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Darwins Dangerous Idea, the Bankers Paradox, and the Playing of Non-Zero Sum Games: Developing an Integrated Model of Close Relational Functioning
Unformatted Document Text:  CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS 5 offspring. Solutions that contributed to the survival and spreading of our genes constitute our self-interest today. For instance, our craving for sweets (Cosmides &Tooby, 1997), our jealous response to an unfaithful mate (Buss, Larsen, Westen, Semmelroth, 1992), and the differential care we give to our offspring (Mann, 1992) are all responses that have been useful from a gene’s point of view. Defining self-interest as such does not mean that these responses need to increase fitness in our current environment (i.e., desire for sweets), be pleasant for an individual to experience (i.e., jealousy), or be part of our conscious decision-making (i.e., withdrawing resources from sick children); rather this characterization of self-interest makes us keenly aware of the motivational force underlying human nature (Alexander, 1987). In short, self-interest needs to be viewed in terms of historical factors that have increased a gene’s likelihood of surviving and reproducing, rather than by exploring self-interest as an individual’s explicitly stated goals, intentions, and desires. In summary, an evolutionary framework serves as the backdrop for our model of close relationships. As such, it is assumed that relational behaviors are guided, in large part, by the unconscious pursuit of self-interest with our emotions leading the way. The advantage of using an evolutionary account is that it “carves” the world “at its joints.” (Daly & Wilson, 1999, p. 510). It organizes theoretical thinking around the problems that people encounter (e.g., when should I seek information?), by focusing on the narrow contexts in which these problems arise (e.g., when exchange or coordination becomes problematic), and it explicitly integrates content relevant features of the problem into our theoretical explanations (i.e., what specific information is needed to resolve the problem?). Compare this with the more traditional approach of trying to fit human experience into broad causal statements (i.e., when uncertain, seek information) which is often done (Afifi & Guerrero, 2000; see, for example, Emmers & Canary, 1996) even though such broad theoretical claims have been falsified through empirical investigation (e.g., Kellermann & Reynolds, 1990) or intuitive reasoning (i.e., there are currently many things I am uncertain about with respect to my romantic partner, yet I have no desire to seek information about any of them). Simply put, even when scholars specify the narrow conditions in which their explanation might be true (e.g., Berger & Calabrese, 1975), general accounts regarding social life typically miss the mark. Case in point, the fundamental claim that uncertainty leads to information seeking even in initial encounters is not supported – “not knowing” (being uncertain) may be a necessary condition, but it is definitely not a sufficient cause of information seeking behavior (Kellermann & Reynolds, 1990). General-purpose explanations often don’t fit real world situations. From the perspective offered here, our theories should be tailored to the unique problems that people encountered because life configured unique solutions to deal with specific problems; life did not select general-purpose strategies for handling the diverse set of obstacles and opportunities that arose during our evolutionary past (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). It is hoped that grounding our model of close relational

Authors: Teboul, JC. Bruno. and Cole, Tim.
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CLOSE RELATIONSHIPS 5
offspring. Solutions that contributed to the survival and spreading of our genes constitute our self-interest
today. For instance, our craving for sweets (Cosmides &Tooby, 1997), our jealous response to an
unfaithful mate (Buss, Larsen, Westen, Semmelroth, 1992), and the differential care we give to our
offspring (Mann, 1992) are all responses that have been useful from a gene’s point of view. Defining
self-interest as such does not mean that these responses need to increase fitness in our current
environment (i.e., desire for sweets), be pleasant for an individual to experience (i.e., jealousy), or be part
of our conscious decision-making (i.e., withdrawing resources from sick children); rather this
characterization of self-interest makes us keenly aware of the motivational force underlying human nature
(Alexander, 1987). In short, self-interest needs to be viewed in terms of historical factors that have
increased a gene’s likelihood of surviving and reproducing, rather than by exploring self-interest as an
individual’s explicitly stated goals, intentions, and desires.
In summary, an evolutionary framework serves as the backdrop for our model of close relationships.
As such, it is assumed that relational behaviors are guided, in large part, by the unconscious pursuit of
self-interest with our emotions leading the way. The advantage of using an evolutionary account is that it
“carves” the world “at its joints.” (Daly & Wilson, 1999, p. 510). It organizes theoretical thinking
around the problems that people encounter (e.g., when should I seek information?), by focusing on the
narrow contexts in which these problems arise (e.g., when exchange or coordination becomes
problematic), and it explicitly integrates content relevant features of the problem into our theoretical
explanations (i.e., what specific information is needed to resolve the problem?). Compare this with the
more traditional approach of trying to fit human experience into broad causal statements (i.e., when
uncertain, seek information) which is often done (Afifi & Guerrero, 2000; see, for example, Emmers &
Canary, 1996) even though such broad theoretical claims have been falsified through empirical
investigation (e.g., Kellermann & Reynolds, 1990) or intuitive reasoning (i.e., there are currently many
things I am uncertain about with respect to my romantic partner, yet I have no desire to seek information
about any of them). Simply put, even when scholars specify the narrow conditions in which their
explanation might be true (e.g., Berger & Calabrese, 1975), general accounts regarding social life
typically miss the mark. Case in point, the fundamental claim that uncertainty leads to information
seeking even in initial encounters is not supported – “not knowing” (being uncertain) may be a necessary
condition, but it is definitely not a sufficient cause of information seeking behavior (Kellermann &
Reynolds, 1990). General-purpose explanations often don’t fit real world situations.
From the perspective offered here, our theories should be tailored to the unique problems that people
encountered because life configured unique solutions to deal with specific problems; life did not select
general-purpose strategies for handling the diverse set of obstacles and opportunities that arose during our
evolutionary past (Tooby & Cosmides, 1992). It is hoped that grounding our model of close relational


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