Theories of the formation of romantic relationships

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Formation of a relationship can be explained through socio-biological theory or reinforcement theory.


First theory is reward/need theory which explains that people form a relationship if they associate their partner with the good felling they had when they meet him.Reinforcement theory is suggested by behaviorist approach as they suggest that we learn to have a good felling if we experienced it once with that person.Research which supports this is by Hamilton who found out that a group of women who were listening "happy" music had rated more attractive males which they saw while the one who listened to "sad" music had rated much lower. This suggest that association with good felling is significant formatting a relationship. However the research can be criticised because it does not take into account individual differences such as women had different types of men they liked but as well they may not all found "happy" music nice. Further criticism is that research was done on females which means there was gender bias so it can not be generalised to the population as man where not taken into account. Further research was by Veitch who as well had two groups where participants met a "stranger". First group has met in a "comfortable" area while the other in a "uncomfortable" and the first group had more positive feelings with the "stranger".However as it was a laboratory experiment it lack ecological validity as participants could not relax and act naturally.  A further explanation of reinforcement explanation is that if a partner is getting rewards from the partner he will fell better about himself which will led to having an overall good felling and a formation of a relationship. Foa and Foa would suggest that rewards are most like to be status;love;money or any other agreement between the couple. Criticism of reinforcement theory is that it is too reductionist as some relationship/behaviours are not as simple so…


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