Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Interpersonal Compatibility Concept

Interpersonal compatibility is a concept that describes the long-term interaction between two or more individuals in terms of the ease and comfort of communication. Individuals from similar backgrounds and similar goals in life do extremely well in relationships, while people with different aims, attitudes, thought processes find it more difficult to adjust and hence tend to fail carrying the interpersonal relationship to the next level.

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Existing concepts

Although various concepts of interpersonal compatibility have existed from ancient times (for example, Plato's Lysis), no general theory of interpersonal compatibility has been proposed in psychology. Existing concepts are contradictory in many details, beginning with the central point—whether compatibility is caused by matching psychological parameters or by their complementarity. At the same time, the idea of interpersonal compatibility is analyzed in non-scientific fields, as, for example Astrological compatibility.

Among existing psychological tools for studying and/or measuring interpersonal compatibility, the following are noteworthy:
  • A test of interpersonal compatibility proposed by Timothy Leary.
  • Three-factor hypothesis (inclusion, control, and affection/openness) by William Schutz (further developed into FIRO-B questionnaire).
  • Hans Jurgen Eysenck's hypothesis on compatibility between temperaments.
  • Social psychological research on similarity of interests and attitudes.
  • Compatibility test pamphlets of the 1930s and early computer dating of the 1950s, developed by George W. Crane.
  • Hypothesis of compatibility between personality attitudes by Russell Ackoff and Frederick Edmund Emery.
  • DMO tool by Lyudmila Sobchik (DMO stands for Interpersonal relations diagnostics, Russian: диагностика межличностных отношений).

Socionics has proposed a theory of intertype relationships between psychological types based on a modified version of C.G. Jung's theory of psychological types. Communication between types is described using the concept of information metabolism proposed by Antoni Kępiński. However, socionic theory is somewhat controversial because of a lack of experimental data.

Alternative hypotheses of intertype relationships were later proposed by adherents of MBTI (D. Keirsey's hypothesis of compatibility between Keirsey temperaments, an intertype relationships chart by Joe Butt and Marina Margaret Heiss, LoveTypes by Alexander Avila and some other theories). Neither of these hypotheses are commonly accepted in the Myers–Briggs type theory.

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The following problems may be reasons for the absence of a theory of psychological compatibility:
  • Lack of generally accepted criteria for measuring compatibility ("degrees of compatibility").
  • The terms compatibility and matching, although not identical, are often confused in common speech (the first rather comprises complementarity and the second similarity of partners).
  • The field's unclear status in social science (the problem may belong to social psychology, sociology, personality psychology etc.)
  • Different psychological theories propose different parameters of personality, but only few of them are generally accepted among psychologists (e.g. cognitive styles); still, even generally accepted criteria may be irrelevant to interpersonal compatibility.
  • Some, if not all personality parameters (even genetically determined ones), may change over time and/or due to interpersonal interaction.
  • The non-traditional view of psychological dependency, which is not considered drug dependency, but rather a need (unilateral or mutual) for somebody else's psychological support that one cannot or can hardly provide by him/herself.

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Astrological compatibility

Astrological compatibility (synastry) is the branch of astrology that studies relationships by comparing natal horoscopes. A natal horoscope is a chart, map, or imaginary snapshot of the planets in the Solar System and their positions in the zodiac at the exact time of a person's birth. The signs of the Zodiac represent 12 different types of spiritual energy and purpose. The planets in the Solar System are associated with at least one, but most often two signs of the zodiac.

Relationships between planets, signs (types of energy), and houses (sectors of the chart) are described in words and /or often rated in numbers to show to what degree, how, and in what ways one person is compatible or incompatible with another. The assessment is based on the patterns and distributions of energy in the respective and combined charts.

Compatibility between Zodiac signs is always approached within a particular branch of astrological tradition: Chinese astrology, Western astrology or Vedic astrology.

Astrology is generally considered a pseudoscience by the scientific community and what little statistical evidence that does exist has failed to find a correlation between astrological compatibility and real world consequences.

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