What is anisogamy and how does it relate to sexual selection?
Differences between male and female sex cells.
Males- small, mobile continuously reproduced from puberty to old age
Females - larger, static, produced at intervals for a limited number of years
What is the preferred mating strategies for males and females?
Males - intrasexual selection (mate competition). Compete with other males for access to females. Quantity over quality - males more interested in young fertile females.
Females - intersexual selection (mate choice) women invest more (choosey). Choose a male based on a given trait which indicates genetic fitness. Will choose males who can provide resources, protection, security etc
What is meant by the ‘runaway process’ and the ‘sexy sons hypothesis’?
Women choose a mate based on a given trait that indicates genetic fitness. This trait will then be passed on to offspring until over the generations the trait becomes more common
Females chose the fittest male, and will then produce the fittest offspring
The offspring will then mate with the fittest of the opposite sex
AO3 Why does sexual selection theory not take social and cultural differences into account?
Social norms of sexual behaviour change more rapidly than evolutionary timescales and come about due to cultural factors. Women have a greater role in the workplace, which means their preference may be less dependent on resources. (Bereczkei et al 1997). Chang et al found that over a period of 25 years many preferences changed but may stay the same - in line with social changes in that time.
Mate preferences may be a combination of evolutionary and cultural influences.
A theory that does not take both into account is limited
AO3 Clark and Hatfield (1989) provide strong support for the inter intrasexual selection. Explain why
Male and female psychology students approached other students across campus. They approached other students with the question: I have been noticing you around campus. I find you very attractive, will you go to bed with me tonight?
No females answered ‘yes’
75% of males answered ‘yes’
Supports sexual selection as it shows that women are choosier than men and males hab evolved behaviour to ensure reproductive success
AO3 How do findings from lonely heart studies support predictions from sexual selection theory
Waynforth and amp: Dunbar - studied lonely heart adverts where people advertised what they were looking for and what they had to offer.
Women more than men advertised physical attractiveness and indicators of youth.
Men offered resources more than women did.
Supports predictions that women deem resources important in a partner and men are attracted to youth and fertility.
AO3 Outline research support by Buss for preferences related to anisogamy.
Survey over 33 countries and 10,000 adults. Were questioned on attributes that evolutionary theory predicts should be important for partner preferences. Found that women placed greater value on resource-related characteristics (ambition, financial prospects, industriousness) than males.
Males valued reproductive capacity (looks, youth, charity) more than females. Findings support predictions from sexual selection and can be applied across a variety of cultures reflecting fundamental human preferences.
Briefly explain what is meant by self-disclosure and the role it plays in attraction.
The process of slowly but surely revealing more and more about yourself to a partner. These self-disclosures strengthen the romantic bond between partners.
Self-disclosure is an important aspect of social penetration theory.
Describe this theory.
Altman & amp; Taypr (1973). The gradual process of revealing your inner self to another. In romantic relationships, it involves the reciprocal exchange of information. When we reveal sensitive information we are displaying trust - having the trust reciprocated will allow the relationship to progress. Revealing more and more intimate information allows them to “Penetrate” further into each other’s lives. This results in a greater understanding of each other and increased attraction.
What is meant by breadth and depth of self-disclosure?
These are both important elements to self-disclosure - as these increase partners become more committed to each other.
We disclose a lot at first - superficial, low-risk information. Breadth is narrow at first - lots of topics are off-limits and we don’t want to scare people off. As the relationship develops, self-disclosure depends, encompassing a wider range of topics, culminating in the revealing of intimate, high-risk information.
Why is reciprocity important in self-disclosure?
There needs to be a balance of self-disclosure between partners. This increases feelings of intimacy. Once you have disclosed something, hopefully, your partner will respond in a way that is rewarding (empathy, equally intimate)
AO3 Examine how research into self-disclosure has had real-world applications
Could be used to improve relationship satisfaction. Hass& Stafford (1998) 57% of gay men and women said that honest self-disclosure was the way they maintained and deepened their relationships.Could be used to improve communication skills in individuals who maintain their relationships through small talk - providing more satisfying relationships.
AO3 Evaluate self-disclosure in terms of cross-cultural applicability and the methodology used in research
Predictions of self-disclosure are not universally applicable. Tang et al found that individuals in individualist cultures self-disclosed more (sexual thoughts) than in collectivist cultures. Nevertheless, relationship satisfaction was not impaired.
Correlation VS Causation - Sprecher and amp; Hendrick) We cannot assume there is a causal link. It could be the other way round. (Satisfaction causes disclosure); It could also be a third factor that causes attraction eg spent time together.
