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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 18 Development and Maintenance. When repeated interaction leads to non-zero sum gains through resource exchange and effective coordination, positive affect, trust, and ingroup categorization are likely to become more salient. As such, individuals are likely to pursue further relational involvement. Individuals will be more likely to seek out each other’s company, trade favors, spend more time together, and they will be more willing to participate in joint activities. If this increased interaction results in further non-zero sum gains, such outcomes are likely to induce emotional responses fueling more intense resource exchange and the playing of more elaborate coordination games. From the perspective offered here, relational development can be viewed as a positive feedback loop. Successful exchange and coordination ultimately leads to more extensive exchange and coordination. It is important to reiterate how reciprocity and the sharing of similar interests influence this process. As noted earlier, the desire for reciprocity along with the expectation for future interaction are likely to promote cooperative behavior (Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981). Individuals are compelled to seek collaborative outcomes (non-zero sumness) through norms or reciprocity when future exchange is likely (Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981; Wright, 2000). Furthermore, similarity between interdependent parties is critical for relational development because it facilitates non-zero sum coordination by increasing the likelihood that mutual activities are pursued while also decreasing the costs of working together. In short, similarity makes it easier for individuals to exploit mutual knowledge when coordinating behavior. As individuals increase the extent to which they successfully play games of exchange and coordination, interdependence between relational partners becomes more pronounced. Over time, highly interdependent relationships are created through the repeated exchange of resources and the continued coordination of joint activities. We argue that this mutual dependence, formed through mutual self-gain, is accompanied by a host of emotional and perceptual biases that help individuals maintain their non-zero sum rewards. Specifically, we believe that substantial non-zero sum gains induce positive illusions and a host of other affective and cognitive biases, which are essential in the management of relational outcomes and the promoting of relational stability (Kerbs & Denton, 1997; Murray, 1999, Murray, Holmes, & Griffin, 1996). In short, when an individual’s self-interest is being relationally met, it is advantageous to implement perceptual biases that help preserve and maintain those relationships (Fletcher & Simpson, 2000). More importantly, mutual dependence leads to the creation of highly idiosyncratic mutual knowledge. As individuals spend more time together engaged in both resource exchange and activities requiring coordination, relational partners create shared knowledge which is unique and distinctive with respect to that relationship. Through interdependent endeavors, individuals implicitly and explicitly acquire information about each other’s preferences, desires, fears, motivations, strengths, weaknesses, peculiarities, behavioral tendencies, etc. Perhaps this outcome is best articulated by Planalp (1993) when

Authors: Teboul, JC. Bruno. and Cole, Tim.
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CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS 18
Development and Maintenance. When repeated interaction leads to non-zero sum gains through
resource exchange and effective coordination, positive affect, trust, and ingroup categorization are likely
to become more salient. As such, individuals are likely to pursue further relational involvement.
Individuals will be more likely to seek out each other’s company, trade favors, spend more time together,
and they will be more willing to participate in joint activities. If this increased interaction results in
further non-zero sum gains, such outcomes are likely to induce emotional responses fueling more intense
resource exchange and the playing of more elaborate coordination games. From the perspective offered
here, relational development can be viewed as a positive feedback loop. Successful exchange and
coordination ultimately leads to more extensive exchange and coordination.
It is important to reiterate how reciprocity and the sharing of similar interests influence this process.
As noted earlier, the desire for reciprocity along with the expectation for future interaction are likely to
promote cooperative behavior (Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981). Individuals are compelled to seek
collaborative outcomes (non-zero sumness) through norms or reciprocity when future exchange is likely
(Axelrod & Hamilton, 1981; Wright, 2000). Furthermore, similarity between interdependent parties is
critical for relational development because it facilitates non-zero sum coordination by increasing the
likelihood that mutual activities are pursued while also decreasing the costs of working together. In short,
similarity makes it easier for individuals to exploit mutual knowledge when coordinating behavior.
As individuals increase the extent to which they successfully play games of exchange and
coordination, interdependence between relational partners becomes more pronounced. Over time, highly
interdependent relationships are created through the repeated exchange of resources and the continued
coordination of joint activities. We argue that this mutual dependence, formed through mutual self-gain,
is accompanied by a host of emotional and perceptual biases that help individuals maintain their non-zero
sum rewards. Specifically, we believe that substantial non-zero sum gains induce positive illusions and a
host of other affective and cognitive biases, which are essential in the management of relational outcomes
and the promoting of relational stability (Kerbs & Denton, 1997; Murray, 1999, Murray, Holmes, &
Griffin, 1996). In short, when an individual’s self-interest is being relationally met, it is advantageous to
implement perceptual biases that help preserve and maintain those relationships (Fletcher & Simpson,
2000).
More importantly, mutual dependence leads to the creation of highly idiosyncratic mutual knowledge.
As individuals spend more time together engaged in both resource exchange and activities requiring
coordination, relational partners create shared knowledge which is unique and distinctive with respect to
that relationship. Through interdependent endeavors, individuals implicitly and explicitly acquire
information about each other’s preferences, desires, fears, motivations, strengths, weaknesses,
peculiarities, behavioral tendencies, etc. Perhaps this outcome is best articulated by Planalp (1993) when


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