Brief outline of theories and studies including evaluation points

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Reward/need satisfaction theory - Byrne & Clore

people are attracted to people whose presence is rewarding to us

more rewarding = more attraction

4 factors influnence initial attraction:

proximity -> geographical closeness

exposure & familiarity -> increases opportunity for attraction, Argyle more people interact the more polarised their attitudes

Similarity -> beleifs, values and attitudes key, reciprocal liking (assums similar people like us so we like them back)

physical attractiveness -> immediate, Dion percieve attractive people have attractive personalities

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Formation AO2/3

- proximity -> still relevant today?? development of technology meant that initiation is different e.g. internet dating

- physical attractiveness -> personal preferences, historical changes (pale skin = purity vs tanned skin = wealth)

- cultural differences -> arranged marriages, may not be physically attractive but they grow to like each other

+ exposure -> Saegert (taste of strangers)

  • female pp's asked to rate various liquids
  • in a room with another pp maybe once, twice or even 10 times
  • asked to fill out questionnaire
  • psychologists interested in rating of other person
  • found attractiveness related to number of interactions
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Social Exchange theory - Thiabaut & Kelly

Economic theory, humans are selfish, motivation comes from profits

homans, greater the reward lower the cost = greater the attraction, intial attraction occurs so long term wish to maintain relationship

rewards = being care for, companionship & sex

costs = efforts maintaining a relationship, financial investment & time

Thiabaut & Kelly -> comparison level

  • product of past relationship on which new relationships are judged
  • contains expectations of what the current/new relationships should be like
  • is profits exceed comparison then relationship deemed worthwhile so is maintained 
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Maintenance AO2/3

- too mechnaical -> assumes we keep track of rewards and costs

- cultural differences -> Moghaddam,only really appplies to individulistic (Western) cultures where the focus is on the indivduals concerns

- Duck & Sants, ignores social aspect of relationships -> too simplistic

- people are capable of being altrulistic

- Hays, only explores recieving rewards and not giving -> can be pleasurable

+ explains why some people stay in abusive realtionships

  • Rusbult & Martz, argue when an investment is high (e.g. have children, financial security) and alternatives are low  (e.g. have no money, house) the current situation maybe seen as profitbale and so people chose to stay in the reationship
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Duck, 4 stage model to describe termination of a romantic relationship

1) intra psychic phase -> one partner becomes dissastisfied

2) Dyadic phase -> person confronts the other partner, not resolved it moves to next stage

3) Social phase -> break up made public, sort out social implications e.g. children

4) Grave-Dressing phase -> each partner has own version of break up, self attributional bias - credit good aspects to self and negative to other person

Lee, 5 stage model:

1) partner discovers dissatisfaction

2) Dissastisfaction exposed to other partner

3) Negotiation

4) attempts made to resolve

5) if attempts fail results in termination of relationship

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Breakdown AO2/3

+ intuitively appealing ->makes sense, relate to own experiences

- doesn't state why dissatisfaction has occurred

  • Duck -> causes of dissatisfaction
  • lack of skills - some people lack interpersonal skills to make relationships satisfying e.g. poor conversations
  • lack of stimulation - people expect relationships to change and develop
  • maintenance difficulties - e.g. going away (university, military), partners don't see each other regularly so can be a strain -> however long distance relationships becoming more common -> use of technology e.g. skype

- stages don't apply to everyone

+ theoretically important -> idea of dissolution as a process rather than an event is more acceptable

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Sexual Selection

Based on Darwin's theory of evolution - natural selection & survival of the fittest

intra-sexual selection = mate competition (usually males), members of same sex compete for access to opposite sex

inter-sexual selection = mate choice (usually females), show preferences for characteristics of opposite sex e.g. blonde hair

short term preferences:

PI theory claims males have evolved a greater desire for casual sex and seek it earlier in a relationship -> have more kids = more genes passed on

Buss, men lower standards in context of short term mating preferences and show a decreased attraction after sex

Long term preferences:

high level of choosiness beneficial for both sexes -> poor mate choice means wasted resources, worse for women

women -> high biological investment in their children, attracted to men who are good financial prospects, protective and have show signs of being a good parent e.g. caring

men -> attracted to women who show signs of fertility e.g. young and physically attractive

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Sexual Selection AO2/3

- alternative explanation -> based on social power, younger women are easier to control and therefore preferred by males

