Archive for October, 2006

First Demonstration of a Working Invisibility Cloak
October 23, 2006

A team led by scientists at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering has demonstrated the first working “invisibility cloak.” The cloak deflects microwave beams so they flow around a “hidden” object inside with little distortion, making it appear almost as if nothing were there at all.

Cloaks that render objects essentially invisible to microwaves could have a variety of wireless communications or radar applications, according to the researchers.

The team reported its findings on Thursday, Oct. 19, in Science Express, the advance online publication of the journal Science. The research was funded by the Intelligence Community Postdoctoral Fellowship Program.

The researchers manufactured the cloak using “metamaterials” precisely arranged in a series of concentric circles that confer specific electromagnetic properties. Metamaterials are artificial composites that can be made to interact with electromagnetic waves in ways that natural materials cannot reproduce.

The cloak represents “one of the most elaborate metamaterial structures yet designed and produced,” the scientists said. It also represents the most comprehensive approach to invisibility yet realized, with the potential to hide objects of any size or material property, they added.

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The 29 Dimensions
October 23, 2006

Most people know that the key to success in a long-term relationship is compatibility. But what does that mean? If you both like foreign movies and Mocha ice cream, will you still feel the magic in 25 years?

The 29 dimensions mentioned below are scientifically proven to predict happier and healthier relationships. To help you better understand these 29 dimensions, they’ve been grouped into Core Traits and Vital Attributes.

Core Traits are defining aspects of who you are that remain largely unchanged throughout your adult life.

Vital Attributes are based on learning and experience, and are more likely to change based on life events and decisions you make as an adult.

These key areas paint a powerful portrait of who you are at the deepest level.

Core Traits

1. Emotional Temperament

How do you feel about yourself and about the world? While specific day-to-day and moment-to-moment events play a major role in our emotions, deep seated patterns of emotion are also a fundamental part of who you are and how people perceive you. The following members of the 29 Dimensions are considered as part of your Emotional Temperament:

i. Self Concept
ii. Emotional Status
iii. Energy: Emotional
iv. Obstreperousness
v. Passion: Romantic

Self Concept

Self Concept refers to how you perceive yourself. Do I believe strongly and implicitly that I am a good and worthwhile person, or do I have a strong need to be supported and bolstered in this belief by other people in my life? It is important that your self-concept be accurate, positive and strong in order for you to be most successful in your relationships with other people.

A strong self concept is both accurate and positive. An accurate self concept is one that is consistent with the way that other (healthy) people see you. A positive self concept is based on a core belief in your own value and worth. Minor failures and difficulties can have huge emotional repercussions for people who lack a strong self concept. One of the benefits of a strong self concept is the capacity to control the various parts of your emotional world in a way that provides consistency and balance to your life.

Emotional Status

There are certain factors which almost guarantee that any marriage is going to have a very low probability of success. For instance, if a person has an addiction of any kind, or has a serious emotional condition which chronically disrupts their life, or a tendency to be unreliable. These should be recognized as serious red flags. More than one of these red flags should definitely signal a need to slow down in any search for a life partner, and even one red flag should encourage a delay in getting married until the condition can be remedied.

Having a solid emotional composition is the essence of the Emotional Status dimension. Feeling happy, fulfilled and hopeful are crucial elements of this dimension. Conversely, being depressed, anxious and fearful about the future are aspects that are negatively associated with this dimension. If someone has an extremely low score on this dimension, it is unlikely they have the emotional reserves to currently engage in a healthy intimate relationship.

Emotional Energy

Emotional energy relates to how energetic your emotional temperament is. Key indicators of emotional energy are how spontaneous, vivacious, outgoing and adventurous you feel on a regular basis. Although all of us have our ups and downs, people with a lot of emotional energy rarely need to “recharge” and are almost always happiest when they are actively doing something.


Obstreperousness refers to a person’s tendency to find fault, to attribute blame to someone else, to make other persons wrong, and to portray them self as always right. The obstreperous person is someone who has a consistently critical attitude. The more pessimistic a person is, the more likely they are to be obstreperous.

Passion: Romantic

Your level of Romantic Passion reflects the degree to which the romantic and emotional aspects of a relationship are an important part of your emotional temperament. The desires to share and experience warmth, affection and a sensual connection with a partner are all important aspects of your level of Romantic Passion. 

2. Social Style

How do you relate to other people? Do you crave company, or prefer to be alone? Are you more comfortable leading, or do you prefer to go along with the group? Basic feelings such as these comprise an important aspect of who you are, and who you will be most compatible with. The elements of the 29 Dimensions which define your Social Style are:

i. Character
ii. Kindness
iii. Dominance
iv. Sociability
v. Autonomy
vi. Adaptability


The Character dimension relates primarily to issues of integrity. How honest are you? How fair are you? How committed are you to being honest and fair at all times, and at all costs? A person has a strong character if they relentlessly tell the truth, refuse to take advantage of another person in any situation, and use their best judgment even under the most intense circumstances.

Anyone can do the “right thing” when the going is easy and challenges are few and far between. Character ultimately relates to how you behave when life gets difficult. When the going gets tough, people with high character are the ones you really want by your side!

