidant attachment styles differ in their reactions to social comparisons of their dating relationships, (b) social cognitions within one's dating relationship where the individual enhances the partner relative to the self and to the general other, and (c) how one's relational interdependent self-construal influences his or her behavior, cognition, and affect in new and ongoing relationships.

SOCIAL COMPARISONS

I have recently started to examine how social comparison information about another person's relationship influences relationship judgments. By manipulating the type of comparison (upward or downward) and the timing of the information (before or after rating one's own relationship) I can test whether individuals elevate their own relationship or derogate the comparison relationship. I am also planning to test whether one's attachment style influences the amount of social comparison an individual spontaneously performs, to whom they compare, and the outcomes (affective and cognitive) of these comparisons.

PARTNER-ENHANCEMENT

There is a variety of research indicating that individuals self-enhance or rate themselves better than general others. However, there is some literature suggesting that we are less likely to do this with our friends or dating partners. Other research indicates that we hold a number of positive illusions about these intimate others. For example, we rate our friends or dating partners more positively than general others. We also rate our friends or dating partners more positively than they self-rate (idealization). My research examines how we see these individuals relative to our selves. My students and I have conducted a number of studies with friends, dating partners, and marital partners and we have examined positive and negative traits as well as low and moderate relationship relevant traits. Overall, we find that in ongoing romantic relationships individuals partner-enhance relative to the self. That is, they rate their partner as having more positive and fewer negative traits and as having more relationship relevant traits than the self. In addition, relationship quality predicts this partner-enhancement.

RELATIONAL INTERDEPENDENT SELF-CONSTRUAL

RISC, or the degree to which individuals include relationships into their self-definition (Cross, Bacon, & Morris, 2000), is a personal attribute important to experiencing satisfying attachments. Most social psychology research assumes an individualist (independent) self-construal where the self is defined by abstract characteristics, unique abilities, and personal preferences (e.g., Markus & Kitayama, 1991). Not all individuals though define themselves in these terms. Through socialization processes that focus on attention to and concern with relationships, many women, and some men, in individualistic societies define the self in terms of close relationships with others; a relational-interdependent self-construal (RISC; Cross et al., 2000; Cross et al., 2002). For these individuals, relationships are essential for self-definition, self-expression, and self-enhancement (Cross, Gore, & Morris, 2003). In my research (Morry & Kito, in press), we hypothesized and found that among same-sex and cross-sex friends RISC predicted reporting higher levels of one's own relationship supportive behaviors (RSB: disclosure, opener, and trust). RISC and behaviors then predicted cognitions about friendship function fulfillment (FrFu: social, emotional, and instrumental needs). Finally, RISC, behaviors, and cognitions predicted relationship quality (RQ: satisfaction, liking, loving, and positive feeling) with arrows connecting each antecedent to all subsequent concepts. My students and I are currently examining (a) whether men and women prefer same-sex friends who are similar to the self in RISC (concordance) or prefer friends who are high in RISC (b) if perceptions of the friend's RISC are accurate or based on projection, (c) actor and partner effects in our model, and (d) RISC's influence on friendship initiation processes by videotaping a discussion among female same-sex strangers.

Primary Interests:

  • Causal Attribution
  • Close Relationships
  • Gender Psychology
  • Person Perception
  • Personality, Individual Differences
  • Social Cognition

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Journal Articles:

  • Morry, M. M., Kito, M., & Ortiz, L. (in press). Tests of the attraction-similarity model in dating couples: Projection, perceived similarity, and psychological benefits. Personal Relationships.
  • Morry, M. M. (2007). Relationship satisfaction as a predictor of perceived similarity among cross-sex friends: A test of the attraction-similarity model. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 24, 117-138.
  • Morry, M. M. (2005). Allocentrism and cross-sex friendship satisfaction: The mediating roles of self-disclosure and closeness. Canadian Journal of Behavioural Sciences, 37, 211-222.
  • Morry, M. M. (2005). Relationship satisfaction as a predictor of similarity ratings: A test of the Attraction-Similarity Hypothesis. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 22, 561-584.
  • Morry, M. M. (2003). Perceived locus of control and satisfaction in same-sex friendships. Personal Relationships, 10, 495-509.
  • Morry, M. M., & Harasymchuk, C. (2005). Perceptions of locus of control and satisfaction in friendships: The impact of problem-solving strategies. Journal of Social & Personal Relationships, 22(2), 183-206.
  • Morry, M. M., & Kito, M. (2009). Relational-interdependent self-construal as a predictor of relationship quality: The mediating roles of one’s own behaviors and perceptions of the fulfillment of friendship functions. Journal of Social Psychology, 149, 205-222.
  • Morry, M. M., Reich, T., & Kito, M. (2010). How do I see you relative to myself? Relationship quality as a predictor of self- and partner-enhancement within cross-sex friendships, dating relationships, and marriages. Journal of Social Psychology, 150, 369-392.
  • Sciangula, A. M., & Morry, M. M. (2009). Self-esteem and perceived regard: How I see myself affects my relationship satisfaction. Journal of Social Psychology, 149, 143-158.
  • Strauss, C., Morry, M. M., & Kito, M. (2012). Attachment styles and relationship quality: Actual, perceived, and ideal partner matching. Personal Relationships, 19(1), 14-36.

Courses Taught:

  • Contemporary Issues I: Cross-Cultural Social Psychology
  • Contemporary Issues I: Theories in Close Relationships
  • Dyadic Relations
  • Social Psychology

Marian Morry
Department of Psychology
University of Manitoba
P508 Duff Roblin
Winnipeg, Manitoba R3T 2N2
Canada

  • Phone: (204) 474-7840
  • Fax: (204) 474-7599

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