Date of Award

5-24-2016

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Psychology

First Advisor

Kelly Brennan-Jones

Second Advisor

Jeffrey Snarr

Third Advisor

Lori Forzano

Abstract

Amount of eye gaze has been correlated with relationship quality in married couples. Also, experimentally manipulated eye gaze has been shown to positively affect evaluations of strangers. The field lacks, however, experimental research on the effect of eye gaze on relationship quality in couples. Here, research entails experimental manipulation of eye gaze in couples. It was hypothesized that eye gazing would lead to an improvement in relationship quality. Participants were 61 couples who had been together for at least one month. Participants engaged in a task of communicating different emotions to their partner, while either looking intently at each other or while being unable to see each other due to wearing glasses that were covered with tape to obstruct vision. After the partner exercise, participants completed a questionnaire about relationship satisfaction, love, passion, and intimacy. No significant improvements in the relationship variables were found, and possible reasons for this outcome are discussed.

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