People who have a high score on the Character dimension are experienced by others as consistently genuine and trustworthy. They can be relied upon to act according to their best judgment. Furthermore, people with high Character scores are consistently more likely to be a good partner in a successful relationship.


The dimension of Kindness relates to that capacity of an individual to treat other people with consistent sensitivity and empathy. Almost everybody on earth is looking for friends and partners who are high on the dimension of kindness. There is a lack of self-centeredness when kindness is present. Kindness is the very opposite of selfishness.

Expressing support and concern for your partner, and expecting your partner to do the same, is the underlying characteristic of this dimension. The ability to express kindness through all types of situations is measured by this dimension.


A person who is consistently dominant needs to be in control. A person who is consistently submissive needs to be controlled. Neither of these qualities is necessarily good or bad. But in any relationship there needs to be a general agreement about who will be dominant and who will be submissive. Relationships work best when both people can be dominant at different times and submissive at other times.

This dimension evaluates if you have a tendency to be more comfortable as a leader or as a follower. Those who are dominant tend to be somewhat aggressive and outspoken while those who are more submissive prefer to defer to someone else.


Some people are extremely eager to be involved with other people in a social context. Others find social involvement anxiety provoking and painful. If a person is high on sociability, they are usually seen to be eager for social engagement. Shy persons typically are seen as low on sociability, but there needs to be a careful assessment of shy people for any differences between interest and ability.

The degree of enjoyment you take in actively engaging in social situations reflects the basic element of this dimension. Hosting parties, mingling at social functions and making new friends all contribute to this dimension.


The Autonomy dimension represents the degree to which you desire to maximize your time spent with a partner, versus your desire to pursue independent activities and interests. Although a high desire for closeness can be confused with low Self Concept in some situations, the truth is that your desire for autonomy or closeness is an important and separate aspect of your Emotional Temperament which it is important to consider when looking for your ideal mate.


Adaptability is a personal characteristic which allows an individual to change their way of being in order to better relate to another person or persons. If an individual can maintain their authenticity, the ideal is for their adaptability to be at a maximum level. This ability to adapt makes all other relationships more likely to be meaningful.

Being able to make compromises and to adjust to changing circumstances defines this dimension. Being able to consistently consider your partner’s needs is also an positive aspect of Adaptability.

3. Cognitive Mode

How do you think about the world around you? Are you motivated by an insatiable curiosity about the world and events around you? Are you constantly looking for intellectual challenges? Do you find humor to be your favorite coping strategy when dealing with the world? Although Feelings and Social Style can impact on this trait, your Cognitive Mode is an important separate aspect of who you are, and defines a lot of the ways in which you interact with people. The elements of the 29 Dimensions which define your dominant Cognitive Mode are:

i. Intellect
ii. Curiosity
iii. Humor
iv. Artistic Passion


How interested are you in learning about and understanding the world around you? Do you prefer seeing the “big picture?” Or are you someone who likes to know all the details? How do you approach solving problems in your day to day life? Do you like to know all the facts before you make a decision? Or are you more comfortable following your intuition? These are some of the many aspects that combine to form the intellectual component of your Cognitive Style.


Perhaps the most important component of your cognitive style is your level of curiosity about the world. If a person has an intense need for stimulation, along with a personal strategy to pursue additional information through inquisitiveness, they are thought to be high on the curiosity dimension. If a person is easily satisfied with relatively limited information about anything, they are low in curiosity.


Everyone thinks that they have a “good sense of humor.” But how strongly does your sense of humor affect your cognitive style? Are you constantly finding humor in the situations around you? Do your friends count on you to make them smile or laugh when you join a conversation. Is humor something you enjoy, or a major component of your personality? These elements define the dimension of humor, and comprise an important component of your cognitive style. 

Artistic Passion

Some people are, right to the center of themselves, artistically inclined. This is for them a primary personal trait. Sometimes, these persons are skillful as artists. They may play an instrument, write music or poetry, paint, sculpt, or sing. Other people cannot perform, but they have a strong interest in observing, listening, reading, and feeling.

Your drive for creativity and artistic expression define your level of Artistic Passion. The enjoyment of art and culture is an essential part of life for individuals who score highly on this dimension. This dimension also incorporates the desire to have creative outlets such as music and writing. How you view the importance of art and culture is an important aspect of your cognitive style.

4. Physicality

How do you relate physically with the world? How do you relate physically with yourself? Are you energetic, athletic and constantly in motion? Or are you more comfortable and happy walking than running? Feelings and thoughts which revolve around your physical life form an important aspect of who you are. The components of the 29 Dimensions which deal with your Physicality include:

i. Physical Energy
ii. Passion: Physical
iii. Vitality and Security
iv. Industry
v. Appearance

Physical Energy

A person has both an ordinary energy capacity and a peak energy capacity. The Physical Energy dimension refers to the amount of physical energy you characteristically have across the scope of your day to day life. The amount of enjoyment you take in pursuing physically challenging activities, whether you prefer physically active or physically passive forms of recreation, your feelings and level of physical activity are all strongly reflected in this dimension.

