We argue that people possess implicit evaluations of close others and that dependency regulation processes moderate these implicit evaluations. Study 1 revealed that implicit evaluations of romantic partners for people with high explicit self-esteem were not contingent on how things were currently going in their relationships. In contrast, the implicit evaluations of romantic partners for people with low explicit self-esteem were contingent on how things were currently going in their relationships. That is, people with low self-esteem liked their partners’ name letters only if the relationship was currently going well. Study 2 revealed a conceptually similar pattern of results for implicit evaluations of people’s best friends. We suggest that these findings reflect an unconscious form of dependency regulation.
DeHart, T., Pelham, B., & Murray, S. (2004). Implicit Dependency Regulation: Self-Esteem, Relationship Closeness, and Implicit Evaluations of Close Others. Social Cognition, 22(1), 126-146. doi:10.1521/soco.18.104.22.168986
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