  •  Buss confirmed males do chose younger males in a study of actual marriages
  • Kendrick et al, rejected this view - adolescent males consistently go for females 5 years older, even though women show no interest

- gender bias -> theory states men have more desire for casual sex but so do women -> greater genetic variety

+ support for long term preferences

  • Buss, mate preferences in 37 cultures, women preferred men who were good financial prospects, men preferred physically attractive and younger women
  • however there are problems with measuring attractiveness -> individual differences

- biological approach -> hormonal factors - research suggests women near the most fertile state of menstrual cycle are more attractive

  • Miller et al, study using lap dancer, those at most fertile earned twice as much as others who were not at most fertile
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Parental Investment Theory

Trivers, any investment made in the child that increases it's chance of survival

females make greatest contribution -> carry for 9 months, breast feed and raise child

males can opt out of parental investment, few minutes coppulation and tea spoon full of sperm

Males must prevent cuckoldry to make sure they don't waste valuable resources e.g. time & money -> development of mate retention strategies e.g. sexual jealousy

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Parental Investment Theory AO2/3

- males should be unwilling to invest in offspring that are not theres -> however Anderson et al found men don't discriminate between their own kids or step kids

  • explanation for this could be to improve potential mating opportunities in the future -> want to be seen as a 'good provider'

-/+ females make high investment so in return want good quality males -> Baker & Bellis suggest an option is to marry a resourceful man but then seek extramarital affairs with good quality males -> found 14% of pop products of extramarital affairs

+ sexual jealousy -> Buss et al, US student asked to imagine scenes of sexual or emotional jealousy, males = sexual, females = emotional

Daly & Wilson, children under 2 are 60 x greater to be killed by a step parent (usually father) -> exactly what evolutionary theory predicts - genetically different = competition

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Influence of childhood on adult relationships

Continuation Hypothesis

Bowlby's attachment theory suggests you continue same attachment type into adulthood due to the internal working model (infant expects relationships to be the same as in childhood)

shaver et al, 3 behavioural systems acquired in infancy:

1) attachment -> concept of internal working model, continuation of early attachment styles

2) caregiving -> children learn by modelling behaviour of primary caregiver, then reflected in their own behaviour as adults

3) sexuality -> learned in relation to early attachment

Hazan & Shaver, published a 'love quiz' in American newspaper, pp's completed check-list about childhood, found securely attached tended to have happy, long lasting love relationships in adulthood

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Influence of childhood on adult relationships AO2/

+ McCarthy, women's attachment style recorded at infancy those classified as avoidant had greater difficulty in romantic relationships

- individual differences -> people with poor attachment styles at infancy can still go in to have happy long lasting love realtionships

- deterministic -> suggest individuals past determines future adult relationship

+ Simpson et al, longitudinal study, found securely attached infants were more socially competent as children, closer to their friends as adolescents and more emotionally attached to their romantic partners as adults.

- Hamilton, found seculrey attached children could become insecure as a result of life events 

inconsistent evidence -> can't state a causal relationship between childhood relationships and their impact on adult relationships

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Relationships & Culture

individulistic -> I not we e.g Germany, US and UK

reliance on others is not desirable, individual performance praised

pick a partner based on choice -> more likely to breakdown as no need to please others

Collectivist -> We not me e.g. Pakistan, India and Mexico

ties and responsibilites to family more important than individuals concerns, encouraged to be inter-dependent

pick a partner that pleases the family -> more likly to stay in a unhappy relationship

less likely to breakdown as have same beleifs and values

Moghaddam, in collectivist cultures marriage is seen as a union between families rather than a union between individuals

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Relationships & Culture AO2/3

+ Skhodrian & Gibbons, relationships differences between Mexico and USA, found students in Mexico are signifiantly more inter-dependent in term of relationships with friends and colleagues 

-/+ Gupta & Singh, effects of marriage type on love and liking

  • 50 marries couples -> 25 voluntary, 25 arranged marriages, each married of 1,2,3, or even 10 years
  • used Rubins scale of love and liking 
  • found as time passes in love marriages, love and liking decreases but increases in arranged marriages
  • significant difference in love but not liking

-/+ Dion & Dion, idea that romantic love is culturally specific, study using students from 11 countries, asked 'if a person had all the qualties you desired, would you marry them if you didn't love them?' 

found love was seen as desirable -> 14% of males and 9% of females said yes

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