A theory of romantic relationships should explain why and how they develop, why they succeed, and why they fail. Mental mechanisms of individual thinking and social mechanisms of verbal and nonverbal communication provide a start to answering these questions. The semantic pointer theory of emotions explains central emotions such as love, trust, and commitment. It suggests a way of understanding the interactions between people as transfer and eliciting of emotions by verbal and nonverbal communication. The shaping of interpersonal interactions by unconscious rules fits well with the semantic pointer accommodation of multimodal rules that employ nonverbal perceptions and emotions. Many of the rules that help to generate and maintain relationships concern trust, a neural process that binds representations of self, other, and situation with a positive emotional result of appraisal and physiology.
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