Value Similarity and Romantic Relationships: The Differential Roles of Explicit and Implicit Personal Values
Starting Date
Expected Completion Date
Principal Investigator
Dr. YE Shengquan Sam

Romantic relationships have significant implications on health and well-being at both individual and societal levels. Previous research has suggested that couple similarity in various aspects (e.g., ethnicity, religious belief, and personality) is positively related to the development of romantic relationships. Little is known, however, about the role of couple similarity in core beliefs such as personal values. Built upon dual-process theories, which differentiates between explicit processes (i.e., involves slow, deliberative, and controlled thinking and responses) and implicit processes (i.e., involves fast, intuitive, and automatic thinking and responses), the current project endeavors to disentangle the roles of explicit and implicit personal values during early stages of romantic relationships. Study I examines whether and how similarity in explicit and implicit values may affect initial romantic attraction to potential partners among single people. Participants will complete both explicit and implicit measures of personal values. Perceived attractiveness towards potential partners, which have been linked with different values in a training session, will be assessed by both explicit and implicit measures. The unique effects of explicit and implicit personal values on explicit and implicit attraction will be estimated by cross-lagged modeling and compared by equality constrains. Study II examines whether and how similarity in explicit and implicit values may affect relationship satisfaction among dating couples. Similar to Study I, both explicit and implicit measures will be employed to measure personal values and relationship satisfaction. The explicit and implicit values between the dating couples will be used to predict relationship satisfaction using response surface analysis (RSA), which is a versatile tool in examining similarity effects.Study III is a longitudinal study to examine how similarity in explicit and implicit values is related to the development of dating relationships over time. Findings from this study would substantiate the findings from the previous two studies in a real-life setting and, more importantly, further clarify the directionality of the effects. Latent change modeling will be used to analyze how the initial levels and subsequent changes in explicit and implicit value similarity and relationship satisfaction are related to each other and the effects will be compared by equality constrains. Upon successful completion, findings from the current project would contribute not only to research on personal values and dual-process theories, but to practices regarding the development and maintenance of romantic relationships.