Passion: Physical

Physical passion refers to the amount of interest and enjoyment a person associates with the physical act of making love. Your basic attitudes and feelings regarding physical passion are an important part of your core trait of physicality.

Vitality and Security

Vitality refers to a person’s attitude towards their general state of physical health. Security refers to a person’s ability and desire to both earn a living and provide a safe and secure environment in which to raise a family.


A person who most enjoys being “lazy” and relaxing is low on Industry, while someone who needs to be on the go constantly and doing something is high on Industry. Efficiency, productivity and a drive to constantly improve one’s self and surroundings are characteristics of this dimension. Persistence in achieving goals and taking great pleasure in doing high quality work also distinguished people with high scores on Industry. 


The core element assessed by this dimension is the extent to which you consider yourself to be a physically attractive person. This includes ratings of physical attributes such as fitness, weight, and athleticism. While this can be thought of as part of your “physical temperament,” how you feel about your appearance also speaks to your emotional temperament.

Vital Attributes

1. Relationship Skills

The amount of effort and skill that you devote to making a relationship work are key elements of who you are, and what type of person you are most likely to succeed with in a relationship. The key attributes that we measure as part of your Relationship Skills are:

i. Communication Style
ii. Emotion Management: Anger
iii. Emotional Management: Mood
iv. Conflict Resolution

Communication Style

This dimension relates to both interest in communicating and ability to communicate. It summarizes the important matter of how much and how well a person is able to verbalize his or her thoughts and feelings, ask questions of another person, and determine similarities and differences between them.

Emotion Management: Anger

This dimension measures your ability to deal with anger in a manner that is not at the expense of someone else. Being able to express both positive and negative emotions in an honest and constructive manner is an important part of this dimension. Taking anger out on other people, becoming easily upset and blaming others when things go wrong are all examples of poor anger management skills.

Emotional Management: Mood

Every person has some variation of moods. And every person has some degree of control over their moods. When they manage their moods so that their emotional state remains within reasonable limits, they are thought to be good mood managers. However, when their moods vary considerably, or even severely, they score much lower on the dimension of mood management.

Conflict Resolution

This dimension measures how you prefer to resolve conflicts. Being able to understand another’s point of view, being respectful of other people during conflicts and dropping an issue once it is resolved all contribute to a strong score on this dimension.

2. Values and Beliefs

Values and Beliefs are at the center of most of our life experiences. How we feel about spirituality, religion, family and even politics for a enormous part of how we think about the world, and who we are going to be most comfortable sharing our lives with.

i. Spirituality
ii. Family Goals
iii. Traditionalism
iv. Ambition
v. Altruism


The spirituality dimension measures the amount of importance you place in your spiritual expressions and beliefs. The spiritual realm has to do with phenomena that involve matters above and beyond physical explanations. For some people spirituality is expressed in religion and religious beliefs. For other people, spirituality is expressed in more personalized and individual ways.

Family Goals

The Family Goal dimension is defined by your interest in parenting. The desire to have children and dedicate a significant part of your life to the rearing of children is the crucial component of this dimension.


Society has developed some traditional ways of dealing with most common situations. In simplest terms, this can be thought of as the “road most traveled.” This dimension is heavily related to the importance placed on morality, personal values, church involvement and religious beliefs.


Ambition indicates how important it is for you to be recognized as personally successful. This dimension reflects how much emphasis you place on succeeding in your career and in your financial life. It also measures how important it is for you to find and take on new challenges.


How strongly do you desire to live your life according to your values? While all of us have values and beliefs that we apply to situations in a reactive manner, the Altruism dimension speaks to how proactive you are in applying what you think is right and putting back into the community in which you live. Having strong values, helping those who are less fortunate, performing volunteer work and participating in community service are all positive aspects of this dimension.

3. Key Experiences

All of your life experiences combine to affect who you are and how you relate to the world. Although many of the effects of these experiences are represented by the other Core Traits and Learned Attributes, the following components of the 29 Dimensions are considered separately as part of your Key Experiences:

i. Family Background
ii. Family Status
iii. Education

Family Background

Did your family history prepare you for being able to form a long lasting and healthy relationship? This dimension measures the quality of your family history based on positive feelings such as supportiveness and negative feelings such as over-involvement and conflict. How you perceive your family when you were growing up and how you relate to your family now are both part of this assessment.

Family Status

Family status is your current family situation (i.e., do you have children from a previous relationship or marriage, do they live with you full time/part time/not at all, are they under the age of 18, etc.).


The dimension of Education is based upon your level of educational achievement and the degree of importance that you attach to educational achievements.

*Source: Harris Interactive study, Fall 2005.

Relationship Attachment Model
October 23, 2006

Overview of Attachment Theory

Attachment theory is one of the most exciting and promising areas of research and intervention in premarital and marital relationships (Jacobson and Gurman, 1995; Hazan and Shaver, 1994).  Much of the past research has investigated Bowlby’s “types” or “styles” of human attachment (Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1980; Ainsworth, 1982; Hazan and Shaver, 1994).  This landmark three-volume exploration of attachment, separation and loss by Bowlby (1969, 1973, 1980) provided an in-depth understanding of the varying styles of unidirectional attachment which occur from the infant to the mother.  Subsequent studies expanded this individual, object-relations theoretical orientation to include more systemic and transactional concepts.  These in-depth descriptions of how infant-mother affectional bonds are formed and broken spawned a massive amount of research in infant, adolescent and adult attachments (see a review of research in Weiss, 1982 and Ainsworth, 1982), and specifically, the development of love and romance (Hazan and Shaver, 1987; 1994). 

