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Rewards and Punishments: some people are
INTRODUCTION: When many question why there are positive stimuli that reward and give us positive
attracted to their partner, they provide reasons e.g. feelings. According to operant conditioning we
supportive or loving in a sense we are more attracted to looking to repeat any behaviour that leads to a
people who are rewarding or gratifying. Therefore we desirable outcome and any punishable ones we
seek more rewarding stimuli and avoid punishing stimuli. avoid.
This reflects our unmet needs e.g. company. Mutual
attraction occurs the needs are meet, these needs can According to Byrne and Clare: they
vary between couples. suggest that we enter into relationship
because the presence of some
individuals is directly associated with
reinforcement which makes them more
Physiological research: Aron et al attractive to us.
(2005) found that ppts who measured Griffitt and Guay: support
very high on self report questionnaire the claim that individuals
of romantic love showed strong RELATIONSHIPS
provide direct reinforcement,
activity in the brain including the SATISFACTION they conducted an
ventral tegmental area. Early stage THEORY. experiment (creative task) in
intense romantic love was associated which participants were
with elevated levels of activity in the asked to rate how much they
Attraction through
subcortical reward regions of the brain liked the experimenter. The
association: as well as liking
rich in dopamine levels. Cate et al rating was the highest when
people we share a pleasant
(82) asked 337 individuals assessed the ppts were positively
experience, we also like to
their satisfaction and rewards. Results rewarded. Also associating
associating people with a
show reward level was the most people with pleasant events.
pleasant event. In a sense we
dominant variable in determining They rated the onlooker high
are in a neutral stimulus (no
relationship satisfaction. Hays in a condition where the
feelings) we can become
criticises this and suggest we also performance was high and
positively valued because of
give rewards as well as receiving positively evaluated by the
their association. Byrne and
them experimenter.
Clare believe that the balance
of positive and negative
feelings is crucial in a…read more

Slide 2

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SIMILARITY: The essence of this view is that similarity
Why is it so important? Similarity is more important
promotes liking. According to this model, there are 2
in the formation of relationships for two main reasons.
distinct stages. First is to sort out potential partners who
First, we assume that similar people are more
are dissimilar. Second the remainder are most likely to
attracted to each other. By ruling out people
be those that are similar to ourselves Byrne's model
dissimilar to us we lessen the chance of being
emphasises the similarity between personality and of
rejected Condon and Crano second other people
Personality: research has when other people share our attitudes and beliefs, it
consistently demonstrates that tends to validate them which in turn is rewarding.
people are attracted to each other
more because of similar personality
traits as oppose to dissimilar ones. Limitations: research on
Berschied and Reis for example similarity has only dealt with
two people who are serious and attitude and personality
hardworking are more likely to be RELATIONSHIPS similarities. Yoshida (72)
attracted to each other. pointed out that this
SIMILARITY. represents only a very
This isn't the case: couples narrow of factors important
maybe complete opposites of in relationship formation,
each other maybe attracted to with factors such as
each other. Caspi and Herbener Similarity or dissimilarity:
similarity of self concept,
found that similar married Rosenbaum (1986) suggest that
economic level and physical
couples are more happier then dissimilarity rather similarity was the
condition being equally
those that are different. most important factor in whether the
important. For example
Attitudes: dating partners also relationship will form. This
research by Speakerman et
disagree on important things e. dissimilarity repulsion hypothesis has
al (2007) found that partners
g. going on holidays doing been tested in different cultures.
choose each other with
activities or relaxing. Research Singh and Tan Singapore Drigotas
similar levels of body fat.
suggests that attitude USA. These studies showed people
alignment" often occurs, with show similarities and when they got
partners, they then need to to know each other better and found
modify their attitudes for the dissimilarities they became less
relationship to develop. attracted to eachother.…read more

Slide 3

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PROFIT AND LOSS: at the centre of this theory is the Profit and loss the notion of
assumption that all social behaviour is a series of exchange has been used to explain
exchanges, individuals attempt to maximum their why some women stay in abusive
rewards and minimise their costs. In our society, people relationships. Rusbult and Martz
exchange resources with the exception (or at least hope) (95) argue that when investments are
they'd earn a profit i.e. the rewards exceed the costs high (e.g. children, financial security)
incurred. and alternatives are low (e.g.
Rewards that we may receive from nowhere else to live, no money) this
a relationship include being cared could still be considered a profit
for, companionship and sex. Cost situation and a woman might chooses
include effort financial investment to remain in such a relationship
and time wasted.(missing
opportunities with others) rewards
minus costs equal the outcome (a
profit or a loss) the social exchange RELATIONSHIPS
theory suggest in line with other SOCIAL EXCHANGE If the final result is negative
economic theories suggests that the THEORY. (profit less then CL) we will be
commitment to relationship depends dissatisfied with the
on profitable factors. relationship and the other
person will be less attractive. A
COMPARISON LEVEL: in order to judge whether related concept is when is the
one person offers something better or worse than comparison level for
we might expect from another. Thilbaut and Kelley alternatives , where the
proposed that we develop the proposal level ­ a person weighs up the potential
standard in which all relationships are judged. Our increase in rewards from a
comparison level (CL) is a product of our different partner, minus the
experiences in other relationships together with our costs associated with ending
general views of what we might expect from this the current relationship can
particular exchange. We must judge that the take place of the current one is
potential profit in a new relationship exceeds our CL has a higher profit level.
then the person will be more attractive.…read more

