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PY4, Formation of Relationship
Explanations of the formation of Relationships
WJEC POTIENTIAL question: Discuss and evaluate explanations of the formation of relationships
This is based on evolutionary theories of how humans form and maintain relationships.
Evoluntionary characteristics are important that the women look for those that are wealthy and have status, helping
to hunt resources for her and offspring. Whereas the men look for physical attractive women that provide feritilty
Humans are physically attracted to the others based on characteristics that Cunningham et
al discovered that humans are attracted to physical features of the opposite sex. Saying that men
look for women with childlike features and women look for men that have masculine un childlike
features. Brigham also found that attractive people can cause a halo affect that if they are found
physically attractive are stereotyped that they will have attractive social skills too. That attractive
people come with that package.
To be parents look at the investments that the other can provide. The men look to see if the
women will be healthy (which is associated with youth) proving they are fertile. Whereas the women
look as to whether the men have resources to provide for them and the offspring. Taking into
account that eggs are expensive and that sperm is cheap. Lots of sperm is produced over an egg is
produced once a month.
Another factor that helps form and maintains relationships is distance. Proximity allows
convenience for people to maintain close contact physically and verbally, as both is important. To
support this theory, Festinger did a study on University students that showed the further students
were from each other the less acquaintance or friendly they were. Another supportive evidence is
Bossard, he looked at marriage certificates that all showed most marriages, the partner lived close
Evaluation of explanation 1
Deterministic. The explanation is only based on the evolutionary side of theory; it doesn't
involve factors like the biology or individual differences.
Doesn't explain homosexual relationships OR those that don't want to have children
Dated... Women are no longer dependant on men financially. The research is dated as in
today's society we have more access to communication and transport allowing us to form
long distance relationships. Also
Does explain attraction between older rich men and young healthy women.
Buss' study produced research that wasn't culturally bias, as it involved many Easton and
There's a lot of research support even personal ads in papers show evidence as men ask for
attractive young women advertising their wealth.
Social Exchange 2
Thibaut and Kelley (1959) Social exchange explains how we look at the costs and benefits
of a relationship before committing or maintaining one. If the potential partner profits us with such
aspects as care, pleasure etc, they have profits depending on how much they do it. However it
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PY4, Formation of Relationship
explains that we also overlook the costs, as to whether they involve too much effort, money and
time. By looking at the profit and a costs the person sees as to whether they will benefit more from
the relationship than they will lose. Reinforcement effect (Byrne and Clove 1970) explained via
classical and operant conditioning that we learn through reinforcements. Rewards and sanctions
encourage us to do or not to do something.…read more