Relationships Study Summary


Formation Key Studies


Griffitt and Guay (1969) 

  • Participants = evaluated on creative task by experimenter
  • Asked to rate how much they liked the experimenter 
  • Rating = highest when experimenter had positively evaluated performance on task

Griffitt and Guay (1969)

  • Asked to say how much theyliked an onlooker
  • Rated = highest when perforamcne of the participant had been evaluated positively
  • Participants rated both experimenter and onlooker the same 

Aron et al (2005)

  • Participants measured high on self-report questionnaire of romantic loe
  • Showed strong activity in particular areas of the brain 
  • Early-stage, intense romantic love = associated wih elevated levels of activity in subcortical reward regions of the brain, rich in dopamine.
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Formation Key Studies

Rosenbaum (1986)

  • Dissimilarity-repulsion hypothesis 
  • Dissimilarity rather than similarity was the more important factor 
  • Tested in a number of cultures
  • Singapore and in the USA
  • Participants were first attrcted to each other because of similarity
  • Those who discovered dissimilarities later became less attracted to each other

Yoshida (1972)

  • Only dealswith attitude and personality similarities 
  • Very narrow view of factors important in formation
  • Similarity of self-concept, economic level and physical condition equally important 

Condon and Crano (1988)

  • Rule out dissimilar people = lessen the chance of rejection 
  • When others share our attitudes and beliefs, it tends to validate them, which is rewarding 
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Maintenance Key Studies

Social Exchange Theory:
Rusbult and Martz (1995)

  • Notion of exchange = explains why women stay in abusive relationships
  • Investments are high (children)
  • Alternatives are low (no money)
  • Still considered a profit situation and so they may choose to stay in the relationship

Simpson et al (1990)

  • Asked participants to rate members of the opposite sex in terms of attractiveness
  • Already in a relationship = lower ratings 
  • One way of dealing with potential alternatives is to reduce them to protect relationship
  • Theory doesn't explain why some leave relationships despite having no alternative

Duck and Sants (1983)

  • Focuses too much on the individual's perspective and ignores social aspects 
  • Selfish nature of the theory 
  • Only motivated to stay in the relationship for selfish concerns? 
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Maintenance Key Studies

Equity Theory:

Clark and Mills (1979)

  • Disagreed that all are based on economics
  • Distinguished between exchange relationships (colleagues) and communal relationships (between friends or lovers) 
  • Exchange = keeping track of rewards and costs
  • Communal = governed more by a desire to respond to the needs of the partner 
  • Still some concern with equity, but partners tend to believe things will balance out 

DeMaris (2007)

  • Whether martial inequity is associated with later marital disruption
  • 1500 couples in US National Survey of Families and Households
  • Only subjective index of inquity associated with disruption in women's sense of being under-benefited, with greater under-benefit raising the risk of divorce 
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Breakdown Key Studies

Reasons for Relationship Breakdown:

Boekhout et al (1999)

  • Extramartial affairs might be direct reaction to perceived lack of skills and/or stimulation 
  • Asked undergraduates to rate various sexual and emotional reasons for women and men to be unfaithful in a committed relationship
  • Men = sexual reasonns
  • Women= emotional reasons 

Rohlfing (1995)

  • 70% of students sampled had experience at least on LDRR 
  • 90% had experienced one LDF 
  • Mobile society = management strategies 

Holt and Stone (1988)

  • Little decrease in relationship satisfaction as long as lovers are able to reunite reguarly 
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Breakdown Key Studies

A Model of Breakdown:

Tashiro and Frazier (2003)

  • Surveyed undergraduates who had recently broken up with a romantic partner
  • Reported that they not only experienced emotional distress, but also personal growth
  • Breaking up had given them new insights about themselves
  • Clearer idea about future partners 
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Sexual Selection Key Studies

Penton-Voak et al (1999)

  • Female choice varies across the menstrual cycle
  • Women chose a slightly feminised version of a male face for long term
  • Short term = preferred face shape was more masculinised
  • Feminised = kindness and cooperation in parental care 
  • Masculine = higher levels of testosterone which suppresses the immune system 
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Parental Investment

Baker and Bellis (1990)

  • Women may shop around for 'good genes' through affairs 
  • Survey of over 2700 UK women
  • 14% of the population are products of extramartial affairs 

Buss et al (1992)

  • Male US students indicated more concern about sexual infidelity
  • Female US studentsexpressed more concern about emotional infidelity
  • Supported by physiological responses when respondents were asked to imagine scenes of sexual or emotional infidelity 
  • Men showed much more distress for sexual infidelity than emotional infidelity 

Dunbar (1995)

  • Joint parental care = desirable 
  • High costs of successful reproduction 
  • Any situation where males can increase success = pay them to do so 
  • Males do restrict their reproductive opportunities and invest more in each individual offspring 
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Childhood Experiences Key Studies

Fraley (1998)

  • Meta-analysis of studies finding correlations of .10 and 0.50 
  • Between early attachment type and later relationship 
  • One reason for low correlation = insecure-anxious attachment is unstable

Kirkpatrick and Hazan (1994)

  • Found that relationship break ups were associated with a shift from secure to insecure attachment - attachment theory does suggest significant relationship experiences may alter attachment organisation 

Richard and Schneider (2005)

  • Gender differences in childhood relationships
  • Girls have more intimate friendships than boys
  • More likely to report care and security in their relationships with other girls 
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