Relationships A2 Psychology

Pychology A Unit 3 A2. Covering the Relationship module. AQA

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Filter Model- Kerckhoff and Davis (1962)

1. Social Demographic- Locality, similarities, similar education, economic background and age. 

2. Similarity of attitudes and values- how similar you are, share attitudes, interests and beliefs. 

3. Complementary of emotional needs- at 18 months, meet our needs in the long-term.

  • Sprecher (1998) couples who were similar background were more likely to have a long-term relationship. 
  • Kerckhoff and Davis  (1962) found that after 18 months needs took precendence over attitudes. 
  • Dated theory 
  • Deterministic, Individual differences
  • Face validity
  • Artififial to put into stages
  • Western Bias
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Reward/ Need theory- Argyle (1987)

Relationships are formed with people who meet our social needs and provide rewards. People enter relationships with their own set of needs and need someone who they can rely on meeting these needs. If the rewards offered by one person meet the needs of another, the relationship will develop further. 

  • Smith and Mackie (2002)- Relationships which last are the ones where needs are met.
  • Rasbult and Van Lange (1996) Rewards are important in determining how a relationship will develop. 
  • Culture Bias
  • Face Validity 
  • Dated Theory 
  • Everyone wants different rewards (takes into consideration) 
  • Underpins other theories such as the filter model 
  • Links to the behavioral approach with emphasis on rewards and reinforcements. 
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Social Exchange theory- Homans (1971)

Recognised relationships would involve rewards and costs and depends on equilibrium of both.

Profit= Rewards outweigh costs 

Loss= Costs outweigh rewards.

  • Focusing on profit and loss
  • Cold perspective
  • Individual differences 
  • Religion/ culture 
  • Assumes people continually keep a balance sheet in a relationship 
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Interdependence Theory- Thibaut and Kelley (1959)

Individuals in relationships need to keep an eye on the balance in a relationship.

Comparison level- comparing our current relationship with an expectation of how rewarding relationships are in general, from passed experience. 

Comparison level for alternatives- comparing a current relationship with other potential relationships. 

They will leave if they feel at a 'loss' or someone else makes them feel better.

  • Jerstad (2006) more time and effort put into the relationship the more likely a person is to stay in it. 
  • Culture-bias
  • Individual differences
  • Face value 
  • Many people stay in unrewarding relationships, e.g. abusive partners. 
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Relationship dissolution- Duck (1988)

1. Intra-Psychic- Start of relationship break-up, how partner is failing.

2. Dyadic- Unhappiness is in the open, couplediscuss their problems.

3. Social- Problems aired publicly, break up inevitable.

4. Grave dressing- Couple split up, they explain what went wrong (their version)

Reasons for break up

  • Lack of skills
  • Lack of stimulation
  • Maintenance difficulties.
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Relationship Dissolution- Lee (1984)

112 romantic break-ups, found 5 stages.

  • Dissatisfaction
  • Exposing the Dissatisfaction
  • Negotiating
  • Attempting Resolution
  • Termination of the Relationship

Those who worked through each stages reported feeling the most attracted to their partner, and a greater degree of sadness when relationship ended.

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Evaluation of Dissolution of Relationships


  • Face validity  
  • Logical
  • Subjective
  • Investergator effects
  • Deterministic
  • Longitudional
  • Culture Bias


  • Less deterministic, more flexable
  • Un-generalisable
  • Social desirability
  • Culture bias
  • Subjective
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Attraction to people

Singh (1993)- cross cultural preference of female waist-hip ratio of 0.7. Males Shoulder-hip ratio of 0.85-0.9.

Pavlowski (2008)- asked 218 males and females found that both sexes prefered 5% longer legs than adverage.

Qualities for women-

  • Big eyes
  • Small nose
  • Small chin
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Attitudes to sex (attraction)

Dunbar and Waynforth (1995) Young partner is important to 42% males and 25% of females.

Buss (1989) Women value financal capacity whereas men valued youth and physical attractiveness.

Men want:

  • Youth
  • Big Eyes
  • Rosy cheeks
  • Small nose
  • Small chin
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Reproductive Behaviours

Sexual selection- Systematic chooseing, competition helps survival of off spring .

