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Reward/Need satisfaction theory Byrne and Clore, 1970
Mutual attraction tends to occur when each person meets the needs of their partner.
Maybe because we personally lack these characteristics i.e. attraction or financial
Rewards and punishments the idea of positive/ negative stimuli making us
happy/unhappy carries on to people. Thus if they have the appropriate
characteristics they will make us happy however if they do not have them then they
will not. (Operant conditioning). Therefore people enter a relationship because of
the feelings that they get from the other person.
Attraction through association we also like people because of the pleasant events
associated with them. If we meet people when we are happy for example we are
more likely to go to them when we are unhappy the same goes for if they meet
whilst feeling neutral.
Byrne and Clore believed that the balance of positive and negative feelings were
crucial in the formation of relationships relationships where the positive feelings
outweigh the negative feelings were more likely to develop and succeed, whereas
relationships where the negative feelings outweighed the positive were likely to fail.
Evaluation of Reward/Need satisfaction theory
Griffitt and Guay (1969) P's 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.
Griffitt and Guay P's 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.
Aron et al (2005) found that P's who measured high on a selfreport questionnaire
of romantic love also showed strong activity in particular areas of the brain including
the ventral tegmental area. Early stage intense love was associated with elevated
levels of activity in sub cortical reward regions of the brain, rich in dopamine.
Cate et al (1982) asked 337 P's 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.
Similarity theory Byrne, Clore and Smeaton, 1986
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.
Personality research has consistently shown people are likely to be attracted to
others who have similar personality traits to themselves (Berscheid and Reis, 1998)
I.e. two people who are serious and hard working are more likely to attract one
another than if one were not of the similar level. However this is not always the
case, as we see people who are completely different attract one another. Caspi and
Herbener (1990) found married couples with similar personality traits tend to be
happier than those who are completely different.

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Attitude Research suggests that a process of attitude alignment often occurs, with
partners modifying their attitudes so that they become more similar. In order for the
relationship to develop, one or both of the partners must adapt their behaviour.
Evaluation of similarity theory
Rosenbaum (1986) suggested that dissimilarity rather than similarity was the most
important factor in determining whether a relationship will for.…read more

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Thibaut & Kelley argued that longterm friendships and relationships go through four stages
1. Sampling ­ The costs and rewards associated with each other are explored.
2. Bargaining ­ A process of negotiation in which rewards and costs are agreed.
3. Commitment ­ Exchange of rewards and acceptance of costs stabilise. Greater
focus on the relationship itself.
4. Institutionalisation ­ Norms and expectations are firmly established.
Additional assumptions are sometime included in the Social Exchange Theory.…read more

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If the relationship is unfair or inadequate, it provides distress, especially in the
disadvantaged person.
The disadvantaged person will try hard to make the relationship more equitable,
particularly when it is very inequitable.
Research Evidence
Hatfield et al asked newlyweds to indicate the extent to which they felt that they were
receiving more or less then they should in view of what they were contributing to the
marriage. They were also asked to indicate their level of contentment, happiness, anger and
guilt.…read more

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Dyadic phase; confrontation to other partner, characterized by an argument
3. Social phase; up to this stage, problems generally kept private. This stage is where
the problems are shared into the social network
4. Grave-dressing phase; relationship ended, this is ex partners share experiences and
their own account of the breakup.
(Resurrection process: deciding what you want out of future relationships)
+ Ducks model views breakdown as a process that goes through a number of stages.…read more

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Short term mating preferences
Trivers (1972) argued that because of parental investment, the sex that invests greater
resources in offspring will evolve to be the choosier sex in selecting a mate. In contrast, the
sex that invests fewer resources in offspring will evolve to be more competitive with its own
sex for access to the highinvesting sex.
Normally females are the limiting sex and invest more in offspring than males.…read more

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Parental investment Trivers (1972)…read more

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Parental Investment mean the amount of time, energy, and effort put into
help the reproduction and survival of a child/offspring.
Amount of investment needed overall, supply from reproductive organs,
reproductive life span, amount of parental investment needed after
conception, during postnatal phase, the best chance of reproductive
success for males/females.…read more

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When offspring are young, the parents tend to put more attention into that sibling
than the rest. When the children then become older, however, parents can maximise
their own reproductive fitness by directing their limited resources towards more
vulnerable offspring and away from their older children. Parent offspring conflict is
most common at the stage which this transfer of investment begins, with older
children attempting to prolong the parents' primary focus on them as long as
possible.…read more

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Erwin (1993) found that boys' relationships tend to be more competitive, a fact
emphasising competitive sport that men tend to undertake. In contrast girls tend to
engage in cooperative and sharing activities.
Adolescent Experiences
Carver et al (2003) by the age of 16 most adolescents have experienced a romantic
Parentchild relationships Allen and Land (1999) suggest that adolescent
relationships are based on the internal working model formed from their own
parentchild relationships alongside experiences from their own relationships.…read more


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