What you'll learn

  • Intimate (romantic) relationships and friendships
  • Biological bases of attraction and love
  • Relationship formation and dissolution
  • Relational interaction patterns
  • Social context of relationships (the influence of others)

Course description

This course is an exploration of the psychology of close human relationships. We learn about intimate (romantic) relationships and friendships, and the ways in which these two kinds of relationships interact.

Other kinds of close relationships (family and work relationships, for example) are integrated into the course, and although they are extremely valuable relationships in their own right, they are addressed secondarily to romantic relationships and friendships for the purposes of this course.

Examples of topics include the biological bases of attraction and love, relationship formation and dissolution, relational interaction patterns, relationship satisfaction, and the social context of relationships (the influence of others). Students have an opportunity to explore relationships through readings in the popular press, but ultimately a scholarly, critical examination of the scientific literature serves as the foundation of our learning throughout the course. Students find that the literature contains unexpected findings that can change the way they look at relationships, both from academic and applied, real-life perspectives.


Associated Schools

  • Harvard Division of Continuing Education

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