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  • A2 Psychology Unit 3 Relationships Specification AQA-A 1
  • The formation, maintenance and breakdown of romantic relationships • Theories of the formation, maintenance and breakdown of romantic relationships: for example, reward/need satisfaction, social exchange theory Human reproductive behaviour • The relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour • Evolutionary explanations of parental investment: for example, sex differences, parent-offspring conflict Effects of early experience and culture on adult relationships • The influence of childhood and adolescent experiences on adult relationships, including parent-child relationships and interaction with peers • The nature of relationships in different cultures Example of an exam question: 3 (a) Outline one or more theories relating to the formation and/or maintenance of relationships. (9 marks) 3 (b) Evaluate one of the theories outlined in (a) with particular emphasis on the nature of relationships in different cultures. (16 marks) Target Setting Target Grade______ 2
  • Title of Assignment Mark Target set in feedback. (The tutor’s Achieved comments will identify an area to target. Ensure that you work on this area in your subsequent assignments) Explain how relationships can meet our needs using research from Argyle (1994). (6 marks) Describe & evaluate the filter model of relationships. (12 marks) “The methods used to research relationships need to change as society progresses”. Discuss the methods used to research relationships, with reference to the quote above. (6 marks) Research Task on personal advertisements. (A-U) What are the ethical implications of these studies on the differences in reproductive behaviour? (6 marks) b) How can 3
  • these differences be explained? (6 marks) Group Research on the Continuity Hypothesis. (A-U) End of topic assessment Relationships Relationships are of a great interest to Psychologists because there are individual differences. What characteristics do you find attractive in a 4
  • There are some common features that most people find attractive; for example, signs of fertility such as hip-to-waist ratio and symmetry. Within this topic, we are going to consider how relationships are formed, maintained and ended. We will consider two theories of relationship formation (Matching Hypothesis & Reward/Need), two theories on maintenance (Social Exchange & Equity) and two theories on breakdown (Duck & Lee). The Formation of Relationships Many social psychologists have studied why relationships form. The scientific study of this moves away from the beliefs that relationships depend on deep feelings and shared emotions. Alternatively, the theories emphasise self interest and rewards gained. Matching Hypothesis Do you think we judge a book by its cover? Explain your answer. This theory was proposed by Goffman in 1967. The main idea is that we are attracted to people who are socially desirable, i.e. physically attractive, have economic potential, have high social status etc. However, we do not strive for the most socially desirable person because we have a fear of being rejected. Therefore, because we have an awareness of our own physical attraction, we will seek a partner who is on the same level of physical attractiveness as ourselves. Furthermore, we should then have more of a chance of successfully gaining a partner. Social desirability includes a variety of traits including physical attractiveness but why do you think the Matching Hypothesis focuses solely on attraction? 5
  • _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Commentary for the Matching Hypothesis Strengths √ Walster & Walster (1969) √ Murstein (1972) √ Silverman (1971) √ Cash & Derlega (1978) Limitations • • • • 6
  • Rewards/Need Theories There are a number of reward/need theories that are based on similar principles. These are that a long term relationship is more likely to be formed if it meets both partners’ needs and provides them with rewards. We have many needs within a relationship and these vary between individuals. It is important that some of the needs are met for both partners otherwise the relationship could fail. Additionally the relationship must be rewarding so that the individuals involved will want to spend time together. Explain how relationships can meet our needs using research from Argyle (1994). (6 marks) __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ The Reward/Need Satisfaction Model (Byrne & Clore, 1970) This theory is based on the principles from Operant Conditioning (OC) and Classical Conditioning (CC). Outline OC 7
  • Outline CC The theory suggests that reinforcement comes from the ability of another person to reward or punish us ( ) or whether that person becomes associated with reward or punishment ( ). List the possible rewards in a List the possible punishments in a relationship relationship Affect refers to the emotions that occur in us as the result of being in a relationship. The theory assumes that most stimuli in life provide either a reward or a punishment and we seek rewards but avoid punishments. REWARD = POSITIVE FEELINGS = POSITVE EVALUATION = LIKE PUNISHMENT = NEGATIVE FEELINGS = NEGATIVE EVALUATION = DISLIKE Neutral stimuli (people around us who we have not met before) are associated with the feelings we have at the time and are therefore are either positively or negatively evaluated. Some people affect us directly and we like those who reward us. Therefore, we will enter into a relationship because we associate reinforcement with them and this creates positive feelings. These feelings make the person more attractive and appealing. Our mood can also affect whether we like someone or not. We are more likely to be fond of someone if we meet them when we are in a happy mood. What non-verbal signs show that a person is happy? 8