The majority of this research has continued to use the three styles of attachment (secure, avoidant, and anxious-ambivalent) first proposed by Bowlby, and expanded by Bartholomew (1990) into a four-group model. Bartholomew portrayed attachment styles as reflections of the degree of positive (+) or negative (-) characteristics in the working models of the self (S) and the attachment figure (O for other).  These working models are broad, cognitive schemas of self and the other that are prototypically formed by the infant-caregiver interactions.  Bartholomew’s four styles are the: 1) Secure (+S, +O); 2) Dismissing (+S, -O); 3) Preoccupied (-S, +O); and 4) Fearful (-S, -O).

In the eighties, several researchers applied Bowlby’s three styles of attachment to adult romantic relationships (Hazan, C. and Shaver, P., 1987)  They found that there was continuity between the infant’s early experience of attachment and the style of attachment experienced in adult relationships.  Their study supported and expanded the typology developed by Ainsworth and her colleagues.

In the nineties, attachment theory continued to attract more attention and predominance in the understanding of love and romance.  In addition to hundreds of research articles, major volumes were written on this subject each year throughout the last decade (Bartholomew and Perlman, 1994; Socha and Stamp,1995; Goldberg, Muir, and Kerr, 1995; Feeney and Noller, 1996; Meins, 1997; Simpson and Rholes, 1998; Cassidy and Shaver, 1999). 

The results of much of this research have found that a person’s attachment style does not change.  However, there has been a lack of utilitarian models of attachment that could be used to assist people in understanding and modifying their experience of intimacy and closeness in relationships.  This may be due to the focus on the style of attachment and not on the dynamic components that comprise the different styles of attachment.

Bonding Processes in Adult Attachment

Attachment is the essence of all relationships, and a model that identifies and explains the bonding processes that produce attachment will provide the much needed, overarching structure for organizing and applying the many subjects in relationship research.  Feeney and Noller (1996) stated that although they “know of no published empirical work integrating all three components of romantic bonds (attachment, caregiving, and sexuality), such work will undoubtedly be carried out.  This integrative approach offers the promise of a comprehensive theory of romantic love.” (p. 121). Attachment, then, is best conceptualized as a metarelationship concept which incorporates all the universal bonding forces that make up human love and closeness. 

People marry because they feel an overwhelming attachment of love; communication and conflict styles express and monitor attachment; intimacy, commitment, sex, trust and reliance are all components that produce attachment. 

Couples divorce because their experience of attachment has deteriorated; other couples reconcile because they rekindle attachment. 

Therefore, a model of attachment is the best vehicle for presenting mate-selection education.  Falling in love is much more than just knowing what to look for in a prospective mate, or developing the right skills for handling a relationship.  Love is attachment, and an educational program that omits this intrinsic subject overlooks the core of mate selection in romantic-based cultures. 

The need for a unifying, theoretical model of these dynamic components is challenging because of the lack of clarity in even defining the specific inter- and intra-personal components which comprise attachment.  “Love,” “trust,” “commitment,” “affection,” “emotion,” “dependence,” “needs,” and “intimacy” are among a few of the terms which overlap the concept of attachment.  And each of these terms are equally difficult to define (Moss & Schwebel, 1993; Fehr, 1987; Stede, Levita, McLand and Kelly, 1982). 

It was proposed by Bowlby (1969, 1973, 1980) that sexuality and caregiving are independent behavioral systems.  Romantic love, then, encompassed these three crucial components: attachment, caregiving, and sexuality. However, Shaver and Hazan (1988) have argued that previous conceptualizations of romantic love could actually be integrated within the attachment framework. 

Carnelley, Pietromonaco, and Jaffe (cited in Feeney and Noller, 1996) and Kunce and Shaver (1994) have also provided support for the link between attachment styles and the caregiving components of romantic love.  They found that caregiving was imbedded in the styles of attachment, although it was expressed differently by each. 

In addition, evidence of the link between attachment and sexuality has also been forged by Brennan and Shaver (1995).  They found that the avoidant style were more accepting of casual, noncommited sex than the other attachment styles.  Hazan, Zeifman, and Middleton (1994) conducted a comprehensive study of the overlap between attachment style and sexual behaviors.  They concluded there are three distinct sexual styles that correlate with the three attachment styles. 

In reviewing the research on connections and closeness in relationships, several constructs repeatedly emerge.  Sternberg (1986) developed a triangular model of love that had three components: intimacy- feelings of bondedness, closeness, and connectedness; passion- the drives and motivations that lead to arousal; and commitment- the decision that one loves another and is committed to maintaining that love over time. 

