hero image
Harry Reis - University of Rochester. Rochester, NY, US

Harry Reis Harry Reis

Professor of Psychology and Dean's Professor in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering | University of Rochester


Professor Harry Reis' research interests involve social interaction and close relationships.


Areas of Expertise (5)

Marriage and Close Relationships Health and Psychological Well Being Social interaction Intimacy Emotion Regulation



Harry Reis Publication Harry Reis Publication Harry Reis Publication Harry Reis Publication Harry Reis Publication Harry Reis Publication



loading image Psychologist Harry Reis puts human relationships under the microscope. loading image loading image


The Mars vs. Venus Theory of the Sexes Comes Back to Earth



Professor Reis' research interests involve social interaction and close relationships. He studies the factors that influence the quantity and closeness of social interaction, and the consequences of different patterns of socializing for health and psychological well-being. In his research, subjects keep detailed records on their on-going social interaction. These are tabulated by computer and related to various factors such as sex role, health, and emotional well-being.

Professor Reis also looks at the psychological processes that affect the course and conduct of close relationships. He is particularly interested in intimacy, attachment, and emotion regulation.

Education (3)

New York University: Ph.D., Social-Personality Psychology 1975

New York University: M.A., Social-Personality Psychology 1972

City College of New York: B.S., Psychology 1970

Affiliations (2)

  • Council for International Exchange of Scholars : Fulbright Scholars Discipline Review Committee
  • Foundation for Personality and Social Psychology : Board member

Selected Media Appearances (7)

How to be better at online dating, according to psychology

NBC  online


Online dating isn't for the faint of heart or those easily discouraged, says Harry Reis, PhD, Professor of Psychology and Dean's Professor in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering, at University of Rochester. “There's the old saying that you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a prince — and I think that really applies to online dating.”

Reis studies social interactions and the factors that influence the quantity and closeness of our relationships. He coauthored a 2012 review article that analyzed how psychology can explain some of the online dating dynamics.

view more

How To Protect Your Well-Being From The Dangers Of Stress

Forbes  online


You know the travel drill. As soon as the flight crew closes the airplane’s doors, the flight attendants start the pre-flight safety demonstration showing what to do in the event of a decompression.

But what do you do when you’re on the ground and the pressure increases? For many of us, dealing with spikes in our stress level — both positive and negative — is a daily occurrence, even when both of our feet are firmly planted on the ground.

view more

There's more evidence to suggest playing it cool is the worst idea if you really like someone

Business Insider  online


When you first start dating someone, at least one of your friends will tell you to "play it cool." It's a piece of advice that's almost as old as dating itself, and it's based on the idea that if you act like you're not really eager for the relationship, you suddenly become irresistible.

view more

Knowing someone is attracted to you really DOES make them more desirable, researchers find

The Daily Mail U.K.  print


He's just not that into you - or is he?

New research from the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya and the University of Rochester has found that uncertainty about a potential partner's romantic interest in you could cause you to find them less sexually attractive.

While some scientists have argued that uncertainty only adds to sexual appeal, six interrelated studies suggest otherwise.

view more

Are you really into me? Uncertainty dampens sexual attractiveness of a possible partner

ScienceDaily  online


Those who feel greater certainty that a prospective romantic partner reciprocates their interest will put more effort into seeing that person again, while rating the possible date as more sexually attractive than they would if they were less certain about the prospective date's romantic intentions.

view more

Random Acts of Kindness Make Marriages Happier

TIME  online


Doing something nice for your spouse can boost your emotional well being, according to a new study—even if he or she isn’t aware of your good deed.

The research, published in the journal Emotion, provides scientific evidence that it really is better to give than to receive, say the authors. They also say it supports a hypothesis put forth by Tenzin Gyatso, the current Dalai Lama, that “compassionate concern for others’ welfare enhances one’s own affective state.”

view more

'Tis better to give, to your spouse

ScienceDaily  online


The emotional benefits of compassionate acts are significant for the giver, whether or not the recipient is even aware of the act, psychologists have found.

view more

Selected Event Appearances (5)

Eclipsing Mars and Venus: Implications of a dimensional view of sex differences

Science Teachers Association of New York State  Rochester, NY


The science of interpersonal relationships

Distinguished lectures, Universidad El Bosque  Bogotá, Colombia


The science of friendship and marriage

One-Day University  New York, NY


Online dating: A critical analysis from the perspective of psychological science

Phelps Colloquium Series  University of Rochester


Responsiveness: Affective interdependence in close relationships

Fifth Herzliya Symposium on Personality and Social Psychology  Herzliya, Israel


Selected Articles (5)

Does support need to be seen? Daily invisible support promotes next day relationship well-being. Journal of Family Psychology

Grime, Y. U., Maniaci, M. R., Reis, H. T., McNulty, J. K., Carmichael, C. L., Gable, S. L., Baker, L. R., Overall, N. C.


