Interpersonal Relationships

  • Created by: meganc.m
  • Created on: 07-04-19 11:08

The role of Neurotransmitters

They are chemical messengers, released as a reaction to experienced stimuli. There are 3 released when we start a romantic relationship.

Dopamine - feel good neurotransmitter, seek out things that make us feel good.

Noradrenaline - excitement neurotransmitter, control emotion and responses to stress.

Serotonin - mood regulation neurotransmitter, low = depression, high = happiness, controls dopamine and noradrenaline.

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The role of Neurotransmitters

Fisher et al.

Investigated the role of dopamine in the formation of relationships by looking at how brains respond to seeing  apicture of a loved one.

A - see if dopamine is released when experiencing a felling of love.

M - 17 American ppts, in a relationship between 1-17 months, semi structured interview, and passionate love scale to check they were in love. Layed in an fMRI machine, did 4 conditions, 1) 30 secs looking at picture of partner, 2) 40 sec distraction task counting backwards, 3) 30 secs veiwing a neutral picture, 4) 20 secs distraction task counting backwards, counterbalancing was used, swap conditions 1 and 3 for half the ppts.

R - Heightened dopamine activity in reward and motivation part of limbic system occured when viewing a picture of partner, pos correlation between intensity of love and dopamine activity.

C - Dopamine released when we see someone we love. Romantic love is not an emotion but a motivation system - in love with dopamine.

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The role of Neurotransmitters

GMEC of Fisher et al.

Counterbalancing (M) - makes sure all groups are fair and equal.

Scientific Method (M) - results are valid, can be repeated to schieve reults, high internal validity.

Artificial Task (M) - demand characteristics, people may act differently, decrease validity.

Sample USed (M) - only short term relationships, cant be generalised.

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Major Histocompatibility Complex

MHC - collection of genes essential for our immune systems to function

Responsible for our natural smell - we are attracted to people with opposing smells as it means potential partner as a different MHC makeup to ourselevs.

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Major Histocompatibility Complex

Wedekind et al

A - connection between MHC and odour preferences of the opposite sex.

M - 49 W and 44 M from Uni, tested to see what MHC they had. W asked if on the pill. All taken from seperate courses so smells werent familiar. W in middle of menstrual cycle. M given clean tshirt to wear for 2 nights and specific toiletries so smell was as natural as possible. On day 3, W were given 7 tshirts to smell - 3 were similiar MHC makeups, 3 were dissimilar and 1 was not worn. (double blind) Had to rate preferences from 1-10.

R - W preferred odours different MHC makeup. W on the pill preferred those with similar MHC.

C - W preferred M with different MHC makeup as it increases survivability.

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Major Histocompatibility Complex

GMEC of Wedekind et al.

Reductionist approach (M) - reduces the complex processes of relationship formation to a purely genetic level. reduce external validity.

Gender Bias (G) - all women, cant be generalised to explain mens preferences, reduces external validity.

Heteronormative (C) - all heterosexuals, cant be generalised to homosexual relationships. 

Confounding variables (M) - mens odour was natural, women on the pill was taken into account, increase internal validity.

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The Similarity Attraction Model

SAM - people are attracted to those who are similar to them, couples tend to be similar in age, religion, social class, personality etc. 

Festinger et al - the proximity effect - spend more time with someone our attraction to that person increases.

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The Similarity Attraction Model

Markey & Markey 

A - correlation between preferred partner characteristics andd own characteristics.

M(1) 169 students looking for partner did multiple questionnaires, only 2 of the answers were of interest 1: self rated personality, 2: personality of ideal partner. (2) 106 heterosexual couples who'd been in relationship for at least a year filled in the same questionnaires as those in (1) plus questionnaire assessing satisfaction, couples completed them in seperate rooms.

R - (1) ppts described ideal partner as having similar characteristics as themselves. (2) same as (1) plus satisfaction was dependant on similarity of some charateristics but not all.

C - supports SAM but also shows that partners shouldnt be 100% the same for longer lasting realtionships.

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The Similarity Attraction Model

GMEC of Markey & Markey

Self report data (M) - anonymity allows for more honesty, questionnaires are quick and easy, large samples.

Self report data (M) - social desirability bias, reductionist, reduces validity. 

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The Similarity Attraction Model

Fiore & Donath 

A - similarities between self descriptions and preferred partner descriptions on online dating websites.

M - 65000 online dating profiles from 1 American website, analysed using second hand data content analysis, more ppts came from most populous american states, using opportunity and stratified sampling technique. Ppts description of themselves were compared to their ideal partner description.

R - ppts had a preference for partners that were similar to them, preferences were more similar for life courses e.g. marriage and children.

C - people still have preference for people with similar characteristics as themselves, even online.

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Bowlby's Internal Working Model

A schema (used to organise stored info into meaningful chunks) is formed when we first experience something new through accomodation (creating new schemas for new info).

Time spent with the primary care giver gives us a schema on attachment that influences the way in which we approach relationships.

IWM includes 3 schemas about attachment figures:

1 - expectations of attachment figures.

2 - expectations of their self.

3 - expectations of how people relate to others.

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Bowlby's Internal Working Model

Hazan & Shaver's

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