  • A neutral stimulus can become positively valued if they are associated with a happy event. The balance of both positive and negative is important in relationship formation and relationships where the positive outweighs the negative will__________. Relationships where the negative outweigh the positive will _______. Evaluation • Hays (1985) examined student friendships and found that being rewarded was important. However, it was also found that rewarding the other person was important too. • Lott (1994) suggested that women are socialised into being more attentive to the needs of others rather than towards gratification of their own needs. • Griffit & Gray (1969) conducted an experiment where participants were given a task. The experimenters then rated the participants on how well they performed. The participants then rated the experimenters. It was found that the scores were highest when the experimenter had been positive. Onlookers were also rated positively by the participants when the experimenter gave a positive evaluation. • Cunningham (1988) conducted an experiment where men watched either a happy film or a sad film. It was found that men who watched a happy film later interacted with a female confederate positively and disclosed more than if they watched the sad film. • This theory only looks at receiving reinforcement and claims that it is a one way process. However, this is not the case in many relationships for they depend upon interaction. • This theory is only based on certain types of relationships and it is difficult to apply it to other types. E.g. family relationships are rarely based on rewards. Research Task Using the resources provided you are to research the Filter Model (Kerckhoff & Davis, 1962). Using what you have found out you are to answer the following question. Describe & evaluate the filter model of relationships. (12 marks) 9
  • __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ __________________________________________________________________ The Maintenance of Relationships The theories in this area of relationships are known as the ‘economic theories. These theories look at how much people are putting into the relationship against how much they get out of it. They propose that people may choose to end a relationship of a better deal comes along. 10
  • Social Exchange Theory (Thibaut & Kelley, 1959) This theory claims that relationships are a two way interaction between the partners involved. Profit & Loss – All social behaviour is a series of exchanges and individuals seek to maximise rewards and minimise costs. In society people exchange resources in hope to make a profit. This principle can be applied to relationships: REWARDS – COSTS = OUTCOME Commitment to a relationship is dependent on the profitability of this outcome. Comparison Level (CL) – To help us decide on partners for relationship we develop a CL and this is a standard against which all our relationships are judged. What is CL a product of? If potential profit exceeds CL we will want a relationship and see it as worthwhile. This makes that person seem attractive. If the result is negative, we will be dissatisfied with the relationship and find the person unattractive. What is CL alt? Stages in relationship development Sampling – the costs and rewards of a new relationship are compared with others available. Bargaining – partners give and receive rewards and these test to see if it is worthwhile. Commitment – as predictability increases, partners know how to elicit rewards from the other and costs are lowered. 11
  • Institutionalisation – the norms are set which establish patterns of rewards and costs for each partner. Evaluation Use the resources provided to make notes on the strengths and limitations of the theory. • Rusbult & Martz (1995) • Aronson (1999) • Simpson et al (1990) • CL • Other relationships • Individual differences 12
  • • Ignores social aspects • Selfish nature • Subjective • Ignores fairness • Alternative explanation Equity Theory This was proposed by Messick & Cook (1983) and it suggests that we strive to achieve fairness in a relationship. If inequity occurs we feel distressed. Therefore, people who give a lot in a relationship but do not receive the same in return will feel frustrated and be dissatisfied. It is 13
