Keys Terms for Relationships


Evolutionary Explanations for Partner Preferences

Evolutionary Explanations - focus on the adaptive nature of behaviour, i.e. modern behaviours are believed to have evolved because they solved challenges faced by our distant ancesters and so became more widespread in the gene pool

Sexual Selection - A key part of Darwin's theory explaining how evolution is driven by competition for mates, and the development of characteristics that ensure reproductive success

Physical Attractiveness

Matching Hypothesis - claims that when people look for a partner for a romantic relationship, they tend to look for someone whose social desirability approximately equals their own

Self Disclosure

Self Disclosure - is when a person reveals intimate personal information about themselves to another person

Attraction : Filter Theory

Complementarity of Needs - refers to how well two people fit together as a couple and meet each other's needs

Filter Theory - We choose romantic partners by using a series of filters that narrow down the 'field of availables' from which we might eventually make our choice

Similarity in Attitudes - If people share similar attitudes, values and beliefs, communication is easier and so a relationship is likely to progress

Social Demography - refers to variables such as age, social background and location, which determine the likelihood of individuals meeting in the first place

Social Exchange Theory

Social Exchange Theory - The likelihood of a person staying in a relationship is determined by an assessment of what they get out of the relationship compared to what they put in, and how the relationship measures up against what they expect and what they might achieve in a different relationship

Equity Theory

Equity Theory - claims that people are most comfortable when what they get out of a relationship (i.e. benefits) is roughly


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