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Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, the Banker’s Paradox, and the Playing of Non-Zero Sum Games: Developing an Integrated Model of Close Relational Functioning
Unformatted Document Text:  CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS 14 existence of common knowledge between two individuals. Individuals who are similar to each other are likely to share common focal points, referents, experiences, assumptions, etc. And the importance of such common knowledge in facilitating coordinated outcomes has been investigated across a variety of disciplines (see, Clark & Marshall, 1981; Chwe, 2001; Fussell & Krauss, 1989; Geanakoplos, 1992; Mehta et al., 1994). For instance, common ground or shared knowledge is essential when using language to coordinate behavior efficiently - dyads often exploit common knowledge to exchange information in an expedient manner (see, Planalp, 1993; Planalp & Benson, 1992). Take for example, two scholars who share common knowledge about evolutionary psychology. They can quickly discuss their research agendas with each other by exploiting their mutual knowledge – they both know what the other knows and they both make use of this shared resource (see, Clark & Marshall, 1981). Moreover, scholars studying game playing situations have made similar claims; common knowledge makes coordination among independent parties easier to achieve (Geanakoplos, 1992; Mehta et al., 1994). Finally, Chwe (2001) provides numerous examples illustrating how public rituals create common knowledge thereby resolving complex coordination problems. From the perspective offered here, the solving of coordination problems through common knowledge does not require awareness of the underlying cognitive processes involved in such a complex undertaking. To the individuals at hand, mutual knowledge resolves coordination problems just as other complex mental activities occur – from the users point of view, it just seems to happen (Damasio, 1999; Gazzaniga, 1998). In summary, similarity among interdependent parties makes it more likely that individuals share common goals. Similarity, by default, also establishes common ground, which leads to a reduction in coordination costs. As such, similarity makes the benefits of coordination more likely while simultaneously making it less expensive to do so. Other relational scholars have expressed related ideas about the importance of similarity over the years. In particular, Kelley and Thibaut (1978) talk about the importance of similarity with respect to creating correspondent outcomes among interdependent parties (p. 64). Along the same line, Berscheid (1985) notes that similarity allows for greater prediction, control, and coordination (p. 457). And scholars studying romantic relationships have argued that similarity is essential between partners because it makes mutual goal attainment more likely (Botwin, Buss & Shackelford, 1997) and it most likely leads to a reduction in conflict (Acitelli, Kenny, & Weiner, 2001). The unique claim offered here is that the preference for similarity is a psychological adaptation that conveyed important non-zero sum gains by making collaborative coordination easier to achieve in close relationships. Although our work falls short of specifying the desire for similarity among close relational partners as a psychological adaptation with certainty (see, Tooby & Cosmides, 1992; Williams, 1966), several findings tentatively support this claim. First, similarity influences relational outcomes in a manner that is consistent with other psychological adaptations. Similarity works at an emotional level

Authors: Teboul, JC. Bruno. and Cole, Tim.
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CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS 14
existence of common knowledge between two individuals. Individuals who are similar to each other are
likely to share common focal points, referents, experiences, assumptions, etc. And the importance of such
common knowledge in facilitating coordinated outcomes has been investigated across a variety of
disciplines (see, Clark & Marshall, 1981; Chwe, 2001; Fussell & Krauss, 1989; Geanakoplos, 1992;
Mehta et al., 1994). For instance, common ground or shared knowledge is essential when using language
to coordinate behavior efficiently - dyads often exploit common knowledge to exchange information in an
expedient manner (see, Planalp, 1993; Planalp & Benson, 1992). Take for example, two scholars who
share common knowledge about evolutionary psychology. They can quickly discuss their research
agendas with each other by exploiting their mutual knowledge – they both know what the other knows
and they both make use of this shared resource (see, Clark & Marshall, 1981). Moreover, scholars
studying game playing situations have made similar claims; common knowledge makes coordination
among independent parties easier to achieve (Geanakoplos, 1992; Mehta et al., 1994). Finally, Chwe
(2001) provides numerous examples illustrating how public rituals create common knowledge thereby
resolving complex coordination problems. From the perspective offered here, the solving of coordination
problems through common knowledge does not require awareness of the underlying cognitive processes
involved in such a complex undertaking. To the individuals at hand, mutual knowledge resolves
coordination problems just as other complex mental activities occur – from the users point of view, it just
seems to happen (Damasio, 1999; Gazzaniga, 1998).
In summary, similarity among interdependent parties makes it more likely that individuals share
common goals. Similarity, by default, also establishes common ground, which leads to a reduction in
coordination costs. As such, similarity makes the benefits of coordination more likely while
simultaneously making it less expensive to do so. Other relational scholars have expressed related ideas
about the importance of similarity over the years. In particular, Kelley and Thibaut (1978) talk about the
importance of similarity with respect to creating correspondent outcomes among interdependent parties
(p. 64). Along the same line, Berscheid (1985) notes that similarity allows for greater prediction, control,
and coordination (p. 457). And scholars studying romantic relationships have argued that similarity is
essential between partners because it makes mutual goal attainment more likely (Botwin, Buss &
Shackelford, 1997) and it most likely leads to a reduction in conflict (Acitelli, Kenny, & Weiner, 2001).
The unique claim offered here is that the preference for similarity is a psychological adaptation that
conveyed important non-zero sum gains by making collaborative coordination easier to achieve in close
relationships. Although our work falls short of specifying the desire for similarity among close relational
partners as a psychological adaptation with certainty (see, Tooby & Cosmides, 1992; Williams, 1966),
several findings tentatively support this claim. First, similarity influences relational outcomes in a
manner that is consistent with other psychological adaptations. Similarity works at an emotional level


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