Theories of Formation of romantic relationships

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Formation of romantic relationships

Sociibiological theory - evolutionary: humans aim is to survive to reproduce and pass on genes to future gene pool
Buss (1989): mate choice qualities: (Women - older, successful men, provider) (Men - younger women, more fertile, low waiste to hip ratio) (Both - attractiveness, indication of health and fertility)
Reinforcement/Need satisfaction theory - Formation due to rewards and benefits E.G. enjoyment, money, sex and status. Rewards differ for everybody and individuals will assess the rewards they might gain from other relationships.
Classical and operant conditioning plays a role: being positively reinforced by the rewards or associating a relationship with pleasant stimuli
Sociobiological theory - Explains heterosexual couples (social norm) but fails to explain homosexual relationships. This is explained by the Kin theory (helping relatives indirectly passes genes on). Explains sexual differences (Buss 1989). Not very scientific, lacks validity and strong evidence, Culture biased as very much westernised - hard to generalise and other cultures become falsely labelled. Nature NOT nurture and determinstic ignoring the role of free will. The two factors often work together to determine behaviour. BUT hard to disprove and the model makes sense.
Reinforcement /Need satisfaction theory - doesnt consider why unrewarding relationships are formed and maintained.Protrays humans as selfish and self caring (Socially sensitive - leads to discrimination towards those in relationships. No consideration of equity and fairness. No consideration of free will and is fully deterministic. Doesnt account for gender and cultural differences, Lott (1994) suggests in many cultures women are concerned with the needs of others NOT reinforcement. But the theory does have research support. Griffit and Guay (1969) had participants evaluated on a creative task then asked how much they liked the experimenter. If they were positively reinforced by the experimenter, they liked them more.

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