David Olson’s Personal Assessment of Intimacy in Relationships (P.A.I.R.) found six factors which he identified as types of intimacy: emotional, social, sexual, intellectual, recreational, and conventionality (Schaefer, M.T. & Olson, D.H., 1981).  Olson found that individuals desire varying amounts and combinations of the six types of intimacy.  These findings are comparable with Kunce and Shaver’s (1994) findings that an individual’s attachment style is reflected in different preferences on constructs of intimacy and caregiving

Moss and Schwebel (1993) attempted to define intimacy in romantic relationships.  They conducted an extensive review of the subject of intimacy in research and literature and found 61 unique definitions.  Seven themes were identified in these definitions, and were reduced to five components.  These components were: a) Commitment; b) Affective Intimacy; c) Cognitive Intimacy; d) Physical Intimacy; and e) Mutuality. 

The Description of the Bonding Processes of the R.A.M.

In response to this need of a unifying theory for these components, I have developed a conceptual model of attachment: the Relationship Attachment Model or the R.A.M. This model portrays the sequential development of the five bonding dynamics that emerge from the numerous studies on intimacy, love, caregiving, sex and attachment.  These five dynamics are the ingredients of the glue of attachment.  They embody and explain all of the characteristics of the experience of attachment in every relationship in life.

A basic proposition of the R.A.M. is that the five bonding processes are actually expressions of the five commonly accepted categories of a human.  It is generally thought that there are five major aspects or clusters of the self every human possesses.  These clusters of self are groupings of similar interpersonal and intrapersonal functions in a person.  They are 1) your physical/sensory self, 2) your mental self, 3) your emotional self, 4) your relational self, and 5) your sexual self.  Each of these clusters functions interdependently, yet is distinct and separate from the other.  They are interdependent because they cannot exist without each other, and the functioning of one affects the outcome of the whole.  Yet, they are distinct because every one supplies a unique contribution to the overall human experience.  This is particularly true in the formation and maintenance of attachment.

Each of these five clusters produces a bonding dynamic that contributes to the overall experience of attachment.  They are bonding because they are forces of energy that create connections between people.  They are dynamic because they have ranges of intensity that vary according to the experiences within a person and the exchanges between persons.

The five bonding dynamics, like the clusters that produce them, are both independent of and interactive with each other.  They can be isolated and examined individually, although one never functions without the involvement of the others.  If one is altered, there is an automatic effect on the others and the overall experience of attachment is altered.

The first bonding dynamic, generated from the sensory self, is the ability to know another and be known by that other.  The sense of knowing and being known is frequently at the core of intimacy and is further delineated in information processing theories.  Hinde (1978) illustrated this by defining intimacy as “the number of different facets of the personality which are revealed to the partner and to what depth” (p. 378).  Research has supported that couples which are better acquainted before marriage have significantly higher rates of marital quality (Birtchnell and Kennard, 1984; Grover, Russell, Schumm and Paff-Bergen, 1985; Kurdek, 1991, 1993).  In the case of couples who are less acquainted, Grover, et. al. (1985) has found that they experience greater problems when they face the inevitable difficulties of marriage.

There are three ingredients that contribute to this dynamic.  The first is mutual self-disclosure (Derlega and Chaikin, 1975).  It has been found that disclosing information considered highly intimate can result in physiological changes- increased blood pressure, heart rate and palmar sweating (Ashworth, Furman, Chaikin, and Derlega, 1976).  The second ingredient that makes up this dynamic of knowing and being known is sharing diverse experiences together.  Olson (Schaefer, M.T. & Olson, D.H., 1981) identified examples of this in the recreational intimacy factor in his P.AI.R.S. inventory. In Lauer and Lauer’s (1986) study of 351 couples who were married a minimum of 15 years, it was found that friendship was one of the key elements of the enduring marriages.  Sporakowski and Axelson (1984) also found enjoyment and fulfillment were present in enduring marriages.  The bond of knowing and being known necessitates involvement in enjoyable, fulfilling, mutual friendship-type experiences.  The third ingredient in this dynamic is time.  In Robinson and Blanton’s (1993) research on intimacy and enduring relationships they found that time alone was important for positive marital closeness.  The accumulation of shared experiences created a deeper feeling of connection and attachment.

The second bonding dynamic, generated from the mental self, is the ability to trust another and be trusted by that other.  This dynamic corresponds with the concept of internal working models in attachment theory, the development of object representations in object relations theory and cognitive schemas in cognitive theory.  These working models are internal, mental representations of another.  They are like maps that are used to determine one’s expectations, feelings and interpretations of another.  Collins and Read (1994) substantiate the complexities of internal representations and their corresponding emotional responses.

Trust, then, is defined as the degree of positive cognitive, affective attributions one holds in their mental representation of another.  As a person gets to know another, he/she constructs a mental profile of that person.  Initially, stereotypes, associations and ideals are used to “fill in the gaps” of what is assumed to be true about the person.  But as time allows for more interactions and experiences, the mental profile is adjusted to reflect the deeper knowledge gained about the other person.  Bretherton (1985) explained that inner working models organize previous experiences in a way to enable one to anticipate and manage new situations and relationships.  He found, for example, that children with responsive caregivers are more likely to develop trust in their working models of others (see also Collins and Read, 1994). 

