Relationships F, M, and B

Formation, Mainentance, and breakdown.

Two theorys for each!

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  • Relationships
    • Formation
      • Reward/Need Satisfaction Theory  (Byrne&Clore)
        • AO1
          • Motivated to seek rewarding stimuli - reflects unmet needs. Mutual attraction occurs when each partner meets each others needs.
          • Operant Conditioning: Repeat behaviours which lead to a desirable outcome. This leads us to like people who directly reward us - they seem more attractive.
            • Rewards and Punishment
          • Classical conditioning: Like people who are associated with pleasant events and indirectly reward us by being present during a pleasurable time.
            • Explains holiday romance
            • Attraction through association.
        • AO2
          • Ppts in a waiting room listened to either good or bad news with a stranger present. Higher ratings of attractiveness were given when listening to good news.
          • Males watched happy or sad films and then interacted with a stranger - interactions were more positive after watching a happy film.
          • Females rated photos of males whilst pleasant or unpleasant music was playing. Increased ratings were found when listening to happy music.
          • Ppts were evaluated on a task set by an experimenter, those who were positively evaluated reported to like the experimenter more. Also rated an on looker more highly.
          • Duck: Criticise bogus stranger methods for being artificial, as we don't usually form relationships this way.
          • Cate et al: 337ppts to assess current relationship in terms of reward level and satisfaction. Found that reward level was superior to all other factors in determining satisfaction level.
        • IDA
          • Supports the evolutionary theory: Aron et a 2005 - Brain reward system associated with romantic love evolved to focus courtship energy on specific individuals
          • Love at first sight: inherited response to speed up the mating process.
      • Similarity Theory (Bryne, Clore, and Smeaton)
        • AO1
          • We dispense of those with a marked dissimilarity and select someone similar in terms of attitude and personality from those which are left.
          • Personality: More likely to be attracted to others who have similar personality traits.
          • Attitude: Successful relationships involves a process of 'attitude alignment'.
            • So one or Both partners must modify their beliefs so they become more similar to each other.
        • AO2
          • Ruling out those who are dissimilar = Less chance of rejection.
          • Shared beliefs and attitudes validates them - rewarding.
          • Dissimilarity is more important in determining formation.
            • Tested in a no. of countries. E.g. Singapore and USA - Were attracted due to similarity of attitude at first - those who discovered more dissimilarities became less attracted.
          • Research focuses on personality and attitude - other factors of similarities such as self concept, economical level and physical condition are as important.
            • Speckman: chose partners with similar body fat levels.
        • IDA
          • Measured attractiveness levels of real life couples using more than 1 assessor. Found strong evidence for the matching hypothesis, especially in married couples.  Gender differences: Doesn't account for what we want to match.
    • Maintenance
      • Social Exchange Theory
        • AO1
          • Based on operant conditioning - form and maintain relationships for rewards. We attempt to maximise rewards and minimise costs, and commit to the relationship if profitable.
          • Comparison level: Standard which relationships are compared, based on pasr experiences and future expectations. When the profit of aa new partner exceeds the comparision level a relationship will be formed.
            • If someone else is then met, this level for alternatives will be referred to see whether the profits of the new partner out weigh the costs of ending the existing one.
          • It's suggested that long term relationship go through 4 stages.
            • Sampling: Rewards and costs are explored.
            • Bargaining: Negotiation of rewards and costs are agreed.
            • Commitment: Exchange of rewards and acceptance of costs is stabilised - now focus on the relationship.
            • Institutionalisation: Norms and expectancies are firmly established.
        • AO2
          • College students completed questions over 7 months. Found 3 underlying factors determining satisfaction & whether the relationship had ended.
            • Carefully weighed up costs and rewards.
            • Considered the amount they'd already invested.
            • Existence of an attreactive alternative. (featured largely in the final decision to end the relationship).
            • Suggests that the comparison level is used to decide whether to end or maintain a relationship.
          • Explains abusive relationships (costs of ending are bigger than rewards of staying).
          • Doesn't explain termination when no other potential ones are available.
          • Vague - doesn't say how great the difference has to be.
          • Suggests we spend all of the time comparing.
            • Duck - only considers to look for alternatives once we're dissatisfied.
        • IDA
