Experiences Shape Romantic Relationships

Partners each bring a suitcase of prior experiences to a relationship, which may influence what happens in their current relationship, says Katherine (KC) Haydon, assistant professor of psychology and education.

Haydon’s research examines the developmental origins of how people behave in their closest relationships. One central question in her work is how romantic partners’ individual developmental histories affect what happens in their current relationship—how they resolve conflicts, regulate and express emotions, and support each other. She also studies how close relationships with parents, friends, and romantic partners contribute to developmental outcomes, such as navigating the transition to adulthood.

In addition, Haydon studies the increasingly common “hook-up culture” among younger people, which is beginning to replace traditional dating as a relationship mode.

At Mount Holyoke, Haydon teaches introductory psychology, developmental psychology, and a seminar on close relationships across the lifespan. She offers a lab in observational methods focusing on romantic behavior.