Relationships: Formation

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  • Created by: imanilara
  • Created on: 23-02-16 18:53

Reward/Need Satisfaction AO1

Operant conditioning:
We are attracted to those that evoke positive feelings-they provide direct positive reinforcement through rewards of protection, comfort etc. According to op. conditioning, we are more likely to repeat a behaviour if we are positively reinforced with a desriable outocome, ergo we are more attracted to someone who positively reinforces us. The things we find reinforcing in others tend to reflect our unmet needs-attraction will happen when two people meet eachothers unmet needs. 

Classical conditioning:
We also are attracted to people who are closely associated with a positive event even if they didn't cause the positive event. The C.C, the person who is a neutral stimulus (we never had feelings for before) can be positively valued through the association with a positive event eg compliments or laughter (something that causes a good mood).

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Reward/Need Satisfaction AO1

B+C suggested that the balance between positive and negative feelings was key-if P outweighed N=success, vice versa=FAIL

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R/N Theory AO2 - studies

Griffitt and Guay (1969)

-Support that we like ppl that reinforce us, Ps evaluated on a creative task and then they were asked to rate the experimenter on how much they liked them-rating was highest when the Exp evaluted them highly, hence direct +ve reinforcement increased the attraction to the experimenter
-Experimenter effects-some experimenters may reinforce in different ways 
-This isn't really similar to romantic relationships, and so cannot really be used to explain them-lacks internal validity-doesnt test what it is supposed to test

Classical Conditioning: 
-Ps also had to rate an onlooker
-Onlooker got higher ratings when Ps were evaluated highly
-Shows that association with positive events increases attraction too 

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-Ps that rated highly on self-report questionnaire on romantic love showed strong activity in parts in the brain (ventral tegmental area). This has higher activity levels in the early intense stages of romantic love+associated w dopamine which is a NT associated w reward pathways-suggests that reward pathways are activated when we are in love-we are reinforced biologically as well
-IDA evolutionary- this is adaptive-biological response to focus courtship energy on particular mates+speed up the mating process 

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Cultural bias
-research focus on Western societies where people usually pick their partners
-doesn't account for gender differences seen in worldwide relationship formation, e.g. Lott says that women are more focused in meeting the needs of others whether they are reinforced or not 
-Doesn't account for collectivist cultures where partners are usually selected by family/parents+not the individual

-over-simplification of complex psychological emotions involved in forming a relationship with someone+ doesnt explain unrequited love or rejection

Mundane realism:
-studies carried out in lab-lack ecological validity in that they don't show reward/need satisfaction IRL.

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Matching hypothesis AO1


Once two people aware of one another, a mixture of physical factors and dynamic factors play a role in attraction. What seems to be most important is that people are attracted to people of similar attractiveness-match hypothesis
-Murstein said that even though in theory we are attracted to someone who is the most physically attractive we want to avoid rejection, and so go for someone who we know that we can keep. 

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Match hypothesis AO2

Walster et al (1966)

-"computer match dance"- advertised dance where students would be matched to others based on physical attractiveness 
-752 students independently rated by 4 judges on social desirability
-the all completed a questionnaire under the impression this would match them to their partner
-matching was actually randomised
-those who rated themselves highly on physical attractiveness were least satisfied w dates
-most important factor in date satisfaction is physical attractiveness +this was the greatest predictor of whether sexual relations would precede

-Volunteer bias-Ps may have been different that normal population
-Not generalisable- student sample
-S.S- in using the data to ask if someone has engaged in sexual relations
-Deception- Ps believed that they would be matched to someone of equal physical attractiveness
-Internal val- it tells us more if people liked eachother+not if they endeavoured in relationships 

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Match hypothesis AO2

Silverman 1971-low hist validity

-Observed couples in naturalistic setting (bars, theatres etc)
-Observer teams of 18-22yr olds, rate the dating partner of the opposite sex on a scale of 1-5
-high similarity in attractiveness between the couples
-The more similar they are, the happier they seemed to look (laughing and kissing)

-Observer bias- they are all of similar ages and might look for different things in attractiveness than older people
-Naturalistic setting, less demand characteristics+ecological validty
-How happiness is measured-not operationalised-may not be consistent w each observer
-People have different opinions of attractiveness
-Halo effect- experimenter bias- the other person may become more attractive as a result of the other partner being attractive-also not wanting to be too mean 

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Cultural Bias:
-Results culturally specific to Western Societies
-Research has shown that arranged marriages do not follow the match hypothesis theory+have different values eg financial retention

-explains formation in terms of physical attractiveness alone-Hatfield+Spreecher (2011) proposed complex matching-other factors other than physical-historically valid
-they consider the roles of friends and family and the match hypothesis do not

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