Relationship Formation

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  • Created by: bayleyc
  • Created on: 29-03-16 09:13

Biological Explanation for Relationship Formation

Evolutionary theory-Traits that enhance successful reproduction are naturally selected. Women look for a man who can provide and have good health. Men look for signs of fertility and health, red lips, smooth skin etc. 

Neurotransmitters-The chemicals in our brain have an impact on our emotions and this in turn influences our perceptions of others. For example, dopamine has been associated with pleasure seeking so setting the goal of finding a partner and being driven to achieve this, will give us a 'hit' of dopamine. This explains why humans are driven to form relationships.

Formation of sibling relatinships-Evolutionary theory can explain the close relationship found between siblings. Kin selection is when traits that enhance the survival of those with similar genes are also selected to promote the survival of a group's genes. This gives people a natural incentive to look after their siblings and to invest time/energy/resources to protect them.

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Behaviourist Explanation for Relationship Formatio

Operant Conditioning-Reinforcements and punishments drive behaviour. A new relationship can be positively reinforcing in many ways such as the company can be rewarding. Being with someone also helps avoid feeling lonely and rejected, this is negative reinforcement. May feel punished when can't be invited to couples only events, decreass the likelihood of wanting to be alone.

Classical Conditioning-People also like others who are associated with pleasant events. Meeting someone when happy means it is more likely to like them. This liking leads to having a relationship.

Formation of pet-owner relationships-Principles of operant conditioning are used in pet training and these help the formation of good pet-owner relationships. For example, rewarding dogs for good behaviour means the behaviour is more likely to be repeated which increases the happiness for both the pet and owner. Studies also shpw pet owners are less likely to be depressed and have lower blood pressure.

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Cognitive Explanation for Relationship Formation

Schemas-Schemas about people may govern how people act and feel towards them. For example, attractive pople are assumed to have attractive personalities. This is called the halo effect. This may mean that a relationship may be wanted with that person.

Internal Mental Processes-Perception and self-perception are especially important in the formation of relationships. How a person is perceived will determine whether a relationship with them is desired or not. Memory is also important. Positive memories of a past relationship may drive someone to forming a new one, and vice versa with negative memories.

Formation of romantic relationships-How a person feels about themselves can be referred to as a self-schema. Self-schemas are important in the matching hypothesis. If a person sees themselves as not very attractive they will go for someone equally as attractive as them from fear of rejection. It works the same with more attractive people.

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Positive Explanation for Relationship Formation

Authenticity of goodness and excellence-Feelings of love and kindness etc are authentic. Being in a relationship allows people to develop and express their signature strengths. Makes people strive towards a happier life. People are socially programmed to find a relationship. 

The good life-Seligman suggests says that one part of the good life is 'positive connection to others'. Seligman states that happiness and the good life comes from doing activities that engage us. The engagement in the relationship may lead them to feel they are experiencing the good life. Studies show that people in relationships are happier than those who are not. 

Formation of friendships-People seek friendships to encourage expression of emotions and rewards from friendship acts as a buffer during challenges in life. Friendships can also be seen as a key ingredient to happiness. People feel happier overall when engaging in activities what increase their connection to a friend.

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Psychodynamic Explanation for Relationship Formati

Childhood experiences-The idea of fixation is usued to explain the nature of relationships in adulthood. For example, over-indulgence at the oral stage can result in over-dependency, meaning the person becomes 'needy' in the relationship. 

Defence mechanisms-Relationships may bring up bad memories from the past for some people. Ego defences may be used in these cases to avoid anxiety. Defence mechanisms can affect overall personalities and the relationship itself.

Formations of parent-child relationships-Bowlby said that early unhealthy experiences shape behaviour. He developed the maternal deprivation hypothesis, which is the idea that being able to form relationships in adulthood depends on a continuous relationship with the mother in the first few years of life. This relationship acts as a prototype for future relationships, disruption impairs the person's ability to relate to others.

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