Interdependent Minds

The Dynamics of Close Relationships

Sandra L. Murray and John G. Holmes
Foreword by Harry T. Reis

Hardcovere-bookprint + e-book
January 25, 2011
ISBN 9781609180768
Price: $59.00
402 Pages
Size: 6" x 9"
August 3, 2011
ePub ?
Price: $59.00
402 Pages
print + e-book
Hardcover + e-Book (ePub) ?
Price: $64.90
402 Pages

Why do some marriages grow stronger in the face of conflict or stress while others dissolve? In this book, two pioneering researchers present a groundbreaking theory of how mutually responsive behaviors emerge—or fail to emerge—in relationships. Illustrating their findings through the vivid stories of four diverse couples, the authors explore how conscious considerations interact with unconscious impulses to foster trust and commitment. Compelling topics include why marriages have such different personalities and what makes partners truly compatible. Also discussed are implications of the model for helping couples sustain satisfying relationships and improve troubled ones.

“This book is the result of the authors' numerous psychological studies into the nature of long term relationships....The model which the authors have set up is surprisingly flexible and can cope with different individual personalities as well as different relationship personalities....Anyone interested professionally in the study of love or related emotions will find the book stimulating.”

Metapsychology Online Reviews

“Regardless of the type of close relationship in which they are interested, readers from nearly any discipline should find plenty in Interdependent Minds to stimulate their thinking and efforts at theory-testing and research design. The conceptual model they articulate here is so rich and its applications and extensions so varied that it cannot help but inspire other scholarsperhaps even generations of scholarsto join Murray and Holmes in their efforts to further investigate the processes and mechanisms proposed…. A definite ‘must read’ for researchers, theorists, and practitioners who want to understand what makes some close relationships successful and others unsuccessful. In addition, it would serve as an excellent text for use in a graduate-level close relationships course. It might also prove useful as a text in an upper-year undergraduate interpersonal relationships course.”

Journal of Social Psychology

“An excellent selection for a graduate course that focuses on close relationships. A definite strength of Interdependent Minds is its comprehensiveness. The proposed model of interdependence represents a holistic approach to understanding mutual responsiveness in relationships. Additionally, an array of prominent constructs in contemporary relationships such as trust, attachment, and passionate love, are addressed in relation to the model....The layout of the chapters and topics is well organized and easy to follow....This text also is a very inviting and entertaining read. The use of fictional couples to illustrate the material helps to draw the reader in....This book contains valuable insight for anyone interested in the study of close relationships.”


“This book is terrific. The authors—established masters of interdependence theory—express that theory well, then leap forward to articulate a truly new theory of interdependent minds. They draw on important work on cognition, consciousness, levels of processing, and trust to give us new perspectives on responsiveness in close relationships. This book is serious science, clearly written. It is a perfect book to assign in a seminar on relationships or to put on a required reading list for social psychology graduate students. We need this sort of book to convey the nature of the very best work going on in our field.”

—Margaret S. Clark, PhD, Department of Psychology, Yale University

“Here is the eagerly awaited book on close relationships by two brilliant, trailblazing scholars. It is full of evocative, thought-provoking stories about the struggles and clashes of real couples, as well as profound new insights into why relationships succeed and fail. This book is the culmination of decades of systematic, disciplined research. If you want to know what modern psychological science has to teach about the complexities of intimate relationships, read this book first.”

—Roy F. Baumeister, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Queensland, Australia

“Personal relationships are the most important part of our lives, and involve the most basic human motivations and emotions. Murray and Holmes provide a detailed presentation of the best current research on how relationship processes operate, often outside of our conscious awareness, so that we can be unaware at any given moment of exactly why we feel or act the ways we do. This book provides readers with a careful, objective, scientific road map to their interpersonal hearts and minds.”

—John A. Bargh, PhD, James Rowland Angell Professor of Psychology, Yale University

“This is not just a book for researchers. In the current climate of seemingly impermeable boundaries between scientific research and clinical practice, the authors plainly aim to keep the real-world implications of their model and research on the front burner. Clinicians will find countless ideas that clarify problematic behaviors once considered inscrutable or dismissed as pathologies and numerous insights and suggestions for helping clients understand and improve their relationships.”

—from the Foreword by Harry T. Reis, PhD, Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in Psychology, University of Rochester

“Grounding their conclusions in the best and latest scientific theory and research, Murray and Holmes take the reader on a very interesting journey through the ups and downs of close relationships. They do a wonderful job of unpacking and explaining how and why events that occur in relationships influence the ways partners think, feel, and behave. It is refreshing to see such a readable, practical work grounded so squarely in solid scientific principles and data. Would make a great supplemental text for courses on intimate relationships.”

—Jeffry A. Simpson, PhD, Distinguished University Teaching Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, University of Minnesota

“Reading this book is so enjoyable that you don’t realize until the end that Murray and Holmes have quietly revolutionized relationship science. Experts and novices alike will delight in the flow of the narrative and the depth of the insight. The authors’ expansive theory, which integrates a vast literature and offers countless new ideas, is an inspiration; it will serve as the framework that launched a thousand studies.”

—Eli J. Finkel, PhD, Department of Psychology and Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

Table of Contents

Foreword, Harry T. Reis

1. Motivating Responsiveness: Why a Smart Relationship Unconscious?

2. Procedural Rules for Responsiveness: The Motivation-Management Model

3. Trust: When to Approach?

4. Commitment: How Close a Connection?

5. The Situational Risks: Seek Connection or Avoid Rejection?

6. The Rules for Seeking Connection: Increase and Justify Own Dependence

7. The Rules for Avoiding Rejection: Withhold Own and Promote Partner Dependence

8. Relationship Personality: Making Certain Rules a Habit

9. Being Swept Away: How Passionate Love Makes It Natural to Connect.

10. Being Mowed Over: How Real Life Makes It Natural to Self-Protect

11. How the Person, the Pairing, and the Context Make (or Break) Relationships

12. A Practical Guide for Relationships

About the Authors

Sandra L. Murray, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University at Buffalo, The State University of New York. She has received numerous awards for her scholarship, including the Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contributions to Psychology from the American Psychological Association, the Theoretical Innovation Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, the Early Career Award from the International Society for Self and Identity, and the New Contribution Award from the International Association for Relationship Research. Dr. Murray’s research has been supported by grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Science Foundation.

John G. Holmes, PhD, is Professor of Psychology at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. He has received numerous awards for his scholarship and teaching, including a University Research Chair, the Mentoring Award from the International Association for Relationship Research, the Theoretical Innovation Award from the Society of Personality and Social Psychology, and the New Contribution Award from the International Association for Relationship Research. Dr. Holmes’s research has been supported by grants from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.


Social and personality psychologists; also of interest to clinical psychologists and other clinicians who work with couples.

Course Use

May serve as a text in graduate-level courses on close relationships.