JOHN GOTTMAN'S LOVE LABORATORY

John Gottman was born on October 26, 1942 in Germany. He is the director of the Relationship Institute in Seattle and a professor emeritus of Psychology at the University of Washington. After completing his undergraduate and graduate studies in psychology at Case Western Reserve University, he received his doctorate from the University of Colorado. Gottman was interested in mathematics and physics before specializing in marriage and family therapy. In the late 1970s, he began working as a professor of psychology at the University of Washington, where he focused on long-term marriage research. Based on his interest in the field of psychophysiology, he received his doctorate in clinical psychology at the University of Wisconsin in 1971. Gottman, who specializes in marriage and family therapy, is known for his work on understanding and strengthening relationships between couples.

Feb 8, 2024 - 10:02
Feb 12, 2024 - 16:54
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JOHN GOTTMAN'S LOVE LABORATORY
JOHN GOTTMAN'S LOVE LABORATORY

One of John Gottman's most important contributions to the field was the "Theory of the Four Houses", which aimed to understand the interactions between couples. This theory consists of four main components: walls (criticism), moat (defense), tower (walling) and bridge (connection) and was developed by John Gottman. In line with long-term research studies, it has been observed that all 4 components reflect behavioral attitudes that may lead to the end of the existing relationship. These components are also known as the four horsemen of the apocalypse. This theory covers important concepts regarding its effects on the health of a relationship. Gottman also developed the "Seven Principles of Satisfying Relationships," which describe negative interaction patterns often encountered in marriages. He discussed these principles in detail in the book he wrote. In short, the principles include elements such as emotional commitment, friendship, conflict resolution skills and mutual understanding.

 John Gottman's work in couples therapy and relationship counseling has had a broad impact on finding solutions to problems in marriages, allowing him to become an authority in the field. Approximately forty years ago, a team was formed and a laboratory was established by John Gottman and Robert Levenson to conduct research on marriage and divorce. After a while, the laboratory began to be called the Love Laboratory. In the Love Laboratory, answers to some basic questions are provided. The questions sought to be answered by Gottman are as follows: "Can we predict who will divorce and who will continue their marriage?" and “What makes relationships last?”. To carry out the first study, 130 newly married couples were reached. In this laboratory, couples do what they do in daily life. While eating, doing their hobbies, talking to each other, in short, every activity they do, they are watched by cameras and video recordings in the flat. In addition, devices for ECG imaging were carried on each individual. Urine samples were taken from the couples every time they went to the toilet to analyze their stress hormones. In addition, individuals' blood circulation rate, general somatic activities and skin conductance, which is the electrical change of the skin depending on sweat secretion, were also monitored (Anlatan, 2021).

 The team monitored and coded individuals' body languages, vital activities and facial expressions through these cameras. In addition, a blood sample was taken from each couple after a night in the laboratory to check their hormones and immune systems. In this study, approximately two-hour interviews with couples were also conducted. Interviews constituted the important part of the research. During these interviews, the couples were asked many detailed questions, such as how they met, their first impressions of each other, why they chose each other, how they decided to be together, how their relationship progressed, the things they enjoyed doing together, how their relationship changed over the years, the difficult times they went through, the things that kept them together , the methods they use to get through difficult times, their views on each other in difficult times, marriage ceremonies, honeymoon holidays, beliefs about the relationship, definitions of good and bad relationships, important dates and events in their relationships, important developments, losses, stressful situations (Narrator, 2021. pp:75). Throughout the interview, individuals' tone of voice, the words they choose, their gestures and facial expressions, and their positive and negative emotions are monitored and recorded. Finally, Gottman asked the couples to argue about a topic and watched them (Anlatan, 2021. p. 75).

 When the results of the large-scale research were examined, it was predicted correctly with a rate of 94% which couple would divorce and which couple would continue their marriage. In the first study, it was predicted that 15 out of 130 couples would divorce within seven years. Follow-up studies revealed that 17 couples, including these predicted couples, were divorced. In the following years, Gottman and Levenson continued their work in the Love Laboratory and obtained data from more than 3000 couples. Gottman states that after more than seven studies, he was able to predict which couple would stay married and which would divorce, with a 91% success rate, through approximately 15-minute interviews with couples (Anlatan, 2021. pp: 76).

 Studies conducted over the years have examined not only newlyweds, but also those who are preparing to have children, those who have children, and couples in their 40s and 60s. Throughout these studies, couples were followed longitudinally for a long time in terms of important milestones in their lives such as becoming parents, middle age, and retirement (Anlatan, 2021.ss:76).

 In addition to these studies, families with children were also examined in the Love Laboratory. When couples have children, both parent-child interactions and the child's emotional, cognitive, behavioral and social development have been tracked. Gottman states that the quality of the marital relationship has a direct impact on the child. Studies conducted in the laboratory have shown that the adrenaline hormone found in the urine test taken from the child is directly related to the quality of the parents' relationship; It has been shown that the worse the relationship, the more the hormone level increases (Anlatan, 2021.ss:76).

 It is known that the Love Laboratory was later established in other universities. Similar results were found in these laboratories and the consistency of the study was proven. Studies conducted over the years have turned into longitudinal studies. Thanks to methods such as observation, self-report and examination of physiological data, very successful results have been achieved regarding both couples' relationship satisfaction and relationship stability.

Thanks to methods such as observation, self-report and examination of physiological data, very successful results have been achieved regarding both couples' relationship satisfaction and relationship stability. Gottman and Schwartz stated that the findings of this study have three main results: 1) an understanding of how relationships work or fail, 2) predicting the adaptation of newlyweds to transitions such as parenthood, middle age and retirement, and 3) equations for mathematical modeling of marital interaction. In their later studies, Gottman and his colleagues created nonlinear mathematical modeling and equations of love. Based on all these findings, John Gottman and Julie Schwartz Gottman developed a theory that includes psychoeducational, preventive and therapeutic interventions on how relationships succeed or fail. They also explained the equations in detail in their book titled Mathematics of Marriage (Anlatan, 2021.ss: 77).

 Known for his successes in marriage and couples therapy, Gottman has also written more than forty books and nearly 200 articles. He also has books written together with his teammates. His works such as "The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work" and "Why Marriages Succeed or Fail" have reached a wide readership. With his deep, surprising knowledge of marriage and relationships, John Gottman provides couples with a resource for building healthy, sustainable relationships.

References

Anlatan, Ö. deneye dayalı bir yaklaşım: Gottman çift Terapisi. Aile Psikolojik Danışmanlığı Dergisi.4:1. 74-93.

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Ebrar Koku Merhaba, ben Ebrar Koku. Ankara Yıldırım Beyazıt üniversitesinde Psikoloji bölümünde öğrenciyim, 3üncü sınıfım. Çeviri yapmak benim için bir hobi sayılabilir, ilgi çekici ve bilgilendirici konularda yazılan makaleleri sizler için çevirmekten mutluluk duyuyorum. İyi okumalar :)