March 11, 2015

Professors explore how adults form attachments

book of love cover

A new publication from two Cornell psychologists is an academic’s take on human bonding: “Bases of Adult Attachment: Linking Brain, Mind and Behavior” (Springer, 2015).

The book is edited by Vivian Zayas, associate professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences, and Cindy Hazan, professor of human development in the College of Human Ecology. Hazan and Zayas both have chapters in the book.

Zayas conducts research into the cognitive-affective processes that regulate behaviors in close relationships. She is affiliated with the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics and Decision Research and the Personality, Attachment and Control Laboratory, and is co-editor (with Valerie Reyna, Human Development) of the 2014 book, “The Neuroscience of Risky Decision Making.”

Hazan says her work on the topic began before most of today’s undergraduates were born, publishing a 1987 journal article titled “Romantic Love Conceptualized as an Attachment Process.” Since then more than a dozen books and edited volumes by other academics have focused on the notion of adult romantic attachment. The new book, Zayas and Hazan explain, is unique in its emphasis on normative processes and the development of romantic attachment bonds.

When she’s not writing and editing or conducting research in her adult attachment lab, Hazan teaches the popular Human Bonding course, leading 600 undergrads each spring through the scholarly exploration of love, sex, marriage, dating and matters of adult romantic attachment. As one College of Engineering student wrote in an evaluation of the course: “It’s great to be getting credit for thinking about the things I’m thinking about all the time anyway.”

Co-authors are from McGill University, Canada; University of Virginia; Weill Cornell Medical College; University of Utah; University of Minnesota; University of Washington; Bilkent University, Turkey; University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; Deakin University, Australia; and University of Kansas.