          • RLU - Used in behavioural couples therapy - focuses on the Importance of positive exchanges rather than negative ones.
          • Over simplified - suggests selfishness when really in a successful relationship both sides work equally to make it fair.
      • Equity Theory
        • AO1
          • Strive to achieve fairness - inequity has potential to create dissatisfaction.
          • If the 'loser' feels that equity can be restored they're motivated to save the relationship.
          • Fairness is perceived and varies between different relationships.
          • Interview on over 500 students about equity in relationships. 3 months later inequitable ones were most likely to have ended.
        • AO2
          • Lacks validity - conducted on students.
          • Doesn't prove a causal relationship - other factors such as family, age and costs.
          • Inconsistent research, Clark and Mills identified 2 types of relationships;
            • Communal (romantic) - giving is motivated by concern and positive regard for meeting each others needs whoilsnt not expecting anything in return - Believe it will work out in the long run.
            • Exchange (work collegues) - As in SET - certain score keeping is evident. See it as an investment.
          • 219 individuals, those with low perceived equity = low relationship satisfaction, but were motivated to return equity. Showing it's the main factor in relationship satisfaction.
        • IDA
          • Cultural Bias - US students prefer equity, Europeans equality.
          • Western relationships tend to be individualistic, temporary and voluntary. Non-western tend to be permanent, and obligatory
          • Equity seems to reflect the values of society.
          • Gender Differences - Women who do most of the work to make relationships equitable, but both sexes should be trying equally - goes against the theory.
    • Breakdown
      • Evolutionary Explanation
        • AO1
          • Batswanna Tribe: Have lots of relationships before settling down - not exposed to medial so break ups must have an evolutionary advantage.
          • Ache Tribe: Average of 12 marriages and 11 break ups by the age of 40!
          • Must have an evolutionary advantage as it's occurring across different tribes.
          • Women aquire resources more than men - may assess their partners willingness to share by the amount of emotional commitment they express.
            • Men therefore show this by proposing or suggesting children when threatened with a breakup.
          • Males evolved a desire for sexual variety - reproduce more with a wider gene pool.
            • Infidelity can serve this, and make it easier for a fast break up and new formation.
          • Rejectors perceived as heartless and cruel, whilst the rejected is a victim. To avoid damage the rejector makes themselves look better and less harsh to improve future chances.
        • AO2
          • 98 males and 101 females from USA Uni (av. age - 20.6)    69% white and 37% other ethnicity.   80% experienced being the rejector and 71% as the rejectee.
            • Completed a questionnaire online or at the psychology office - based on their most recent break up experienced and emotions.
            • Females - higher costs in losing emotional commitment.
            • More males - success in prevention of break up by increasing their levels of commitment.
            • More male rejectors engaged in sex with a potential mate prior to break up.
            • Rejectors - higher cost of being seen as cruel and heartless.
          • Sig. Differences found in post break up experiences of rejectors and rejectees, males and females, and costs/strategies used.
            • Strategies are adopted and have evolved.
          • Social desirability - self report is unreliable
          • Students
            • Narrow as costs differe with age so can't be generalised
            • Appropriate as relationships tend to form and end frequently.
      • Breakdown Model (Rollie and Duck 2006)
        • AO1
          • Private stages
            • Breakdown: (can't stand it anymore) Dissatisfaction with the relationship
            • Intrapsychic processes: (justified in withdrawing) Consider partners faults and relational 'costs'
            • Dyadic processes: (I mean it) Confronts partner and discusses feelings and the future.
          • Public stages
            • Social Processes: (now inevitable) People find out.
            • Grave-dressing processes: (Time to get a new life) Prepare strategies so not to damage future.
            • Resurrection processes - (Reframing of past relationships, what they've learnt and how it will change) Preparing for the future.
        • AO2
          • Face Validity
          • Difficult to investigate - survey on undergrads after recent break up found typically reported emotional distress, but it also gave them new insights on themselves and a clearer idea about the future - supporting the model.
          • Useful for therapies - determine the stage to intervine at.
        • IDA
          • Ethical - sensitive area - people are vulnerable and may cause a lot of distress ( eg. in abusive relationships).
          • Cultural Bias - American Theory - not generalizable.
          • Gender differences - Women more likely to stay friends - men want to move on and not waste time from an evolutionary perspective.

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