The three styles of attachment reflect variations of trust in the mental model.  A person who has a secure attachment style has a healthy trust capacity.  However, someone who has either the avoidant style or the anxious-ambivalent attachment style has a damaged trust capacity in their working models of others.  Altering one’s attachment style may be influenced by facilitating cognitive shifts through teaching the concepts of these internal mental profiles and how they relate to the development of trust.

The third bonding dynamic, generated from the emotional self, is the ability to rely on another and be relied on by that other.  This dynamic reflects what Clinebell and Clinebell (1970) referred to as the most extensive and refined definition of intimacy…”a mutual need satisfaction.”  This dynamic allows for individual differences in needs.  Attachment occurs as the specific needs of the individual are met.  The reciprocity of need fulfillment results in a deeper experience of closeness and intimacy than unidirectional need fulfillment as described in detail in social-exchange theory. 

Olson’s P.A.I.R. inventory captures this construct in many of the factors (social needs, intellectual needs, sexual needs), but most in the conventionality scale (e.g. item 36 asks if all needs are being met by partner). 

The fourth bonding dynamic, generated from the relational self, is the ability to commit to another and be committed to by that other.  It, like the other bonding dynamics, is a natural expression of an innate structure of personality.  People form commitments in relationships because of an innate need for a stable, secure sense of belonging to another while feeling that “my partner belongs to me.”  The concept that persons are in systems which have varying degrees of influence and interaction is at the heart of systems theory.

The concept of commitment is present in almost every study on intimacy, closeness, or love.  Numerous studies have been conducted on love, romance, and commitment (Knox & Sporakowski, 1968; Simmons, Von Kolke, & Shimizu, 1986; Simmons, Wehner, & Kay, 1988; Brown, 1993; Stanley & Markman, 1992; Fehr, 1988; Hobart, 1958; Rubin, 1970; Rubin, 1973).   These studies have attempted to define this abstract, dynamic process in a relationship.  The degree of commitment is measured by the amount of personal investment someone places in another.  This investment is often represented by a specific label or definition of the relationship.  For instance, an “acquaintance” indicates a low level of investment, whereas a “best friend” suggests higher levels of personal investment.  Consistently, research supports the importance of a strong commitment for positive love and romantic feelings and marital satisfaction. 

Commitment, like the other relationship dynamics, contributes to the bond of a relationship.  Beach and Tesser (1988) found that the more commitment a person feels toward another, the more he/she will focus cognitive and affective attention toward that individual.  Tesser and Paulhus (1970) also found that the amount of time someone spends thinking about another he/she had dated was positively related to higher scores on the Rubin Love Scale (1970).  In fact, it has been shown that a person thinks and feels more positively toward another once a decision to commit is made (Brehm and Cohen, 1962).  

The fifth and final bonding dynamic, generated from the sexual self, is the ability to form sexual bonds with another and feel sexually desired by that other.  Intimacy is often equated with sexual involvement in the literature- the greater the sexual involvement, the more intimacy.  This dynamic involves everything from extended gazing to uninhibited sexual intercourse (Exline, 1972; Rosenfeld, Kartus, and Ray, 1976).   It is correlated with the Sexual Intimacy scale in Olson’s P.A.I.R. (Schaefer and Olson, 1981). 

In the dating relationship the first bonding force, Knowledge, is what you know about the person you are dating.  When you spend time talking and doing things together, a deeper understanding of the person develops.  This understanding, or knowledge, creates a growing feeling of closeness.

As you gather these pieces of understanding about a person, you arrange them to create a portrait of what you believe this person is like.  This portrait is the second bonding force, your internal image of the person (or, your Trust Picture).  It is this mental picture which prompts your expectations and feelings of trust.  Trust and attachment increases as your trust picture becomes more positive.

Based on your level of trust, you form a dependency upon this person to meet more and more of your needs.  This third bonding force, Reliance, is a natural outcome of your trust in the other person.  To the extent that the person meets your expectations, you alter your mental picture in positive ways, becoming more confident of your reliance and their dependability.  Your attachment continues to increase with this process.

Your growing trust and reliance produce a deeper definition of your relationship.  This fourth bonding force is the degree of commitment which develops as the other three processes occur.  This Commitment produces feelings of security, safety, connection and closeness.

The closeness in the relationship becomes expressed in physical touch.  This fifth bonding force, Sex, includes the expression of sexual touch and the experience of a sexual chemistry.  The extent of the physical/sexual expressions produces a corresponding attachment and closeness.

The Dynamic Quality of the Bonding Processes of the R.A.M.

The interrelationship between these bonding processes can be conceptualized as five, rheostat control-slides, similar to a graphic equalizer on your stereo.  Each control-slide functions independent of the other, but they all affect the overall sound.  In a similar way, each bonding process can be viewed individually.  They have a similar low-to-high range, just like the control slides on the mixing board.  You can increase the intensity of any one of them without increasing the others.   And every bonding process contributes a unique aspect of the relationship connection.  However, it is only by their mix that the complex feeling of attachment in a relationship is produced.

