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Reward/Need Satisfaction Theory (Byrne and Clore, 1970)
This theory states that we become attracted to people through classical or
Operant conditioning: Rewarding stimuli (which can be people)
provoke positive feelings in us, so we are more likely to be attracted
to them. Punishing stimuli provoke negative feelings in us, so we are
more likely to avoid these people in the future.
Classical conditioning: We associate certain people with positive
events e.g. we are more likely to think positively of someone if we
are in a good mood.
In terms of relationships, this means:
We form relationships with people who provoke positive feelings in
We are also more likely to think positively of someone when we are
in a good mood.
People who may previously have provoked negative feelings may
instead be associated with positive feelings if we are in a good mood.
Byrne and Clore believed that the balance of positive and negative
feelings is crucial in maintaining relationships: more positive than
negative means that the relationship is more likely to succeed, and
AO2 and AO3
Any model based on behavioural Hays (1985): Suggested that a
concepts is easily tested. problem with the reward/need
Griffit and Guay (1969): Supports satisfaction theory is that it only
the direct reinforcement aspect of concentrates on receiving
the model. Participants were rewards, when it has been shown
judged on a creative task by an that some people gain satisfaction
evaluator and then asked to rate from giving as well as receiving.
the evaluator. Those who had All of the studies are laboratory
received positive ratings gave experiments and so lack ecological
positive ratings. validity and mundane realism.
Griffit and Guay (1969): Also Lott (1994): Said that the theory
supports the association aspect of ignores social and cultural factors.
the model. Participants were also Found that women are more
asked to rate an onlooker. They focused on the needs of others
judged the onlooker more than receiving reinforcement.
positively when the evaluator had Aron et al. (2005): Suggests that
judged them positively. whole reward/need process
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Cate et al. (1982): Asked 337 evolved to speed up the process of
individuals to assess their finding a mate.
relationships based on reward
level and satisfaction. Found that
reward level was the most
important factor in determining
relationship satisfaction.…read more