Relationships- revision

complete unit revision notes with evaluation (AO2) and studies. 


  • the formation of romantic relationships.
  • the maintenance of romantic relationships.
  • the breakdown of romantic relationships.
  • sexual selection.
  • parental investment (PI)
  • influence of childhood and adolescent experiences on adult relationships.
  • relationships in other cultures. 
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Psychology ­ Relationships
Factors involved in initial attraction:
Mere exposure effect: Bossard (1982) heightens whether we are attracted to someone
however being around someone too much can lead to us disliking them.
Evolutionary reasons: we are attracted to people that will help us pass on our genes and
their genes which are beneficial.
Attracted to their nature: factors such as them being caring, sensitive and sociable.
Rewards/needs satisfaction theory:
Direct reinforcement, i.e. helpful, nice and smiling people tend to be liked more (Argyle 1992) we
are happy when we are around these type of people therefore the happiness is associated with
them. Indirect reinforcement, associate a feeling when we meet them with them (May and Hamilton
1980) people asked to rate appearance with background noise; pleasant music achieved a higher
rating due to the pleasant association.
Culture bias and gender difference: this theory does not account for gender differences
and it can be argued that it is culturally bias. The theory is Eurocentric as it assumes that all
relationships in all cultures are formed in the same way as a Western society. We are an
individualist society which is completely different to a collectivist society. They consider
other people before themselves such as family. Furthermore it does not take into account
how women form relationships as gender roles are different in other cultures. Women are
socialised from a young age to put their partners and childrens needs before them.
Therefore the rewards/needs satisfaction theory is not universal and gives an inadequate
explanation for relationship formation in other cultures and women in other cultures.
Methodology: lab experiments lack mundane realism. The majority of studies conducted for
the theory were done in a laboratory and it is though that it can't explain how relationships
are formed in a real-life situation. Caspi and Herbener (1990) investigated couples in their
natural environment (observation experiment) and their findings supported the results of the
laboratory experiments. Therefore the results of the lab experiments are found to be an
adequate explanation for relationship formation.
Supporting Evidence: Griffit and Guay (1969) FIRST PART: participants had to create
something with an observer present. Observer gave feedback and then they had to rate the
observer on is appearance, if praised then the rating went up thus supporting direct
reinforcement. SECOND PART: during the completing of the task there was an onlooker.
When praised by the observer on the task during feed back they rated the appearance of
the onlooker higher. This shows that the theory is a plausible explanation to how
relationships form.

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Refuting Evidence: critics argued that this theory cannot explain all types of relationships
and it only considers one factor to the formation which is reinforcement. Hay (1985) claimed
the theory cannot explain how all types of relationships form. For example family
relationships and work relationships do not consider the pleasure of receiving. This suggests
that the theory is an inadequate account of how relationships form.
Matching Hypothesis:
Erving and Gofman (1952) created the original hypothesis.…read more

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With the same sex the rating stayed the same. Nothing to do with
alcohol according to Glaude as he stated that you will lower your ratings as time goes on to
try and find a partner.
Equity theory:
Walster (1978): Fairness not equality. Unfairness leads to distress and dissatisfaction.
Under-benefitted leads to unhappiness. Over-benefitted leads to feeling uncomfortable and guilty.…read more

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Research methods: experiments were carried out in a lab (artificial) environment. Other
psychologists criticise the theory on its ecological validity. The research gives us a
"snap-shot" into relationships and cant tell us how relationships are maintained in real-life
because it is only showing us their relationship in that one time and relationships change with
time. The theory cant explain why people who are able body are in a relationship with
people who are disabled as the cost overweighs the rewards incurred.…read more

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Social processes: going public to friends & family in order to seek support.
5. Grave-dressing process: construct a representation that doesn't put them in an
unfavourable light as they tidy up memories and history.
6. Resurrection process: prepare for a new relationship by redefining themselves, building on
past experience and recreating social value.
Cultural bias: may only to apply to dissolution in Western society. Non-western relationships
are formed differently (family-ties & money) therefore it's likely that they dissolve
differently.…read more

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Human reproductive behaviour and sexual selection
Inter & intrasexual selection:
Intrasexual selection: members of one sex (usually males) compete with other members of
the own sex for access to members of the opposite sex (mate competition). The trait that
lead to success in this competition will be passed on to the next generation.…read more

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Supportive evidence: helps us understand mate preferences and it makes sense that a
women would be choosy as she would not want to be a single mother and have to look after
a child on her own and she invests more.
Reductionism: complex behaviour is reduced to simple terms. Nowadays we have
reconstituted families (step-children etc) and this theory does not explain why step-dads
invest in step-children.…read more

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Non-western cultures lack
these urban settings, therefore there is less social and geographical mobility, interaction
with fewer people on a daily basis and therefore less choice.
Individual or group-based relationships: attitudes in individualists cultures are more highly
regarded than group goals or interests, are consistent with the formation of relationships
based on freedom of choice, whereas collectivism leads to relationships that may have more
to do with the concerns of family or group.…read more


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