Relationships Flashcards Preview

Psychology > Relationships > Flashcards

Flashcards in Relationships Deck (51)
Loading flashcards...


The evolutionary explanation for partner preferences; including the relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour.


Cunningham (1986) - what do males find attractive in females?

He symmetrically varied the size of females faces: eyes, nose and mouth.
Men were more attracted to features associated with young children - large eyes, small noses and chin, narrow cheeks, wide smiles and dilated pupils were also found to be attractive


Waynforth (1995) - what do females find attractive in males?

Masculine facial features including square jawline, ridged eyebrows, small eyes, thin lips and a symmetrical face were preferred by women.


What was found attractive to both?

Young (1998) - symmetry was preferred by both; the overall ‘balance’ look of the face.
Longer-than-average legs were preferred (Pawlowski, 2008) - found that 5% longer-than-average legs were seen as more attractive.


Qualities preferred by men

David Buss (1989) — cross-culture study of partner preference.

Men valued physical attractiveness more than women
Men valued women who were younger than themselves


Qualities preferred by women

David Buss (1989) — cross-culture study of partner preference

Women valued financial capacity of potential partners.
Women found ambition and industriousness/final success more attractive than men did.


Sexual selection

A key part of Darwin’s evolutionary theory, explaining apparent non-adaptive features of animals.

Evolution is driven by competition for mates in which attributed behaviours increase reproductive success.



The differences between male and female gametes.

- socio-behaviourists propose that human reproductive behaviours to engage in casual sex is the consequence to Anisogamy.


Inter-sexual selection

Between the sexes, he strategies that one sex uses to select the other.

Trivers (1972) - points to there greater investment in offspring before and after birth. Poor mate means more costly to invest in.


Intra-sexual selection

Strategies within the sex to promote selection over competition.


Dion et al (1972)

Found physically attractive people are rated as kind, strong, social and successful; leads to self-fulfilling behaviour causing positivity towards them.


Walster and Walster (1969) - Matching Hypothesis Theory

Individuals assess their own value from the view of others. When initiating relationships they make realistic choices (likelihood of acceptance and desirable alternatives).
Best available candidates from those whose social desirability equal theirs. ‘Realistic’ means less chance of rejection.



When a person reveals intimate and/or personal information about themselves to another person.

Collins and Miller (1994)


Types of self-disclosure

Neutral - casual
Intense - personal
Optimum - too personal


Norms of self-disclosure

People should show only moderate levels of self-disclosure in early stages of relationships.
Dertega and Grzelak (1979) - it shouldn’t be so personal that it seems in discriminate for telling a stranger nor so impersonal they cant learn.


Cooper and Sportolari (1997): Disclosure online

‘Boom and Bust’ - the ‘anonymity’ of online interactions can promote a comfort to reveal mor personal information that face-to-face interactions.
Relationships can get intense quickly and trust and experiences are not their to give a foundation for the relationship.


Buss (1989)

Investigated what males and females looked for in a long-term partner.
-10,000 people form 37 cultures where asked to rate 18 characteristics using the 4-point scale (3=very important. 0=irrelevant).
- women desire men with financial prospects.
Men desired women with youth and physical attractiveness.


Collins and Miller (1994)

Using meta-analysis they found the self-disclosure has a central role in the development and maintenance of a romantic relationships. People disclosure at intimate levels and it had a ‘halo’ effect meaning people liked those they’d ‘given’ to and those who had ‘given’ back.


Sprecher (2013)

Investigated whether reciprocal self-disclosure was more influential in determining attraction
156 US undergraduates took part in the experiment based on self-disclosure over Skype — they took turns in asking and answering questions (reciprocal condition).
They assessed each interaction ( liking, closeness, similarities and the enjoyment).
Conclusion = turn taking extended reciprocity and resulted in a positive outcome.


Filter theory

We choose romantic partners by using a series of filters that narrow down the ‘field of avaliables ’ from which we might eventually make our choices.



Are criteria which help people to sift through all potential partners to choose the right one.


Social demography (1st filter)

Refers to factors that affect the chances of partners meeting e.g. social background, geographical locations, ethnicity, social class, religion etc.
Proximity effects availability.
Homogamy =relationships with someone culturally similar.


Similarity in attitudes (2nd filter)

Having social defines in common means they are likely to hold similar attitudes and beliefs


Complimentary to of needs (3rd filter)

The ability of each partners to meet each others needs.


Kerckhoff and Davis (1962):Procedure

Longitudinal study of 94 student couples in short-term relationships in the US. Each partners completed two questions (similarity of attitudes and complementarity of needs).
7 months later the did another questionnaire to assess how close they felt to their partner.


Kerckhoff and Davis (1962):Findings

For short-term couples (less than 18 months) similarity of attitudes and beliefs was the most significant predictor for closeness.
For long-term (more than 18 months) complementarity of needs predicted how close they felt about each other.
- Helps determine the levels of filters


Social Exchange Theory

Profit and loss - focuses on the rewards of a relationship against the costs of a relationship. Those with greater rewards are most likely to be satisfied with the relationship.


Comparison Level (CL)

Used to judge whether someone offers something better or worse than expected.
If a potential profit is greater than the comparison level the relationship will be judged worthwhile.
Previous unpleasant relationships can cause lower comparison levels.


Comparison Level of Alternatives (CLA)

Assessed profit of a relationship this is when the person weighs up a potential increase in rewards from the different partner minus any cost with ending the current relationship.


Equity Theory

Claims that people are most comfortable when what they get out of a relationship is roughly equal to what they put into it.

Over benefited = may feel pity, guilt, shame etc.
Under benefited = may feel anger, sadness and resentment
Th greater the inequity, the greater the dissatisfaction and stress.