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Describe two theories of formation, maintenance an

Reward/Need Satisfaction Theory - This theory is based on learning theory and states that we form relationships that provide rewards (reinforcement) and satisfy our needs. Rewards include companionship, being loved, sex, status, money, help, and agreement with our opinions. Classical conditioning—Byrne (1971) pointed out that by classical conditioning we come to like people with whom we associate enjoyment and satisfaction even if they are not directly responsible for the positive experiences. When we experience enjoyable shared activities with people, they create in us a positive emotional feeling, known as a positive affect. Operant conditioning—we like those who provide us with rewards and dislike those whose presence is unpleasant (i.e. punishing) because they are, for example, tedious, boring, or argumentative. A study on humans was reported by Griffit and Guay. They had someone give a reward or a punishment to several participants in the presence of an uninvolved bystander (the bogus stranger). The bystander was liked more by participants who were rewarded than by those who were punished

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Describe two theories of formation, maintenance an

Economic Theories: Social Exchange Theory (SET) - The basic assumptions of social exchange theory (SET) are that relationships provide both rewards (e.g. affection, sex, emotional support) and costs (e.g. providing support, not always having your own way). Everyone tries to maximise rewards while minimising costs. Thibaut and Kelley argued that long-term friendships and relationships go through four stages: sampling, bargaining, negotiation, and institutionalisation, when rewards and costs are established and entrenched. How satisfied individuals are with the rewards and costs of a relationship will depend on what they have come to expect from previous relationships. In other words, they have a comparison level (CL) (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959), representing the outcomes they believe they deserve on the basis of past experiences—so if in the past they have had very poor relationships they may expect very little from subsequent ones. In addition, their level of satisfaction will depend on the rewards and costs that would be involved if they formed a relationship with someone else; this is known as the “comparison level for alternatives” (CLalt). All of this makes sense—if you are a very attractive and popular person, you can afford to be very choosy in your friendships and relationships.

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