AQA Psychology A PSYA3 gender, eating behaviour and relationships

AQA PSYA3 Gender, Relationships, and Eating behaviours. theories, reaserch evidence and Evaluations, analysis.

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Reward/Need satisfaction theory; Byrne and Clore, 1970 AO1(FORMATION)
We spend a lot of time is social relationships because they are rewarding and we
don't like being alone because it is unrewarding.
We become attracted to people through classical( association) or operant
(directly) conditioning
Operant conditioning: Rewarding stimuli (which can be from people) provoke
positive feelings in us (e.g comfort, money, love, and sex), so we are more likely to
be attracted to them. Punishing stimuli provoke negative feelings in us, so we are
more likely to avoid these people in the future.
Classical conditioning: We associate certain people with positive, pleasant
events e.g. we are more likely to think positively of someone if we are in a good
People who are cheerful, friendly, and nice are liked the most.
Therefore people enter a relationship because of the feelings that they get from
the other person.
Byrne and Clore believed that the balance of positive and negative feelings is
crucial in maintaining relationships: more positive than negative means that the
relationship is more likely to succeed, and vice versa.
Evaluation of Reward/Need satisfaction theory;
A sufficient explanation for friendships, heterosexual and homosexual
relationships. If our friends don't reward us in any way, with emotional/social
support for example, then we will no longer want to be friends with them
Most studies supporting the theory are laboratory studies which mean s they lack
mundane realism. The situations created in in the lab experiments do not mirror
real life experiences therefore we cannot be sure that the results are true to life
A model based on behaviour can be easily tested
Only focuses on receiving rewards, people in relationships are more concerned
with equity and fairness.
Research has found that in people in collectivist cultures show little concern for
the receipt of reinforcement.
Theory has a very selfish view - idea that people only enter relationships to satisfy
their own needs. While in fact many people have concern for others.
Griffitt and Guay (1969); Ps were evaluated on a creative task by the experimenter
and then asked to rate how much they liked the experimenter. The rating was the
highest from those who had been positively rated earlier on the task. Operant
Griffitt and Guay; Ps had to state how much they liked an onlooker; the onlooker
was rated higher where the performance of the P had been rated more positively
previously by the experimenter. Classical conditioning
Above studies back up rewards and needs theory Ps found people more attractive
when happy- classical conditioning.
Cate et al (1982) asked 337 Ps to assess their current relationship in terms of
satisfaction and reward level. Results showed that reward level was superior to all
other factors in determining relationship satisfaction.
However only looks at the receiving of the rewards whereas Hays (1985) found
that we gain satisfaction from giving it as well as receiving it.

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Gender differences- in many cultures and gender differences women are more
socialised into being more attentive to the needs of others (children and
Similarity theory; Byrne, Clore and Smeaton, 1986 (FORMATION)
We are attracted to those similar to us.
There are two distinct stages in the formation of relationships; first the person
judges whose personality or attitude is too dissimilar to their own and avoids
those. Then from the remaining people, they tend to choose the person whose
views are closest to their own.…read more

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The model is too simplistic and assumes we form relationships based on just
It ignores other factors
Social exchange theory; Thibaut & Kelley (1959) (Maintenance)
assumes that everyone tries to maximise the rewards (e.g. affection attention)
from a relationship, and to minimise the costs (e.g.…read more

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Social exchange theory does not explain why some people leave relationships,
despite having no alternative, nor does it suggest how great the disparity in CL
has to be to become unsatisfactory.
Equity theory; Walster et al (1978) (Maintenance)
People expect to receive rewards from a relationship which are proportional to
the rewards they provide for the other person.…read more

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Assumes that people are very selfish and self-centred in their friendships and
relationships. This assumption may possess some validity in an individualist
society such as the USA but is less likely to apply in collectivists societies. ­
Culturally bias
It is quite subjective what people see as fair / balanced varies.
Macdonald argued that marriages where the couple were concerned about fairness
and balance within their relationship were poorer.
Clark and Mills (1979) relationships are not based on economics.…read more

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Long distant romantic relationships (LDRR) & long-distance friendships (LDF) are
more common than we think. One study found that 70% of students sampled had
experienced at least 1 LDRR and 90% said they had experienced 1 LDF
Despite this long distant relationships are increasingly common in our society.
They found there was little decrease in relationship satisfaction provided that
lovers are able to reunite regularly.…read more

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These students reported that breaking up with their partner
had given them new insights into themselves and a clearer idea about future
partners. Through grave-dressing and resurrection processes, they were able to
put the original relationship to rest and get on with their lives.
Gender differences- Women are more likely to stress unhappiness and
incompatibility as reasons for dissolution, whereas men are particularly upset by
'sexual withholding'.…read more

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In contrast to women, men appear to lower their standards in terms of short
term mating opportunities; looking for quantity not quality (Buss and
Schmidt, 1993); after this there is a decrease in attraction after sex thus
preventing too much time with one woman.
Long term mating preferences;
In long term mating, typically both of the genders can be choosy due to both of
them investing heavily in any offspring produced, as poor long time mating
decisions have huge impacts on both of the genders.…read more

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Low-quality mates will be more likely to
produce unattractive, unhealthy children.
Buss suggested that men go for younger women because they are likely to be
fertile however some critics suggest it is because younger women are easier to
control and so preferred as mates.…read more

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Miller, 1998). As a result, they try to ensure that their care
is not misdirected towards non-relatives - e.g through adultery laws that define
the offense in terms of the women's marital status, rather than the man's.…read more


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