The Definitions of Healthy and Unhealthy Attachment from the R.A.M.

The five bonding processes are in a hierarchical order and the combinations of their levels express healthy and unhealthy relationship attachment.  In other words, the balance of the levels of the five bonding dynamics portrays the healthiness of the attachment in a relationship.  They have an inter-relationship with each other.  A feature of these five bonding dynamics is that they are inseparably linked even though they are distinct.  This is evidenced by the interaction between them.  As one’s commitment increases, then the trust and feeling of reliance tends to increase (Beach and Tesser, 1988).  As trust increases, then the feeling of reliance on the other also grows. 

The level of each bonding process, however, must be kept in balance with the others in order to insure a healthy attachment.  This balance is maintained by a simple rule:


However, when imbalance does occur in a relationship, then the result is increased vulnerabilities, overattachment and minimization of problems.  Therefore, the level at which one knows his/her partner establishes the maximum level of earned trust, which establishes the maximum level of safe reliance, which establishes the maximum level of healthy commitment, which establishes the maximum level of appropriate sexual involvement.  In other words, the degree of sexual involvement should not exceed the degree of commitment, which should not exceed the degree of reliance, which should not exceed the degree of development in your trust picture, which should not exceed the degree of what you accurately know about the partner. 

An example of this is the recent research that supports the conclusion that premarital sexual intercourse is related to subsequent marital dissatisfaction and divorce (Kelly and Conley, 1987).  The extensive study by Janus and Janus (1993) established that divorced men and women reported more premarital sexual experience than the still-married individuals.  One explanation of this is the imbalance between the extent of sexual involvement and the extent of commitment during the premarital relationship.  The frequency of sex outside of marriage may have a weakening effect upon a person’s commitment level in marriage (Thomson and Collela, 1992; White, 1990).  This is consistent with the repeated finding that premarital sex is predictive of extramarital sex, which frequently disrupts marriages and leads to divorce (Newcomb and Bentler, 1981). 

Another example of this same imbalance between the extent of sexual involvement and commitment is cohabitation.  Even though many would think that cohabitation would serve as a good test of marital compatibility, there is strong evidence that the later marriages of cohabitors are less stable and satisfactory than those who did not cohabitate prior to marriage (Bennett, Blac, and Bloom, 1988; DeMaris and Leslie, 1984; Janus and Janus, 1993; Trussell and Rao, 1989).  In fact, it was found that the risk of marital dissolutionment was 50% higher for cohabitors than noncohabitors (Balakrishnan, Rao, Lapierre-Adamcyk, and Krotki, 1987).  The notion that this imbalance in the bonding forces led to overlooking potential crucial problems is supported by a study by Booth and Johnson (1988) in which they provide evidence that cohabitors are at risk for marital problems even before they marry.          

The old saying, “love is blind”, has been supported by the research of Waller (1938).  He found that partners tend to idealize each other during courtship.  The P.I.C.K. a Partner Training Program (Premarital Interpersonal Choices & Knowledge) suggests that each partner will have better marital selection judgment when the boundaries of the relationship attachment are kept in a proper balance.  When this does not occur, the premarital closeness will mask salient characteristics of the other person that should be exposed and explored in the premarital process. 

Source: P.I.C.K. (Premarital Interpersonal Choices & Knowledge), a Partner-Selection Education Program. Copyright © John Van Epp, Ph.D., 2003.

The Valley of Love
October 23, 2006

“…and be dissolved in the fire of love. In this city the heaven of ecstasy is upraised and the world-illuming sun of yearning shineth, and the fire of love is ablaze; and when the fire of love is ablaze, it burneth to ashes the harvest of reason. 

Now is the traveler unaware of himself, and of aught besides himself. He seeth neither ignorance nor knowledge, neither doubt nor certitude; he knoweth not the morn of guidance from the night of error. He fleeth both from unbelief and faith, and deadly poison is a balm to him. Wherefore Attár 1 saith: 

For the infidel, error—for the faithful, faith;
For Attár’s heart, an atom of Thy pain. 

The steed of this Valley is pain; and if there be no pain this journey will never end. In this station the lover hath no thought save the Beloved, and seeketh no refuge save the Friend. 9 At every moment he offereth a hundred lives in the path of the Loved One, at every step he throweth a thousand heads at the feet of the Beloved. 

O My Brother! Until thou enter the Egypt of love, thou shalt never come to the Joseph of the Beauty of the Friend; and until, like Jacob, thou forsake thine outward eyes, thou shalt never open the eye of thine inward being; and until thou burn with the fire of love, thou shalt never commune with the Lover of Longing. 

A lover feareth nothing and no harm can come nigh him: Thou seest him chill in the fire and dry in the sea. 

A lover is he who is chill in hell fire;
A knower is he who is dry in the sea. 2 

Love accepteth no existence and wisheth no life: He seeth life in death, and in shame seeketh glory. To merit the madness of love, man must abound in sanity; to merit the bonds of the Friend, he must be full of spirit. Blessed the neck that is caught in His noose, happy the head that falleth on the dust in the pathway of His love. Wherefore, O friend, give up thy self that thou mayest find the Peerless One, pass by this mortal earth that thou mayest seek 10 a home in the nest of heaven. Be as naught, if thou wouldst kindle the fire of being and be fit for the pathway of love. 