Slide 4

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Comparison Levels: support can be found by
Limitations Social exchange theory has been
looking at how people in a relationship deal with
criticised for focusing too much on the
potential alternatives; one way of dealing with such
individuals prospective and ignoring the social
potential threats is to reduce them as a means of
aspects of a relationship, such as how partners
protecting the relationship. Simpson et al (90) asked
communicate and interpret shared events
ppts to rate members of the opposite sex in terms of
(Duck and Saints) the main criticism, however
attractiveness those that were in a relationship gave
only focuses on the selfish nature of the theory.
lowing rating. However social exchange theory does
Are people only motivated to maintain
not explain why some people leave relationships
relationships out of hedonistic concerns? It is
despite not having any alternatives, nor does it
possible that such principles only apply in
suggest how great the disparity in CL has to become
individualist cultures?
un satisfactory.
Application: Social exchange
RELATIONSHIPS theory has been applied to
SOCIAL EXCHANGE exchanges between intimate
THEORY. partners, and several studies
The social exchange theory was modified have demonstrated that sex
into the equity theory, which concerns used as an exchange resource
balance and stability in a relationship and in intimate relationships. This
can be regarded as a logical progression. has become a strategic weapon
Argyle (88) criticised methodologies The theory applies to people
in the exchange process.
used to evaluate social exchange theory, who `keep score'. Murstien et al
Marelich (2008) surveyed 267
declaring them contrived and artificial (77) devised the exchange
students in the US and found
with little relevance to life. Research has orientation tool, identifying such
that men were more likely to use
tended to concentrate on short-term scorekeepers. They were found
blatant lies to have sex. Women
consequences of relationships rather to be suspicious and insecure,
are more likely to have sex and
than more important long term suggesting that the theory only
avoid confrontation. This shows
maintenance,. suits relationships lacking
that sexual deception is an
important part of the social
exchange theory. Pleasure >
rewards. Unwanted + deception…read more

Slide 5

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EQUITY THEORY: This is the extension from the social
exchange theory with a central assumption that people Exchange and Communal relationships Clark and
strive to achieve fairness in their relationship and feel Mills (79) disagreed with the claim that all
distressed if they perceived unfairness (Messick and relationships are based on economics. They
Cook 83) According to this theory any king of inequity distinguished between exchange relationships
can cause distress. People who give a great deal in a (colleagues and associates) Although exchange
relationship and get little in return will perceive inequity relationships may involve keeping track of rewards
and be dissatisfied with the relationship. Same case for and costs, communal relationships (friends and
vice versa, the greater the perceived inequity, the lovers) are governed more by the desire to respond
greater dissatisfaction the greater the distressed. to the needs of the partner. There is still some
concern with equity nut partners tends to believe
Stafford and Canary (2006) asked over things will balance out in the long run.
200 married couples to complete Inputs & Outputs: it is possible
measures of equity and relationship for each partner to input and
satisfaction. The findings revealed that the output different amounts and
RELATIONSHIPS still receive equity in a
satisfaction was the highest for spouses
who perceived their relationships to be EQUITY THEORY. relationship? This can be
equitable. Couples also completed of 5 explained in the perceived
maintenance strategies ­ positivity, themselves as putting in less
openness, assurances social networks that the other the relationship is
Inequity in marital fair. An equitable relationship is
and sharing tasks. Under benefited
depression: if equity is so where the partners benefits
husbands reported lower levels of three of
important in relationships, what minus their costs equals their
these compared to equitable or over
happens in the case of partner's benefits less their
benefited husbands.
inequitable relationships? costs. We can restore the way
Ragsdale + Baundau Brown reject the DeMorris et al investigated we receive inequality by
claim that equity is a key determinant of marital inequity is associated changing the amounts we put
relationship satisfaction. They argue with marital disruption, used into each relationship to restore
that this represents an incomplete 1500 couples in the US nation the appearance of equity. We
rendering of the way in which married survey with families. Findings > may also compare our CL to
people behave and respect to each inequity associated with > other relationships to see if it is
other and that the equity theory is an woman being under benefited worth in vesting in our current
insufficient theory to explain marital > greater under benefit > risk of relationship…read more

Slide 6

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Gender differences: research suggests that men and
women might judge the equity of a relationship The equity still portrays people as selfish, many
differently. For example Steil and Weltman (91) found researchers such as Duck (88) prefer to see people
that among married working couples, husbands who as considered with an equitable distribution of
earned more than their wives rated their careers as rewards and costs for themselves and their partners.
more important. Women also agreed with this. However
the opposite scenario where the wife earned more Mill and Clark (82) believe that it is not possible to
neither rated their career as important. They found that assess equity in loving relationships, as much input
wives tendency to seek less for themselves than is emotional and therefore unquantifiable, and do so
comparable men making comparable contributions, diminishes the quality of love.
delayed the achievement of equality at home.
Equity may be more important
to females, therefore the Kelley and Thibaut (78)
theory isn't applicable to both proposed interdependence
genders. Hoschchild and RELATIONSHIPS theory which suggests that
Machung (89) found that not all social interactions
women do the most of the reflect a mutual desire for
work in making the equity and fair exchange.
relationship equitable. Intimate relationships are
both diverse and complex
Cultural bias: Moghaddam (98) and partners motives can
suggests that such `economic' theories Sprecher et al (86) believes clash as well as coverage,
only applies to western relationships, and that close relationships are too producing many outcomes
even then to short term relationships with complex to allow for precise (aggression, self-sacrifice,
high mobility. One group of people who fit assessment of various rewards competition, etc...)
this description are students in the west. and costs involved in interdependence theory
They are more mobile and experience established equity. goes beyond out original
many ST relationships and little time to partners, considering the
develop LT commitment, it makes sense harmony and/or conflict
to be concerned with give-and-take. between attitudes, motives,
However LT relationships in cultures with values or goals of people in
low mobility value security more than social relationships.…read more

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