Formation of relationships

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      • The reason we spend so much time in social relationships is because we find them rewarding and we find being alone unpleasant and lacking in reward.
        • Classical conditioning: We may associate an individual with positive circumstance, such as creating a relaxing atmosphere. For example, if you meet someone when you are in a good mood, you are more likely to associate them with a positive feeling.
        • Operant conditioning
          • Positive reinforcement: positive non-verbal cues are seen as rewarding, such as smiling. If somebody makes you feel good about yourself you are more likely to want to be in a relationship with them
          • Negative reinforcement: If a person helps you deal with negative feelings you may be attracted to them. (shoulder to cry on)
      • RESEARCH-May and Hamilton: asked female to rate photos of males whilst listening to either pleasant or unpleasant music. Those listening to pleasant music rated male more attractive.   -Cunningham: asked males to watch either a sad or happy film and then interact with females. More positive interaction came from these watching the happy film, rather than the sad one.
      • EVALUATION                 -Too simplistic         -Gender differences -Ignores the role of evolution in forming relationships
      • Two people that are in a  relationship are similar in terms of attractiveness
        • Value match: a compromise between our ideal partner and what is available.
        • Walster's two hypotheses: the  more socially desirable an individual is, the more desirable they would expect a partner to be; couples who are well matched are more likely to enjoy an enduring, successful relationship than those who are not well matched.
      • RESEARCH STUDIES:       -Walster et al: participants filled in a questionnaire as part of a 'computer dance', meanwhile an unseen observer matched them based on physical attractiveness.The participants expressed that they most liked those with a similar level of attractiveness.-Murnstein: 197 college couples, asked to rate attractiveness of themselves and their partner. Found that couples who shared a similar level of attractiveness were more likely to form intimate relationships than those who were dissimilar.       -White: Measured relative physical attractiveness of couples in various statuses of relationship. A 9 month follow up showed that similarity of attractiveness was predictive of courtship progress for those who had initially been casually or seriously dating
      • EVALUATION: -Too Simplistic          -Supporting research         -Gender differences          -Individuals are not the only ones responsible for deciding on a match (friends, family)            -Practical applications (dating websites)


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