Monday, January 25, 2010

The "Michelangelo Effect"

Partners Sculpt Each Other to Achieve Their Ideal Selves: If Successful, Relationship Goes Well

The Michelangelo studies show that close partners sculpt one another's traits and skills and promote, versus inhibit, one another's goal achievement. "It's not just that you treat me positively," Finkel said. "You treat me in particular ways that dovetail with my ideal self."

Just as the sculptor chisels, carves and polishes away flaws in the stone to reveal the ideal form, so do skillful partners support their loved ones' dreams, aspirations and the traits they hope to develop, such as completing medical school or becoming more fluent in a second language or more sociable.

Supporting a partner's image of his ideal self, whether it is a vague yearning or a clearly articulated mental representation, helps the loved one reduce the discrepancy between the actual self and the ideal self.

This totally makes sense to me, since I am more of the school that people adjust and grow towards each other versus one person is perfect for another.

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