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Flashcards in The Formation Of Relationships Deck (23)
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what are the 2 sections in the rewards/need satisfaction theory?

rewards and punishments
attraction through association


rewards/need satisfaction theory
describe rewards and punishments

rewarding stimuli produce positive feelings and punishing stimuli produce negative feelings. According to operant conditioning, we are likely to repeat behaviour that leads to a desirable outcome and avoid any that lead to an undesirable outcome. This theory suggests we enter into relationships because the presence of some individuals is directly associated with reinforcement which makes them more attractive to us and so we want to form a relationship.


rewards/need satisfaction theory
describe attraction through association

As well as liking people with whom we share a pleasant experience with, we also like people who are associated with pleasant events. If we meet someone when we are in a happy mood, we are much more inclined to like them compared to if we meet them when we are in an unhappy mood. A previously neutral stimulus can become positively valued beacause of their association with the pleasant event. (classical conditioning)
E.g- meeting someone at a concert-more likely to be happy and so like them and so see them again and them form a relationship


rewards/need satisfaction theory
Research support;
Griffitt and Guay

A study by Griffitt and Guay involved participants being evaluated on a creative task by an experimenter and then being asked to rate how much they liked the experimenter. They found that the rating was highest when the experimenter had positively evaluated the participants performance on the task.
The same study also supported the role of indirect reinforcement (association with positive events).

Participants of the study had to rate an onlooker as well as an experimenter. The onlooker was also more highly rated when the participant had been positively evaluated by the experimenter, as the onlooker was associated with this positive event.


rewards/need satisfaction theory
Research support; evaluate this evaluation point

The word "liked" was used which doesn't necessarily mean they want to form a relationship with the experimenter. However, to "like" someone means to want to spend more time with them which will lead to the formation of a relationship.


rewards/need satisfaction theory
most of the reseach in this area lacks mundane realism

Most of the studies are lab studies so do not show that the reward/need satisfaction theory can apply to real life. It cannot be generalised, this suggests it is a weak theory for the formation of romantic relationships.
However, some studies have been done on real-life couples so show it can be applied to real-life, however this has ethical implications.


rewards/need satisfaction theory
physiological support
Aron et al.

Participant's who measured high on a self-report questionnaire of romantic love also showed strong activity in particular areas of the brain e.g. ventral tegmental.
Early-stage intense romantic love was associated with high levels of activity in reward regions of the brain- rich in dopamine.
Supports the theory as rewarding stimuli gives positive feeling


rewards/need satisfaction theory
How important are rewards?
Asses current relationship

Cate et al. asked 337 individual to assess their current relationships in terms of reward levels and satisfaction. Reward levels were superior to all other factors.
However, the theory only explores receiving of rewards and not giving and you get satisfaction by giving, which goes against the theory.
Not a fully rounded theory.


rewards/need satisfaction theory
cultural bias

Lott suggests that in many cultures women are more focused on the needs of others rather than receiving reinforcement.
This theory is not a universal theory.
Culturally biased.
E.g. arranged marriages


rewards/need satisfaction theory
an evolutionary explanation
Aron et al.

Aron et al. suggested that the brain system associated with romantic love must have evolved to make our ancestors focus their courtship energy on specific individuals-speed up mating processes.
Adaptive behaviour


what are the two parts of similarity?



explain personality

we are attracted to those with personality traits. This is not always the case but research suggests that similarity is the rule, especially in long-term relationships.
Research has shown that married couples with similar personalites tend to be happier


explain attitudes

Fictitious students were liked more when responses on a 26 item attitude survey when they agreed with the person's own responses.
A process called "attitude alignment" often occurs, with partners modifying their attitudes so they become more similar. In order for the relationship to develop.


explain what is the dissimilarity repulsion hypothesis?

dissimilarity was the most important factor in determining whether a relationship will develop. Studies established that participants were first attracted to each other because of similarities but then those who discovered more dissimilarities than similarities became less attracted to each other.



the research has only dealt with attitudes and personality which represents a narrow view of factors which are important in relationship formation. Other factors e.g. physical condition are just as important.


Why is similarity so important?

We believe similarity is important for 2 main reasons;
We assume people similar to us will be more likely to like us and so we reduce the chance of rejection.
When someone shares our attitudes, it validates them which in turn is rewarding.


The matching hypothesis
Social desirability

The more socially desirable a person is, the more desirable they would expect a partner to be


Matching hypothesis

Couples who are matched are more likely to have happy, enduring relationships


Matched hypothesis
Gender differences

Physical attractiveness of women is valued more heavily by men but physical attractiveness of men is valued less. Men can compensate for any deficit in physical attractiveness by other desirable qualities.


Matched hypothesis
The role of 3rd party

People can be influenced by third parties such as friends, family and even internet dating sites. These parties would consider who would make suitable matches


what are the 2 evaluation points of the matched hypothesis proposal?

gender differences
role of 3rd party


what are the 3 evaluaton of similarity?

dissimilarity repulsion hypothesis
why is similiarity so important


what are the 5 evaluation points for rewards/satisfaction theory

research support
mundane realism
physicoloigcal support
how important are rewards
cultural bias