Describe the role of physical attractiveness in attraction
Facial symmetry - deemed to be attractive. Indication of genetic fitness (Shackelford and Larsen). Neoticism (baby features). Deemed attractive - brings out a caring response.
What is the halo effect?
The fact that we have preconceived ideas about the personality traits of attractive people - universally positive. What is beautiful is good. Dion et al. physically attractive people are consistently rated as kind, strong, sociable and successful. This belief makes them even more attractive to us - so we behave more positively towards them.
Briefly outline the Matching hypothesis
Individuals do not choose the most attractive people as partners. They compromise and choose individuals who match their own level of attractiveness. We desire the most physically attractive partners for many reasons - we also balance this out against our fear of rejection.
AO3 Research into online dating supports the view that we are realistic in our partner choices. Do you agree with this statement - explain your answer.
Disagree - Taylor et al. (2011). Monitored activity logs on a dating site → people tended to seek dates with individuals who were much more attractive than themselves. Although it does not state whether or not the dates went ahead, the findings do challenge the prediction made by the theory.
A03 Outline findings from cross-cultural studies into physical attractiveness
Cunningham et al. (1995) - The neotenous features have been rated as attractive by males from many ethnic backgrounds. Wheeler & Kim (1997) found the Halo Effect to be just as strong in individualist and collectivist cultures. These findings do support the importance of physical attractiveness - certain female features are deemed more attractive by males across many cultures and societies. Results indicate there may be an evolutionary factor in physical attractiveness.
AO3 Explain the issue of individual differences in physical attractiveness.
Some people place more emphasis on physical attractiveness than others. Towhey (1979) created the MACHO scale, designed to measure sexist attitudes and behaviours. They found that the PPTs who scored highly on this scale were more influenced by physical attractiveness when making judgements on likability. Shows that the effect of physical attractiveness can be moderated by other factors and so challenges the idea that this is important in relationship formation for all potential partners.
A03 Outline research support for the Halo Effect.
Palmer and Peterson (2012) found that physically attractive people were rated as more politically knowledgeable and competent than unattractive people. The effect continued, even when it was revealed that these people had no expert knowledge. Has obvious implications for the political process. The effect has been found to be prevalent in many areas of life confirming that physical attractiveness is an important factor in the formation of relationships - both romantic and not.
What is meant by field of availables?
The entire set of potential romantic partners, all the people we could realistically form a relationship with.
What is meant by field of desirables?
From the field of availables, those who are attractive to us.
What is meant by the law of attraction?
The idea that we find similarity of attitudes attractive.
What is meant by complementarity?
Similarity becomes less important as a relationship develops, and is replaced by a need for your partner to balance your traits with opposite ones of their own.
What is meant by homogamy?
The idea that you are more likely to form a relationship with someone who is socially or culturally similar to yourself.
What is the filter theory?
We narrow down the field of available to a field of desirables by putting people through a set of filters.
Social demography. A wide rage of factors that increase the chances of people meeting (education, class, ethnic group, religion). Although we will meet others from further away, our most meaningful interactions are usually with people nearby. Accessibility is key - requires very little effort. Anyone who is too different will be discounted (leads to homogamy).
Similar Attitudes. Sharing important beliefs and values (partly due to the field of availables). Similarity of attitudes is important especially in the first 18 months (a need to agree over the basics, which leads to deeper self-disclosure). Byrne (1997) Law of attraction.
Complementarity. The ability of partners to meet each others needs - they have traits the other lacks. The need for complementarity is more important for long-term couples. Opposites attraction at later stages. Also gives partners the feeling of forming a whole.
A03 It is suggested that key factors differ at different times in the relationship – how did Winch’s (1958) research support this idea?
Winch (1958) found that similarities of personality, interests and attitudes between partners are typical of the earliest stages of a relationship. Between partners happily married for several years, complementarity of needs is more important than similarity, according to Winch.
A03 Explain why filter theory may be assuming the wrong direction of causality.
The theory assumes that people are initially attracted to each other because they are similar in various ways. It has also been found that cohabiting partners become more similar in their emotional responses over time and also that attitudes become aligned
AO3 Some people suggest that online sites have changed the dating game and the filter theory is no longer valid. Explain what psychologists have found in this regard.
Many relationships now start online and it is suggested that the filtering does not work in the same way. Eg the use of internet etc means that proximity is less important than before
AO3 One limitation of the filter theory is the lack of replication of the original findings. Explain why this.
Levinger (1974) could be down to social changes and difficulties defining the depth of relationships. Originally it was assumed that 18 months was the cut off between short and long term relationships - this may not be the case in all cultures today. Makes the theory applicability to other cultures and relationships questionable
Social Exchange Theory assumes that relationships are guided by the minimax principle - explain this.
Thibuat& Kelley (1959)- relationships are an exchange of goods.
