PSYA3 Relationships- Social Learning Theory AQA

Revision notes on the social learning theory and continuities to adult relationships.


1)Social Learning Theory-Relationships

What does the social learning theory provide and explanation for?

Give some studies into the social learning theory and childhood relationships with peers. 

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1) Answers

  • Provides an alternative explanation for the link between attachment type and childhood relationships/ popularity. 
  • It suggests that there is continuity between the child's relationship with the parents and the ability to make friends. (As we learn relationship skills through modelling- imitation, observation)

Parke- Families indirectly influence their child's later relationships. Families guide and modify their child's social behaviour, and they help develop social skills.

Russel & Finnie- Observed Australian pre-school children with their mother.             Observed what strategies mothers use to help ease the child into the group and to help them interact with others.                                                                                  Children considered 'neglected' were those whose mothers gave no help with interaction and/ or just encourage the child to play with toys.                                   Suggests: Popular children may be those whose care giver models and teaches them important social skills.

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2) Continuities into Adult Relationships

Outline what continuities into adult relationships suggests?

Give 2 studies into continuities into adult relationships.

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2) Answers

  • Adolescents progressively spend more time with peers. 
  • Friendships become more intimate with higher levels of disclosure of inner feelings and secrets.

Bee- Teenagers use their peer group to make the transition between the protected place within the family to the wider world. 

Dunphy- Observational study in a high school, Sydney. Identified 2 social groups:

1) The Clique- 12-14 year olds. Same sex consisting of 4-6 children.                      

2) The Crowd- Larger group consisting of several cliques, both male and female.

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3) Continuities into Adulthood AO2/3

Outline and evaluate a study into continuities into adult relationships. 

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3) Answers

Hazan: 'Is love in adulthood directly related to love as a child'

Used a questionnaire using a 'love quiz' in American newspapers.

Questionnaire involved choosing statements such as 'I'm uncomfortable being close to others, I find it difficult to trust and depend on them. (Insecure ambivalent)

Participants also given a list of adjectives which described the relationships they had with their parents. 

Findings: Found a strong relationship between childhood and adult attachment type. Secure relationships lasted twice as long as insecures. 

:( Demand characteristics.

:) Self report measures- generalisations can be made

:) Considers the sensitive area of attachments and relationships. 

:( Unlikely to be debriefed. 

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4) Continuities into Adult Relationships- Evaluati

Evaluate continuities into adult relationships

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4) Answers

:( Early relationships do not always predict later ones. 

:( Methodological issues in research- socially desirable answers. 

:( Deterministic- other factors can influence later relationships. 

:( Woody et al- Someone insecure may lack trust until someone trustworthy comes along

:( Hamilton- life events have more influences in later security.

:) Supports that childhood attachments influence later adult relationships. 

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