Love seizeth not upon a living soul,
The falcon preyeth not on a dead mouse. 3 

Love setteth a world aflame at every turn, and he wasteth every land where he carrieth his banner. Being hath no existence in his kingdom; the wise wield no command within his realm. The leviathan of love swalloweth the master of reason and destroyeth the lord of knowledge. He drinketh the seven seas, but his heart’s thirst is still unquenched, and he saith, “Is there yet any more?” 4 He shunneth himself and draweth away from all on earth. 

Love’s a stranger to earth and heaven too;
In him are lunacies seventy-and-two. 5 

He hath bound a myriad victims in his fetters, wounded a myriad wise men with his arrow. Know that every redness in the world is from 11 his anger, and every paleness in men’s cheeks is from his poison. He yieldeth no remedy but death, he walketh not save in the valley of the shadow; yet sweeter than honey is his venom on the lover’s lips, and fairer his destruction in the seeker’s eyes than a hundred thousand lives. 
Wherefore must the veils of the satanic self be burned away at the fire of love, that the spirit may be purified and cleansed and thus may know the station of the Lord of the Worlds. 

Kindle the fire of love and burn away all things,
Then set thy foot into the land of the lovers. 6 

And if, confirmed by the Creator, the lover escapes from the claws of the eagle of love, he will enter…”

1. Farídu’d-Dín Attár (ca. 1150–1230 A.D.), the great Persian Súfí poet.
2. Persian mystic poem.
3. Persian mystic poem. Cf. The Hidden Words, No. 7, Arabic.
4. Qur’án 50:29.  
5. Jalálu’d-Dín Rúmí (1207–1273 A.D.); The Mathnaví. Jalálu’d-Dín, called Mawláná (“our Master”), is the greatest of all Persian Súfí poets, and founder of the Mawlaví “whirling” dervish order.
6. From an ode by Bahá’u’lláh.

Author: Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet Founder of the Baha’i Faith.

The Love Formula!
October 23, 2006

According to the Clockspring theory, love develops between two people as their relationship progresses through a series of related and mutually reinforcing stages.

Love begins with:

1. Establishment of Rapport (comfy being around).
2. Couple begins to Self-Disclose.
3. Mutual habits and dependency develops.
4. Fulfillment is realized as needs are met.
5. Leads to further rapport and feelings of commitment.
6. More disclosure.
7. More dependency.
8. More fulfillment.
9. Final Commitment!

Author: Delores Borland (1975)

Measuring Romantic Attachment
October 23, 2006

The nature of love has been explored by a number of theorists. According to social psychologist Zick Rubin, romantic love is made up of three elements:

Attachment—The need to be cared for and be with the other person.
Caring—Valuing the other persons happiness and needs as much as your own.
Intimacy—Sharing private thoughts, feelings, and desires with the other person.

Based upon this view of romantic love, Rubin developed two questionnaires to measure these variables. Initially, Rubin identified approximately 80 questions designed to assess the attitudes a person holds about others. The questions were sorted according to whether or not they reflected feelings of liking or loving. These two sets of questions were first administered to 198 undergraduate students and a factor analysis was then conducted.

The results allowed Rubin to identify 13 questions for ‘liking’ and 13 questions for ‘loving’ that were reliable measures of these two variables.

The following examples are similar to some of the questions used in Rubin’s Liking and Loving Scale:

Items Measuring Liking
I feel that _____________ is a very stable person.
I have confidence in ______________’s opinions.

Items Measuring Loving
I feel strong feelings of possessiveness towards ____________.
I like it when __________ confides in me.
I would do almost anything for _____________.

Rubin’s scales of liking and loving provided support for his theory of love. In a study to determine if the scales actually differentiated between liking and loving, Rubin asked a number of participants to fill out his questionnaires based upon how they felt both about their partner and a good friend. The results revealed that good friends scored high on the liking scale, but only significant others rated high on the scales for loving.

Love is not a concrete concept and is therefore difficult to measure. Rubin’s scales of liking and loving offer a way to measure the complex feeling of love.

Rubin, Zick. 1970. “Measurement of Romantic Love,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Volume 16, pages 265-273.

What You Really Want in a Mate
October 23, 2006

One of the keys to healthy mate selection is deciding what type of person you want in your life. In order to determine who will mesh with you to create a brilliant, loving, and long-term relationship, you have to spend some time examining the various human dimensions. In his book Dr. Neil Clark Warren has highlighted ten dimensions for consideration. There is no “right” answer, but it is extremely important that you dedicate some time to establishing your preferences in these ten areas.

1. Intelligence
2. Personality
3. Appearance
4. Ambition
5. Chemistry
6. Spirituality
7. Character
8. Creativity
9. Parenting
10. Authenticity

Dr. Warren asks that you complete one last task. Take the ten traits discussed above and rank them in order of importance to you. It will be difficult to meet someone who is perfect for you in every single category. If you’ve ranked them, you will already know which are essential to you and on which you are willing to compromise.

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