Differences in Social Exchange Between Intimate and Other Relationships: Gradually Evolving or Quickly Apparent?

  • John H. Berg
  • Margaret S. Clark
Part of the Springer Series in Social Psychology book series (SSSOC)


Interpersonal attraction has long been of considerable interest to social psychologists. Much of the work in this area, however, has been of the “one-shot” variety, focusing on factors influencing initial attraction between strangers. Social psychologists, for instance, have studied how proximity, similarity, physical attractiveness, and equity influence strangers’ initial attraction toward one another. Recently, some investigators have argued that close relationships such as friendships or romantic relationships are so different from casual ones that little of what has been gleaned from the study of initial attraction will be of use in understanding them (e.g., Levinger & Snoek, 1972; Murstein, Cerreto, & MacDonald; Rubin, 1973). Such criticisms, whether or not they turn out to be correct, highlight the importance of social psychologists addressing themselves more fully to understanding the dynamics of close friendships and how people become close. If whatever it is that distinguishes close from not close relationships develops very gradually, perhaps it is true that studying people who have just met will be of little importance to understanding the formation and dynamics of relationships such as friendships and romantic relationships. If, however, people make some fairly clear decisions about the nature of relationships early on, then one can argue that studying initial impressions and behavior is important to the study of close relationships.


Romantic Relationship Social Exchange Physical Attractiveness Exchange Relationship Experimental Social Psychology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1986

Authors and Affiliations

  • John H. Berg
  • Margaret S. Clark

There are no affiliations available

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