Formation and maintenance of relationships

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  • Created by: 08rmorris
  • Created on: 10-04-15 11:37
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  • Formation and maintenance of relationships
    • Selfish reasons
      • 1. Reward/need satisfaction theory states that we form friendship to receive rewards or reinforcement from others
      • 2. Relationships provide rewards (approval, sex, status, love, money, respect) that satisfy our social needs (for self-esteem, affiliation, dependency)
      • 3. so, in terms of operant conditioning, being in a relationship is positively reinforced because it's rewarding
      • 4. Byrne and Clore's (1970) Reinforcement-Affect theor suggests that both operant and classical conditioning okay a part in relationships
        • The theory states that we learn to associate people with positive or enjoyable situations, even if they are not directly rewarding us in these instances
    • Economic theories consider relationships to be a trading process
      • Social exchange Theory
        • S.E.T. (Thibault and Kelley, 1959) suggests that people try to maximise rewards (e.g. attention, self-esteem, happiness) from a relationship and minimise costs (e.g. time, effort, emotional support)
        • 2. If the relationships is to continue, then the rewards must not be outweighed by the costs - we should end up in profit. So, relationships are formed using a sort of 'cost-benefit' analysis.
        • 3. But if we are striving to get more and give less, this may result in an unequal relationship
      • Equity theory
        • 1. Equity theory suggests that people expect relationships to be fair and equal
        • 2. They want to receive rewards from relationships that are in balance wight he rewards they provide for the other person
        • 3. If a relationship is unequal or unfair then it produces discomfort and distress in  both partners, even if you are the one getting more and giving less
        • 4. The disadvantaged person may try to make things fairer if it seems possible
    • Relationships can be perceived very differently
      • Hatfield et al (1979) asked newlyweds to assess what they and their partner contributed to the relationship and their level of contentment with the marriage:
        • The least satisfies were those who were under-ebenfited (unhappy about giving the most)
        • The next least satisfies were those who were over-benefited (perhaps they felt guilty about giving the least). Equal relationships were most satisfied
      • There may be sex differences in how we feel about unequal relationships. Argyle (1988) found that:
        • Over-benefited men were almost as satisfied as those in equitable marriages.
        • Over-benefited women, however, were much less satisfied than women in quell relationships


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