Relationship essay plans

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  • Created by: leila.s
  • Created on: 04-06-16 09:04


Main Assumption

  • The similarity theory suggests that relationship formation is based on the amount of similarities between two people. There are two stages to this theory and two key features; personality and attitude.

AO1 - Similarity Theory

  • Step one sort out people that have dissimilarities, step two sort remaining potential partners by looking at attitudes and personality traits.
  • People with similar personality traits and attitudes are more attracted to each other
  • Attitude alignment occurs 

AO2 - Supporting Research: Leher + Geher

  • Lab experiment of attitude similarity and mutual liking
  • Given descriptions of strangers (some with similarities)
  • Results show people who had similar attitudes were mutually attracted 

AO3- Methodological  Criticism

  • Lab experiment so lacks ecological validity
  • Self report method increases chances of social desirability
  • Cant be generalised and may be untruthful so lowers validity

AO2 - Limitation

  • The dissimilarity repulsion hypothesis by Rosenbaum said dissimilarities are more important
  • Initial attraction fades when dissimilarities are found 
  • Limits the similarity theory as its not completely accurate


Main assumption

  • The reward/need theory is a behaviourists approach to explain the formation of relationships. It is best described as a learning process and has two main components; classical and operant conditioning. 

A01 - Reward/Need Theory

  • Operant conditioning (direct reinforcement) 
  • suggests there are different consequences
  • Classical conditioning (indirect reinforcement)
  • learning through association with events or moods

AO2 -  Research Support: Griffit + Guay

  • participants did a creative task and rate how much they liked the experimenter 
  • the people who were praised by the experimenter rated them higher (evidence for operant)
  • also rated an onlooker highly (evidence for classical)

AO3 - Limitation

  • This focuses on receiving rewards more than giving
  • Hays found that giving reward is also ‘rewarding’

AO2 - Research Support: Aron et al

  • people measured high romantic love on a self report questionnaire
  • These people also showed strong dopamine activity

IDA- Reductionist

  • Has simplified relationships and broken it down into two suggestions
  • May be other factors such as evolutionary explanations (fundamental goal is to reproduce)
  • Limits the theory of formation of relationships


Main Assumption

  • Duck and Rollie suggested there are several reasons for breakdown and there is also a stage process of a relationship break down.

AO1 - Ducks Reasons for Breakdown

  • lack of social skills, lack off stimulation, maintenance difficulties
  • lack of social skill: poor conversation so cannot portray feelings
  • lack of stimulation: relationship is going different directions 
  • maintenance difficulties: long distance 

AO2 - Conflicting Research: Rohlfing

  • Suggested that this is historically bias (maintenance difficulties)
  • 70% of people in the study had been in a long distance relationship and 90% had  long distance friendship
  • Additionally, Holt and Sone found there is little dissatisfaction if there is regular contact

AO2 - Research support: Boekout et al.

  • Found that lack of stimulation or social skills may be an influence on extramarital affaires
  • Asked undergraduates to rate emotional and sexual reasons to have an affaire
  • sexual reasons more likely


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