Close relationships provide a critical context for health. In this Plenary Session, David Sbarra will discuss the evolutionary basis of the relationship-health association, and in particular the central role of perceived partner responsiveness (PPR) as a key interpersonal behavior that maintains high-quality relationships. After reviewing research in this area, he will discuss a growing literature demonstrating myriad ways in which rapid advances in technology are (and have the potential to) disrupt the basic cognition and emotion processing capacities that are required for PPR and for
healthy relationships in general. Throughout, he invokes the idea of a possible looming “evolutionary mismatch” between the modern technological context of relationships — in which attention is often fragmented and shallow — and the ancestral context for and from which many relationship behaviors evolved. How would we know if this mismatch is upon us? What are the potential consequences of this mismatch? Can technology itself prevent the mismatch? Sbarra will tackle some of the questions and suggest that psychological science has much to offer how we monitor humanity’s progress in this important area.

David Sbarra, PhD

University of Arizona

David Sbarra, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Arizona where he directs the Laboratory for Social Connectedness and Health. His research focuses on understanding why close … MORE