John E. Lydon
Address: 2001 McGill College Avenue, Montreal, H3A1G1
Now more than ever before, we are bombarded with information about other people, providing us with countless opportunities to compare ourselves, the people around us (including our close others such as family members, friends, and romantic partners), and our relationships. How do these comparisons affect our relationships? How do they change the way we see ourselves and the important people in our lives? My program of research explores the impact of these comparisons in the context of close relationships. More recently, I have begun to examine how comparing one’s partner to another person may affect how individuals see alternative romantic partners.
How do specific relationships become part of your identity? How does identifying with your relationship affect how you cope with relationship threats? Broadly, I’m interested in the antecedents and consequences of identifying with a specific close relationship (i.e., relationship identification). In my first line of research, I examine what relational experiences cause specific relationships to become a core aspect of people’s identity. More specifically, I investigate how feeling understood by one’s friend or romantic partner affects the degree to which people identify with their relationship with that particular friend or romantic partner. In my second line of research, I examine how relationship identification influences how people respond to various relationship threats (e.g., attractive alternatives, partner transgressions, value dissimilarity between partners). My work in this area suggests that individuals higher in relationship identification are more negatively affected by negative relationship events such as partner transgressions (e.g., Auger, Menzies-Toman, & Lydon, 2017); however, they are also better equipped to deal with these threats (e.g., Auger et al., 2017; Auger, Hurley, & Lydon, 2016) than those lower in identification. Finally, I’m also interested in how motivation, in the form of relationship identification, interacts with self-regulation ability (e.g., inhibitory control) to influence responses to relationship threats in the moment (e.g., keeping an attractive alternative at bay).
My main research interest lies in examining social perception in close relationships. More specifically, I am is interested in investigating how a perceiver’s motives may shape the perception of a target of interest. For instance, how do relationship maintenance motives influence perception of attractive alternatives, who present a threat to one’s romantic relationship?
My overall research interests lie within the area of close relationships. More specifically, I am interested in examining intimate relationships from a developmental perspective. I am currently investigating what motivates individuals to seek out, maintain, or leave their romantic relationships, and how different bases of motivation may differentially influence relationship processes and well-being.
My research focuses on disentangling the process of social support in friendships. I am specifically interested in predicting what constitutes effective support between two friends – in other words, the elements that must be present in a supportive interaction to reduce psychological distress. In an ongoing observational and longitudinal study, I aim to predict changes in psychological well-being over time, from (1) relational variables (e.g., friendship quality), and (2) explicit and nonverbal behaviors observed during a social support interaction between two friends.