Social relations are a key factor of human development and well-being. At the same time, initiating and maintaining healthy relationships with others in the long run appears notoriously complex. In the RSCL, we aim to gain a better understanding of both spontaneous and deliberate responses that may either promote or impair social relations with others.
Specifically, we use a combination of laboratory and field studies to examine how implicit and explicit evaluations toward significant others, such as our romantic partners in adulthood or our peers in childhood, fluctuate in daily life, the extent to which these two types of evaluations align or diverge from one another as well as why that might be, and the conditions under which each of those may most strongly affect maintenance behaviors that are key for well-functioning and satisfying relationships. Our aim is also to develop and test interventions that may best suited to further understand the factors that foster our fundamental belongingness needs and thus benefit individuals, relationships, and society at large.