  • still the same if a person is receiving a lot in a relationship, again this is inequity and both partners will become dissatisfied. The greater the perceived inequity, the greater the dissatisfaction. Equity does not mean the same as equality. It is possible for each partner to contribute and receive very different amounts and the relationship can still be equitable. Why do you think this is so? What is considered fair in a relationship is largely subjective for a person’s perception of what is fair can be different to another’s. What are the 4 principles of equity theory that Walster et al (1978) proposed? • • • • If inequity is perceived in a relationship, we are motivated to restore it and there are number of ways that this can be put right. • Change the amount we can put into a relationship. • Change the amount we receive from a relationship. 14
  • • Change our perceptions of the inputs and outputs in order to restore the appearance of equity. • Our partner may convince us that our perception of relative input and output is wrong. • We may compare our relationship with our CL for other relationships. Evaluation • Hatfield et al (1979) found that underbenefited newlyweds expressed the lowest level of satisfaction, overbenefited were the next and those who perceived an equitable relationship had the highest level of satisfaction. It was also found that equity may be more important for females than males. Why does this not support the equity theory? • Equity becomes less of an issue in long term relationships. Clark & Mills (1979) suggested that short term relationships are based on the principles of exchange whereas longer term relationships are governed by a desire to respond to a partner’s needs. These are known as communal relationships; there is still a concern with equity, but partners tend to believe things will even out in the long run. • It has been criticised for having a mechanistic view towards relationships. People are not always rational decision makers when it comes to relationships they tend to be influenced by strong emotions. • Moghaddam (1998) suggests that these ‘economic’ theories only account for Western relationships and then only to short term relationships among individuals. • DeMaris (2007) 15
  • • Van Yperen & Buunck (1990) • Dwyer (2000) • Miell & Croghan (1996) The Breakdown of Relationships Why do relationships fail? Reasons for Relationship Breakdown • Lack of skills – if a person does not possess the social skills then a relationship can breakdown. They may be poor conversationalists, poor at showing interest or generally unrewarding in their actions (Duck, 1991). This could cause breakdown because there is a lack of stimulation; therefore they are not rewarding them. Baxter (1994) 16
  • supports this and found that boredom or feeling that a relationship is going nowhere can lead to breakdown. People expect relationships to change and develop, if they don’t a relationship can be ended or they can begin to have a new one/affair. • Maintenance difficulties – a relationship can breakdown if partners cannot maintain close contact. List examples when you think this could occur. Shaver et al (1985) found this was true of couples where one went to university. However, Felmee (1995) offers a different explanation, the ‘theory of fatal attraction’. This suggests that the things/habits that made you fall in love with someone will eventually become annoying and result in dissolution. Duck (1999) A stage model was proposed to illustrate how relationships can breakdown. Use the textbooks to research these stages and put them into the flow chart. 1. 2. 3. 4. 17
  • Evaluation • It shows that dissolution is not a sudden step but that it is a process. It also says where a relationship should be repaired (i.e. intra-psychic phase) by re-establishing liking rather than trying to correct behavioural faults. • It does not say why relationships breakdown or what the experience of breaking up is like. Akert (1998) studied this and found that if both partners were involved then the physical symptoms lessened. Research studies into relationship dissolution • Stages in relationship breakdown (Lee, 1984) – This is a research study relating to relationship dissolution so can be an AO1 or an AO2. Make notes on Lee’s study and include the following: Who was studied? What were the 5 stages? What were findings about the specific stages? 18
  • This study can be criticised because the sample was biased. The participants were unmarried and one has to question why they were. Maybe the sample represented couples who are not committed. “The methods used to research relationships need to change as society progresses”. Discuss the methods used to research relationships, with reference to the quote above. (6 marks) _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Sexual Selection and Human Reproductive Behaviour • Evolutionary Basis of Physical Attraction There has been much research into what people find physically attractive and it is widely accepted that our evolution plays a major role. Cunningham (1986) investigated what types of female facial features males found attractive. He found that features associated with young children were found to be most attractive, for example large eyes, small noses and chins. This suggests that males may be attracted to youthfulness. However, features linked to maturity were also found to be attractive, such as, prominent cheekbones and narrow cheeks. Other attractive features were dilated pupils and wide smiles. Waynforth (2005) found that typically masculine facial features were found to be most attractive to women, for instance square jaw, ridged eyebrows, small eyes and a symmetrical face. Facial symmetry has been found to be an important aspect in attraction for both men and women (Bruce & Young, 1998). 19