Intra-Sexual- Within species competition. Group competition, Alpha males.

Inter-Sexual-Selective process.

Males: Capable of fathering thousands. Perental investment; as long as it takes to ejacluate. Mate Choice; Young females, hourglass shape, large eyes, rosey cheeks. Attitude to Sex; Promiscutity, maximum oppurtuinty of mating sucess.

Females: Short reproductive life. Parental investment; 9 months and childbirth. Mate choice; Faithfull, committed, strong, able to gain resources with ease. Attitude to Sex; Choosy, needs the best genes.

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Reproductive behaviours- Research

Buss and Schmitt (1993) - men prefer short-term relationships than women.

Clark and Hatfield (1989, 1990)- men want 8 partners over the next two years than women who want 1.

Buss (1993)- Men get more distressed over partner being sexually unfaithful whereas women are more distressed over partner being in love with someone else.

Ellis and Symons (1990)-Men are more likely to have sexual dreams than women, especially involving strangers or multiple partners.

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Parental Investment- Trivers (1972)

Maternal investment: Greater than males, females produce a finite amount of eggs over her lifetime than a male produces.  Human children take longer rearing now, due to the growth in brain size. Greater pre and post-natal investment. Women have a minimum of 9 months parental investment. 

Paternal investment: Much less than females. Males can produce a virtually unlimited number of offspring and only need to fertilise the egg and then can walk away. Mating can be costly for women yet not for men. The father can never be sure the child is his own, whereas a woman can.

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Parental Investment- Evaluation

  • Contraception allows both men and women to sleep around
  • Individual differences
  • Ignores one-night stands
  • Women will not always care more
  • Women do have a far greater parental investment
  • Doesn't take into account adoption
  • Women could father a child by someone, but marry a different man for support. 
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Childhood on adult relationships

Bowlby (1969)- A young child develops an internal working model of relationships by forming attachments. The internal working model produces a schema of what relationships should be like. 

Continuity hypothesis: The calim that early relationship experiences continue in later adult relationships.

Ainsworth (1969)- found children have one of the 3 types of attachment. Secure, Insecure resistant, Insecure avoidant.

Hazan and Shaver (1987)-using 215 men and 415 women, randomly selected. Used the love quiz to find participants descriptions of romantic relationships, and relationships with parents. 56% were secure adults, happy trusting and high self-esteem. 19.5% were insecure-resistant adults, extremes of jealousy and passion. 24% were Insecure-aviodant, doubt true love, fear of closeness, less forgiving. 

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Evaluation of childhood on adult relationships

Zimmerman (2000)- child attachment types do not predict adult attachment types. Life events have more influence on later security. 

Rutter, Quinton and Hill (1999)- Found people who had problematic relationships with their parents to go on to have secure, stable and happy adult relationships. Which is termed as 'earned security'. 

Hazan and Shaver Research-

  • similar percentages to Ainsworths findings.
  • High population validity
  • 0.5% drop out rate
  • Social desirability 
  • Screw you effect
  • Data is subjective
  • Difficult to evaluate love
  • Gender bias
  • Culture bias. 
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Culture on romantic relationships

Moghaddam (1993)- Western cultures tend to have relationships that are individualistic, voluntarily and temporary. Non-western cultures tend to have relationships are collectivist, involuntary and permanent. 

Duck (1999)- choice to marry is voluntary, but once the couple have been married for a few years, it isn't as voluntary as social and legal implications. 

Umadevi (1992)- Both groups(professional and non-professional) of women were found happy with the idea of arranged marriages when both parties consented love marriages where the parents approved of their choice. 

Gupta and Singh (1982)- Love marriages both liking and love were high at the start but decreased after 10 years. Arranged marriages love and living were low at the start but increased after 10 years.

Xioahe and Whyle found that love marriages had a higher rate of successful relationships adn women reported a higher level of happiness. 

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Culture on romantic relationships- Dowry Giving

The property that a woman brings to her husband at the time of marriage. 

Srinivasan and Lee (2004)- Of the 4,600 women studied almost 213 of them disprove of the dowry system. 

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