PSYA3 - Relationships (Revision Guide)

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Formation, Maintenance & Breakdown of Romantic Relationships
1 Relationship formation
2 Maintenance
3 Dissolution
Evolutionary Explanations of Human Reproductive Behaviour
4 Sexual selection
5 Sex differences in parental investment
Effects of Early Experience and Culture on Adult Relationships
6 Influence of childhood experiences
7 The influence of culture
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The Sociobiological Explanation: (Evolutionary)
Romantic relationships:
- An evolutionary theory with differing focus between the genders.
Cannot be certain of paternity and produce lots of sperm, so their best
strategy is to have multiple partners. They do not want to waste resources
raising another mans child.
Males value signs of fertility such as:
- Smooth skin
- Faithfulness
Produce few eggs but are certain of maternity.…read more

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Reinforcement & Need Satisfaction 1
The reinforcement and need satisfaction theory sees conditioning as an
explanation for relationship formation.
Someone may reward us:
· Directly (e.g. by meeting psychological needs for love and sex)
· Indirectly (e.g. because they are associated with pleasant
This makes us more likely to form a relationship. If we associate someone with
being in a good mood, or removing a negative mood, we find him or her
attractive, increasing the chances of relationship formation.…read more

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Social Exchange Theory 2
The social exchange theory explains the maintenance of relationships in terms
of maximising the benefits and minimising costs. There is a mutual exchange
of rewards between partners (e.g. friendship) and the costs of being in the
relationship, (e.g. freedoms given up). Rewards are assessed by
· The comparison level (CL) ­ rewards are compared to costs in order
to judge profits.…read more

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Equity Theory 2
The equity theory perceives individuals as motivated to achieve fairness
(equity) in their relationship and to feel dissatisfied with inequity (unfairness).
Maintenance of the relationship occurs through balance and stability.
Relationships where individuals put in more than they receive, or receive more
than they put in, are in equitable, leading to dissatisfaction and possible
Relationships may alternate between periods of perceived balance and
imbalance, with individuals motivated to return to equity.…read more

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Ducks Stage Theory 3
Duck (1984) proposed a four-stage theory of dissolution.
Phase of Description
Intra-psychic phase One partner privately perceives dissatisfaction with the
Dyadic phase The dissatisfaction is discussed. If not resolved, there
is a move to the next stage.
Social phase The breakdown is made public. Negotiation about
children, finances etc., with wider families and friends
becoming involved.
Grave-dressing Establish post-relationship view of the break-up,
phase protecting self-esteem and rebuilding life towards new
relationship.…read more

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Lee's Five-Stage Model 3
Lee (1984) proposed a five-stage model of relationship dissolution, seeing
dissolution as a process occurring over time, rather than a single event.
Stage of Description
Dissatisfaction An individual becomes dissatisfied with the relationship.
Exposure Dissatisfaction is revealed to the partner.
Negotiation Discussion occurs over the nature of the dissatisfaction.
Resolution Attempts are made to resolve the dissatisfaction.
Termination If the dissatisfaction is not resolved, the relationship ends.…read more

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Sexual Selection 2
The term sexual selection describes the selection of characteristics that tend 2
to increase reproductive success, i.e. producing healthy children who survive
to sexual maturity. Male and female sexual behaviours differ, because they
are subject to different selective pressures.
Males produce many small, mobile sperm, and can fertilise many females at
little cost to reproductive potential.…read more

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Male Strategies 2
· Courtship rituals: allow males to compete and display genetic 3
potential. Miller (1997) believes that evolution shaped cultural aspects 2
of behaviour (e.g. humour) to attract sexual partners.
· Size: males evolved to be bigger than females, demonstrating
strength, to gain success against other males.
· Sperm competition: natural selection favoured males with larger
testicles, more copious ejaculations and faster-swimming sperm.…read more

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Female Strategies 2
· The Sexy Sons Hypothesis 2
Females select attractive males to produce sons with similar attractive 3
features, increasing reproductive fitness. Attractive male 2
characteristics have an adaptive advantage and natural selection
favours their enhancement (until the enhancement becomes bizarre,
like the highly decorated bowers that male Bowerbirds construct to
attract females).
· Handicap Hypothesis
Zahavi (1975) believes that females select males with handicaps
because it advertises their ability to thrive despite handicaps,
demonstrating superior genetic quality.…read more


Lexie Clark

So useful!

bathsheba vare

This is great! Succinct and easy to revise from without getting bogged down in convoluted writing.


Can you make one for aggression and intelligence? ;)


The links not working, could you update it please 

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