A2 Psych Relationships: formation and maintenance of romantic relationships

Notes on some theories on formation and maintenance of romantic relationships 
(in essay-style structure)  
Hope it's useful(:  

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Outline and evaluate theories of the formation and maintenance of romantic
relationships (notes)
-Matching hypothesis:
We actively seek individuals who are most like ourselves ( attractive wise) this compromise is
necessary due to fear of rejection from a more attractive person. Mismatched couples balance in
other areas. Although the main idea of this theory is that it would place strain on the couple
threatening the long term success of the relationship.
Walster et al conducted a study on this theory, he used independent judges to assess the physical
attractiveness of 752 fresher's as a measure of social desirability. They thought similarly matched but
reality = was random -> dance = 2 days later. During dance pps questionnaire on dates and dance ->
more attractive = liked more by partners than were less attractive DOES NOT SUPPORT less
attractive people shouldn't have favoured more attractive pps, should've gone for those similar to
them. 6 months later = partners dated since? more likely to have if similar in attractiveness ­
realistic assessment shows SUPPORT
Validity: what people look for to judge attractiveness on (individual differences)
Student relationships aren't effective for all relationships, as they're not looking for a long
term partner- the nature of dating for students would be different to adults
Repeated study ­ partners met before hand and similar levels of attractiveness were being
selected to go together
Murstein: judged physical attractiveness of engaged couple and received similar ratings,
were significantly more alike than ratings given to random couples
Issues: Gender differences within the study- on how important physical attractiveness is,
more important to males who already have financial security so are looking for a partner to
provide good looking children. Woman may not find it most important since they want
children and are therefore likely to look for someone who can give them support
Cultural bias in who decides on the matching of partners. Different cultures partners may be
obtained in different way for example arranged marriages, parents would consider potential
partners for their children so therefore there is limited choice. Parents may decide on wealth
and success rather than looks so the MH cannot be applied universally
Maintenance of relationships: social exchange theory
Assumes all social behaviour is a variety exchanges- individuals attempt to maximise rewards
and minimise costs
To make a judgment on a relationship and comparison level is created: this is between
rewards and cost of the current partner with what was used to in the past or believe is
If the profit exceeds the loss then the relationship wouldn't be seen as worthwhile

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Comparison levels for alternatives can also be made- between current relationship and
A 4 stage model of Long term relationships is determined:
1) sampling: explores rewards and costs of variety of relationship
2) Bargaining: couples work out the profit and loss of relationship
3) commitment: settles into relationship where the exchanges of rewards becomes
4) Institutionalisation: couple are established
Simpson: pps who were dating rated members of the opposite sex less attractive showing they
close themselves off from attractive alternatives ­ SUPPORT: idea…read more


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