Direct and overt visible support promotes recipients' relationship satisfaction but can also exacerbate negative mood. In contrast, subtle and indirect invisible support can bypass costs to mood, but it is unclear whether it undermines or boosts relationship satisfaction. Because invisible support is not perceived by recipients, its relational impact may be delayed across time. Thus, the current research used three dyadic daily diary studies (total N = 322 married couples) to explore, for the first time, both the immediate (same day) and lagged (next day) effects of visible and invisible support on recipients' mood and relationship satisfaction. Consistent with prior research, visible support was associated with recipients reporting greater relationship satisfaction and greater anxiety the same day. In contrast, but also consistent with prior research, invisible support had no significant same-day effects, and thus avoided mood costs. Nevertheless, invisible support was associated with recipients reporting greater relationship satisfaction the next day. Study 3 provided evidence that such effects emerged because invisible support was also associated with greater satisfaction with partners' helpful behaviors (e.g., household chores) and relationship interactions (e.g., time spent together) on the next day. These studies demonstrate the importance of assessing different temporal effects associated with support acts (which may otherwise go undetected) and provide the first evidence that invisible support enhances relationship satisfaction but does so across days.

view more

Perceived partner responsiveness promotes intellectual humility Journal of Experimental Social Psychology

Reis, H. T., Lee, K. Y., O'Keefe, S. D., Clark, M. S.


The relatively novel construct of intellectual humility describes people's tendency to be open-minded and non-defensive when appraising oneself and one's beliefs. Although intellectual humility describes an intrapersonal style of processing information, we theorize that it also has interpersonal roots. This article describes four experiments and one daily-diary study examining the impact of perceived partner responsiveness and unresponsiveness on two manifestations of intellectual humility, lesser self-serving bias and openness to novel information that may contradicting existing beliefs. Studies 1–3 indicated that three well-established examples of self-serving bias—the tendency to rate oneself as better than an average peer, overclaiming personal responsibility for shared household activities, and hindsight bias—were strengthened when people were induced to perceive their partners as unresponsive, but weakened when they were led to perceive their partners as responsive. Study 4, a daily-diary study, demonstrated similar effects of everyday perceptions of responsiveness on hindsight bias, and also found that people reported having been more open to considering alternative, potentially conflicting points of view when they felt that their social environment was responsive to them. Finally, Study 5 found that perceived partner responsiveness led people to adopt a broader perspective. Together, these studies point to perceptions of responsiveness and unresponsiveness as one factor that lessens and intensifies, respectively, openness and non-defensiveness.

view more

Perceived Partner Responsiveness Scale (PPRS) The Sourcebook of Listening Research: Methodology and Measures

Reis, H. T., Crasta, D., Rogge, R. D., Maniaci, M. R., & Carmichael, C. L.


The PPRS is a measure of people's perceptions of their relationship partners' responsiveness to themselves.

view more

Men and Women Are From Earth: Examining the Latent Structure of Gender Journal of Personality and Social Psychology

Carothers, B. J., & Reis, H. T.


Taxometric methods enable determination of whether the latent structure of a construct is dimensional or taxonic (nonarbitrary categories). Although sex as a biological category is taxonic, psychological gender differences have not been examined in this way. The taxometric methods of mean above minus below a cut, maximum eigenvalue, and latent mode were used to investigate whether gender is taxonic or dimensional. Behavioral measures of stereotyped hobbies and physiological characteristics (physical strength, anthropometric measurements) were examined for validation purposes, and were taxonic by sex. Psychological indicators included sexuality and mating (sexual attitudes and behaviors, mate selectivity, sociosexual orientation), interpersonal orientation (empathy, relational-interdependent self-construal), gender-related dispositions (masculinity, femininity, care orientation, unmitigated communion, fear of success, science inclination, Big Five personality), and intimacy (intimacy prototypes and stages, social provisions, intimacy with best friend). Constructs were with few exceptions dimensional, speaking to Spence’s (1993) gender identity theory. Average differences between men and women are not under dispute, but the dimensionality of gender indicates that these differences are inappropriate for diagnosing gender-typical psychological variables on the basis of sex.

view more

Online Dating: A Critical Analysis From the Perspective of Psychological Science Psychological Science in the Public Interest

Finkel, E. J., Eastwick, P. W., Karney, B. R., Reis, H. T., & Sprecher, S.


Online dating sites frequently claim that they have
fundamentally altered the dating landscape for the better. This article employs psychological science to examine (a) whether online dating is fundamentally different from conventional offline dating and (b) whether online dating promotes better romantic outcomes than conventional offline dating. The answer to the first question (uniqueness) is yes, and the answer to the second question (superiority) is yes and no.

view more