Psychology Professor Uses Miley, Kim and Kanye to Explain Relationships


HIGH POINT, N.C., Aug. 22, 2014 – Dr. Sadie Leder Elder, assistant professor of psychology, used Miley Cyrus and Kim Kardashian as her inspiration for two articles published on the Science of Relationship website.

The first article, “Dear Miley, You’re Doing It Wrong,” discusses communication tactics in relationships, and that using force, “like a wrecking ball,” to “break down walls” may not be the best way to get a point across.

“Partners want to feel validated and supported,” says Elder. “While ‘hitting hard’ and ‘using force’ to get what you want may work occasionally, it can ultimately undermine feelings of trust and respect.”

In the second article, “Now it’s Kim and Kanye Sitting in a Tree,” Elder examines the phenomena of implicit egotism. Basically, Kim and Kanye may be more attracted to each other because they have the same initial, K.

“Essentially, this theory states that people have relatively positive feelings about themselves and that these unconscious preferences extend to things that are associated with the self, like our own name-letter initials,” says Elder. “These preferences may impact everything from who you marry, where you live and even what you buy. Researchers have found that when a product’s price shares either name-letters or birthday-numbers with a consumer, those consumers show greater purchase intentions.”

Elder has been a staff writer for the Science of Relationships website since 2011. In that time, she has used her background as a social psychologist to write articles that draw connections between research on romantic relationships and real life.

You can view Elder’s articles on the Science of Relationships website: “Miley, You’re Doing it Wrong” at and “Now it’s Kim and Kanye Sitting in a Tree: Implicit Egotism Strikes Again” at

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