Relationships Chapter Summary

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Formation of Relationships

Reward/need Satisfaction Theory:

  • Attracted to people who provide us with direct reinforcement
  • We are attracted to people associated with pleasant events

Evaluation:

  • Griffit and Guay (1969)
  • Cate et al (1982)
  • Lehr and Geher (2006)
  • Aron et al (2005)
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Formation of Relationships

Similarity Theory:

  • We sort people first for dissimilarity and then similarity
  • We are attracted to people with similar personalities and attituds

Evaluation:

  • Rosenbaum (1986) - dissimiliarity more important
  • Yoshida (1972) - represents a narrow view of important factors
  • Important because lessens chances of rejection and validates our beliefs
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Formation of Relationships

IDA:

  • Cultural Bias - reward/need satisfaction no relevant in some cultures
  • Evolutionary explanations = love is an adaptation to focus courtship energy on specific individuals
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Maintenance of Relationships

Social Exchange Theory:

  • Commitment to a relationship dependent on profitability
  • To judge if relationship worthwhile, we use CL and CL for alternatives

Evaluation:

  • Profit and Loss = explains women in abusive relationships
  • Research support from - Simpson et al (1990) and Marelich et al (2008)
  • Focuses on selfish concerns
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Maintenance of Relationships

Equity Theory:

  • Dissatisfaction = inequitable relationship
  • Satisfaction = equitable relationship
  • Equity is judged by perceived ratio of inputs and outputs

Evaluation:

  • Equity less important in long-term relationships
  • DeMaris = women's sense of being under-benefited most important
  • Equity insufficient as theory of real-life married relationships
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Maintenance of Relationships

IDA:

  • Cultural Bias = 'economic' theories may only apply to western relationships
  • Gender difference - judge equality differently
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Breakdown of Relationships

Reasons for Breakdown:

Duck (1999) suggests:

  • Lack of skills
  • Lack of stimulation
  • Maintenance difficulties

Evaluation:

  • Some affairs may be a reaction to perceived lack of skills/stimulation
  • Success of skills training shows importance of relationship skills
  • Many LDRs prosper despite maintenance difficulties
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Breakdown of Relationships

Model of Breakdown:

  • Five processes of breakdown
  • Intrapsychic, dyadic, social, grave dressing, resurrection

Evaluation:

  • Support from real-life relationships
  • Model stresses importance of communication and possibility of intervention
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Breakdown of Relationships

IDA:

  • Ethical issues - sensitive area of research
  • Gender difference - men and women stress different reasons
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Sexual Selection

Nature of Sexual Selection:

  • Intrasexual = mate competition
  • Intersexual = mate choice
  • Sex differenc in short-term mating strategies
  • Buss - universal differences in long-term mate preferences
  • Males = youth
  • Women = resources 

Evaluation:

  • Logic of sexual selection - random mating costly
  • Mate choice and menstrual cycle - women choose different types
  • Male preferences for younger women
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Sexual Selection

IDA:

  • Gender bias = short-term mating may also benefit females
  • Validity problems = Buss's study measured preferences rather than choice
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Parental Investment

Sex Differences:

  • Human females invest more because of biological sex differences and immature status of infant
  • Random mating is costly to human females
  • Males experience sexual jealousy
  • Females experience emotional jealousy

Evaluation:

  • Females want male providers and good quality offspring
  • Geher et al (2007) - psychological responses support prediction of sex differences in parental investment
  • Buss = research support for male sexual jealousy and female emotional jealousy
  • High costs of successful reproduction = shared parental care
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Effects of Early Experience and Culture

Childhood experiences:

  • Parent-child relationships = adult romantic love is a product of attachment, caregiving and sexuality systems from infancy
  • Interaction with peers = children learn about themselves from interacting with peers

Evaluation:

  • Meta-analysis (Fraley) showed link between attachment type and later relationship
  • Simpson et al = emotional system in adulthood could be traced back to infancy
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Effects of Early Experience and Culture

Adolescents Experiences

  • Parent-child relationships = adolescent relationships are a product of internal model plus own relationship experiences
  • Interaction with peers = romantic relationships help adolescents to separate from parents, and gain experience of physical and emotional intimacy

Evaluation:

  • Connectedness = adolescents relationships supplement rather than replace parental ones
  • Negative effects = early dating linked to deviance and lack of achievement
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Effects of Early Experience and Culture

IDA:

  • Gender bias = sex differences in childhood relationships have been over-emphasised, with many similarities overlooked
  • Determinism
  • Restricted samples (Cultural bias)
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Culture

Western and Non-Western Relationships:

  • Western = more voluntary
  • Non-Western = less voluntary
  • Western = individual rights and freedom
  • Non-Western = importance of family in decisins about relationships
  • Western = temporary
  • Non-Western = permanent
  • Relationships characterised by cultural differences in norms and rules

Evaluation:

  • Moore and Leung
  • Xiaohe and Whyte
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Culture

IDA:

  • Evolutionary approach = love is an evolutionary adaptation
  • Importance of culture = often overlooked because of preference for lab experiements, but culture is a key source of variatin in relationship processes
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