Revision Notes - Relationships

Revision Notes - Relationships, Theories etc

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Revision Notes ­ Relationships
Attraction and formation of relationships
Love and breakdown of relationships
Cultural and subcultural differences in relationships
1. Attraction and formation of relationships
1 a) Explanations and research studies relating to interpersonal attraction
Evolutionary Theory
Wilson (1975) ­ argues human sexual attraction and behaviour may be explained through
evolutionary theories such as natural selection operates to maximise reproductive
success of organisms, and so passing on as many genes as possible to subsequent
generations = inclusive fitness
Physiological differences in male/female gametes i.e. anisogamy = development of
different mating strategies to maximise reproductive success
Trivers (1983) ­ Period of gestation ­ Because females have long period of gestation
more choosy over their mates.
Berkow (1989) ­ Female strategy = Have a man, reliable, committed and good provider.
Male strategy = Impregnate a woman and move on (i.e. polygyny), to
maximise their reproductive success
Buss (1990) ­ 10,000 ppts from 37 cultures found throughout all cultures:
Women ­ prefer qualities such as ­ financial prospects, industriousness
over physical attractiveness
Men ­ rated physical attractiveness as more important.
Singh (1993) ­ Proposed Waist to Hip Ratio indication of female fertility. Thin hips
size set against a relatively small waist = sign of good childbearing ability
ReinforcementAffect Model
Based on fundamental principle of behaviourist approach ­ conditioning ­ so we are
attracted to what we like and repulsed by what we dislike.
Byrne, 1970 Find people attractive for 2 reasons:
1. Person was around when +ve event happened = an association with them and +ve event
(operant conditioning)
2. Are themselves reinforcing e.g. by being helpful (classical conditioning)
Argyle (1992) Individuals who are rewarding (e.g. friendly and helpful) tend to be liked
the most
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Rozin, Millman & Nemeroff (1986) ­ Conducted lab exp. Where ppts were asked to
smell a laundered shirt worn by a disliked person and a liked person, unbeknown to them,
the same laundered shirt was used, showed the laundered shirt worn by the disliked person
was less desirable than the same shirt worn by a liked person.
Lott (1986) ­ in an exp.…read more

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Emphasises physical and geographical closeness which determines the interpersonal
Festinger et al (1950) ­ Married college students, randomly allocated across 17
university buildings.
Ppts asked to name their 3 closest friends ­ 65% of them lived in the same building, 41%
were actually next door neighbours
Those that lived at the foot of stairways or near a mailbox had the most friends, as they
came into contact with more people.…read more

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Theories relating to the formation/maintenance of relationships
S.E.T and equity = economic theories, both emphasise elements of giving and
Social Exchange Theory (S.E.T)
Individual in relationship strives for highest possible rewards at the lowest cost
(selfish view)
Rewards ­ companionship, being cared for,
Costs ­ emotions, financial costs
Thiabut &Kelley (1959) ­individuals go through 4 main features of relationship
1. Sampling ­ weighing up pro's + con's of the relationship
2. Bargaining ­ negotiating rewards + costs which are agreed to
3.…read more

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Love and the breakdown of relationships
a) Psychological explanations of love (e.g. triangular theory, love as attachment).
Beall & Stenberg (1995) ­ "It is difficult, if not impossible to answer the question `What
is love?' because any answer must reflect its time, period and place"
Rubin (1970) ­ Distinguished between `liking' and `loving'.
Love contains 3 components:
1. Attachment ­ involving passion, possessiveness,
2. Caring ­ involving the concern for one another
3.…read more

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Explanations (e.g. Lee, Duck) and research studies relating to the breakdown of
Holmes (2000) ­ Between + ½ of all marriages in Western societies = divorce.
According to Levinger (1976) ­ Argues chances of marriage surviving depends on 3
1. Attractions of the relationship ­ e.g. emotional security, sexual satisfaction
2. Barriers to leaving the marriage ­ e.g. social + financial pressures
3. Presence of attractive alternatives ­ e.g. more desirable partner or to be single.…read more

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Cultural and subcultural differences in relationships.
a) Explanations and research studies relating to the nature of relationships in
different cultures (e.g. voluntary/involuntary, permanent/impermanent types of
Moghaddam et al (1993) ­ Relationships in Western societies tend to be
individualistic, voluntary + temporary. Those in the (Eastern) collectivist societies tend to
be collectivist, obligatory + permanent
Collectivistic cultures favour arranged marriages, more traditional, = differences in nature
of relationships.…read more

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Hofstede (19801994) ­ Analysed data on work experience from over 100,000
employees, in 50 different countries. Contended over half of the variance was accounted for
by four dimensions:
1. Individualism/Collectivism ­
Individualist societies ­ strive for autonomy, independence, to be able to fend for
themselves, rather than family. `I' comes before the `we'. (USA, UK, Australia). Centre on
Collectivist societies ­ `we' comes before any `I'. Marriage is seen as the union of 2
families much more than the union of 2 individuals.…read more

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Understudied' relationships such as gay and lesbian and mediated relationships
Gay and Lesbian relationships
Was considered a disease which could be cured.
Featured on DSM as sexual deviation and became pathologised. (Sexologists and
psychiatrists were imposing their own cultural values).
Was illegal until 1960, in 1995 was decriminalised.…read more

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Elridge & Gilbert (1990) lesbians look for a high degree of emotional intimacy and an
equitable balance of power
Jones & Bates (1978) ­ Gays want minimal conflict and want a high appreciation of each
Difficulties faced by same sex partners
Concealing a homosexual identity is known as `closeted'
Because look the same as heterosexuals, are treated the same = helps them conceal their
true sexual orientation.
If they `seal off' sections of their lives, = high risk of being discovered.…read more


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