University of Rochester psychology professor Harry Reis says it's important for us to have "real understanding" in our closest relationships so that others know who we are and will, in turn, be caring, validating, and accepting.
And as Reis puts it, "With all the stresses and tensions that we're experiencing today, there's an even greater need to connect with people."
In his research, Reis investigates some of the psychological processes that affect the course and conduct of close relationships, with a particular focus on intimacy, attachment, and emotion regulation.
In any close relationship, Reis says it's important to put aside presumptions of what the other is thinking or feeling, and, instead, listen to what that person is actually saying.
Reis points out that understanding has value beyond intimate relationships. For example, he says medical care works better when patients feel doctors are truly listening. "It's also important in the classroom. Students are more likely to succeed when they feel their teachers understand them and their priorities."
Harry Reis Professor of Psychology and Dean's Professor in Arts, Sciences, and Engineering
Professor Harry Reis' research interests involve social interaction and close relationships.