Satisfaction is judged in terms of profit and cost.
Minimise cost, maximise profit
Profitable relationships will succeed whilst unprofitable ones will not.
What does the Social Exchange Theory mean by a Comparison Level?
It is a judgment of the reward level we expect in a relationship.
Determined by past relationships and social norms. Generally, we will pursue a relationship where the CL is high (however people with low self-esteem may have a low CL)
What is the comparison level for alternatives in Social Exchange Theory?
Involves considering if we would gain more rewards and endure fewer costs in a different relationship - assuming we can only choose one partner.
We will remain in a relationship if it is deemed to be more profitable than alternatives.
CLalt depends heavily on ur current relationship - if the costs start to outweigh the rewards then alternatives may become more attractive. Otherwise, we may not even notice them
What are the 4 stages of relationship according to Social Exchange Theory?
Sampling- Exploring rewards and costs through experimentation and observation of others
Bargaining - the start of a relationship, where rewards and costs are negotiated
Commitment - the relationship becomes more stable - costs and rewards increase.
Institutionalisation - partners are settled as the norms of the relationship are established
AO3 Explain research by Clark and Mills (2011) into different types of relationships.
It is argued that exchange relationships may be based on profit and loss. ( work colleagues etc)
Communal relationships on the other hand focus on giving and receiving rewards, without thinking about profit. At the start of romantic relationships, the tallying of exchanges may be seen as distasteful.
SET might not be able to provide a suitable explanation for all types of relationships
AO3 Outline the issue of direction of causality in Social Exchange Theory
It is assumed that dissatisfaction occurs when the costs outweigh the rewards or when the alternatives seem more attractive. Miller (1997) found that people who said they were in a committed relationship spent less time looking at images of attractive people. Furthermore ‘less time looking’ was a good predictor of relationship continuation.
SET may have the wrong direction of cause and effect.
Rather than a lack of profit leading to dissatisfaction, it could be we do not consider the profit until we become dissatisfied.
AO3 According to Hatfield et al. Social Exchange Theory ignores other important factors that contribute to relationship satisfaction. Explain this.
SET focuses on comparison levels but ignores the fact that many partners desire equity. Hatfield et al found that couples in equitable relationships were more satisfied than those who saw themselves as over or underbeniffting. This suggests SET is a limited explanation of relationships, supported by only a proportion of research findings.
A03 A limitation of Social Exchange Theory is that it deals in concepts that are hard to quantify. Explain this.
Research studies tend to operationalise rewards superficially - eg, money - however In reality rewards are much harder to define - they are subjective.
We also do not know what the values of the CL and CLalt need to be before dissatisfaction occurs, which is a key issue in understanding relationship breakdown. The inability to accurately quantify key concepts of SET make it difficult to produce valid research support
Outline the role of equity in relationships.
Most people have a need for equity in relationships
Walster et al argue that equity (the same level of profit) is more important than a balance of cost and benefits. Both over and under benefiting can lead to dissatisfaction.
Under-benefiting can lead to anger and resentment and over could lead to discomfort and shame
Equity is all about the ratio of rewards and cost and not the amount of each.
What are the consequences of inequity?
Sense of inequity impacts negatively on relationships.
The greater the perceived inequity the greater the dissatisfaction.
Changes in equity occur during a relationship. At the start of a relationship, it may feel perfectly natural to contribute more than you receive. If this continues as the relationship develops then dissatisfaction may occur.
Inequity has to be addressed at times. The under benefiting partner will work hard to make the relationship more equitable if they believe it is possible to do so.
The changes could be cognitive rather than behavioural - the partner may change their perception of rewards and costs - the relationships could feel more equitable. The revision of norms can also explain how abuse can become a norm within a relationship eg reframing cruelty as a form of rough treatment for your own good.
AO3 Outline the research support for equity theory.
Utne et al - newly-weds who considered their relationships equitable were more satisfied than those who over-benefitted or under-benefitted.
Appears that profit is not the key issue in judging relationships.
Research supports the central predictions of this theory - proving the validity
A03 Evaluate equity theory in terms of cross-cultural application
Aumer-Ryan et al found that in individualist cultures partners linked satisfaction to equity whereas collectivist culture partners were most satisfied when over benefiting. The assumption of the theory that equity would play a role in all cultures is not supported.
The theory has limited ability to account for all romantic relationships.
AO3 Outline the issues of individual differences in equity theory
Huseman et al suggest that some people are more sensitive to equity than others.
Some partners are happy to contribute more than they get (benevolent), whereas others feel they deserve to be over-benefitted and accept it without feeling guilty or distressed (entitled).
Not only is a desire for equity, not a universal trait it is also subject to individual differences