May 08, 2021

Psychological experiment tells you: how to build harmonious interpersonal relationships

Rosenthal, a well-known psychology professor at Harvard University, has concluded through research and conclusions that a harmonious interpersonal relationship must have three elements: mutual attention, common positive emotions, and consistency or synchronization.

These three factors together gave birth to a harmonious relationship.

Professor Rosenthal once described an experiment. In the experiment, the volunteers were divided into two groups. In each group, one person in each group pretended that he had injured a finger, wrapped it with tape, and made it hurt. After a while, they pretended to hurt their fingers again. If their partner was looking directly into their eyes at the time, then the other person would also be frightened and would unconsciously imitate his painful expression. And if their partner doesn’t look into their eyes, then even if they realize that he hurts, they won’t be frightened. When we are not focused, we will ignore some important details. Especially the emotional details. Therefore, looking directly into your partner’s eyes creates the conditions for empathy.

This experiment illustrates the importance of mutual attention, which is an important prerequisite for empathy. Professor Rosenthal was the most popular professor in my department when I was a graduate student in psychology at Harvard. No matter when we look for him, why we look for him, and no matter how anxious we are when we go, when we come out, we will feel that we have found a bosom friend, and our mood will magically improve. He has the ability to elevate the emotions of others, and he is good at spreading calm emotions. This is not surprising, the non-verbal factors that establish harmonious interpersonal relationships are exactly his research topics. A few years later, he and his colleagues published a landmark article explaining how to build harmonious interpersonal relationships.

Another psychological experiment on interpersonal relations is this: In an organization, managers bluntly criticized some volunteers, but his voice and expression were very enthusiastic. It is worth noting that although these people have been criticized, they still find the whole communication process very enjoyable.



More experimental studies have also found a similar situation. Compared with the content conveyed by the communicator, the expression and body language of the communicator leave a deeper impression on the other party.

The third story comes from a local restaurant. There is a waitress in this restaurant, and everyone likes to let her serve. She has a magical ability to form a tacit understanding with customers’ emotions and rhythms. If a frowning customer sits in a corner drinking sullen wine, she will be very quiet and will not bother. But if a group of colleagues talks, laughs, and happily eats lunch, she will become very enthusiastic and outgoing. If you meet young mothers with children, she will immediately become very lively, making faces or telling jokes to these active children. Therefore, she always gets the most tips. This waitress who can perceive the emotions of others embodies the principle: Consistent with the emotions of others will lead to success in interpersonal communication. In communication, the more consistent the subconscious movements and habits of both parties, the better the effect of the communication and the better their impression of each other.

However, research has also found that, contrary to what is written in general bestsellers, deliberately being consistent with others, such as imitating others’ gestures and postures, does not make the relationship harmonious. This mechanical, disguised agreement has no effect. The actual situation is: the more harmonious the emotions of the communicating parties, the more harmonious their feelings will be. Coordination can achieve emotional unity. For example, as the emotions of babies and mothers go from low to high, the happiness they share gradually becomes stronger. Even babies can resonate, which indicates that there is a potential channel in the brain that naturally produces this coordination.