  • There have also been studies into attraction within cultures. Langlois et al (2000) _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Furthermore, body shape has been investigated (Singh, 1993; Gross, 2001; Pawlowski, 2008). _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ • Partner Selection According to the theory, what do males and females seek in partners? Study Methodology Males seek… Females seek… Dunbar & Waynforth (1995) 20
  • Buss (1989) Bailey & Zucker (1995) Kendrick et al (1995) Sprecher (1998) Research Task Collect the personals pages from local newspapers. Draw up a tally chart looking at the different preferences that men and women seek. You can choose to focus your research on heterosexual or homosexual individuals. Aim to focus your research by picking out one or two characteristics e.g., youth, physical attractiveness. Remember to operationalise your variables! Use the tally chart below to record your findings and then note your conclusions underneath. Be prepared to share these with the rest of the class. Group 1 Group 2 Sought… 21
  • Did not seek… My conclusions are… _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ • Differences in Reproductive Behaviour We are going to consider four main differences in reproductive behaviour between men and women. 1. Casual sex – men are much more likely to engage in casual sex when compared to women (Buss & Schmitt, 1993), meaning more short term relationships and one night stands. Clark & Hatfield (1989 & 1990) conducted a number studies looking into this. They had strangers approaching members of the opposite sex, on a university campus, with one of three requests. a. To go out with them that night b. To go back to their house with them c. To have sex with them The results were: Request Men who said yes (%) Women who said yes (%) a 50 50 b 69 c 75 0 22
  • Buss & Schmitt (1993) have also found that lesbians are unwilling to agree to casual sex. 2. Number of sexual partners – men tend to desire a greater number of sexual partners than women do. Buss & Schmitt (1993) asked men and women how many sexual partners they would like over the two years. Men sought 8, whereas women sought 1. When asked over a lifetime, men would like 18 on average compared 4 to 5 for women. 3. Differences in sexual jealousy – both males and females feel jealous at a betrayal but what counts as a betrayal is viewed differently between the sexes. Buss (1993) asked males and females to imagine one of two scenarios; their current partner having sex with someone else or being in love with someone else. They measured their GSR and found that men showed a higher stress response to the former whereas as women the latter. Schutzwohl (2004) found that men were more distressed with sexual infidelity whereas women were more concerned with emotional infidelity. 4. Sexual fantasies and dreams – Ellis & Symons (1990) found that men are more likely to have more sexual dreams that women and these tended to include multiple and anonymous partners. a) What are the ethical implications of these studies on the differences in reproductive behaviour? (6 marks) _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ b) How can these differences be explained? (6 marks) 23
  • _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Parental Investment Theory (Trivers, 1972) The focus of this explanation is reproduction and humans invest a great deal in their offspring (parental investment). Can you think of examples of parental investment? • • • • Due to the heavy parental investment of females, they tend to only have a few children in their lifetime; therefore it is important for them to have a partner who will look after them and their offspring (provide resources). This will help to ensure the survival of their offspring. 24
  • In comparison, males have a relatively low parental investment and there reproductive capacity is virtually infinite. Therefore, we might expect males to be concerned with quantity rather than quality and keeping the contributions to each individual relationships low. However, males do exercise a certain amount of choice for they must be sure that there partner is fertile and faithful. The male would not want to be tricked into raising another man’s child as his own. Commentary on the Parental Investment Theory • This theory helps us to understand mate preferences… • It explains why men engage in short-term relationships… • It explains the differences in sexual jealousy… • The theory is inflexible… • It does little to explain homosexual relationships… 25
  • Sexual Strategies Theory (Buss & Schmitt, 1993) This theory builds upon the theory of parental investment and states that, due to the differences in investment, there will be a difference in mating behaviours. They said that we use a range of strategies for mating and these are dependent on the situation, i.e, long or short-term relationship. Short-term strategies Long-term strategies Star Study – Norman & Kendrick (2006) 26
  • Methodological Issues Ethical Issues Evaluation of the Sexual Strategies Theory • This theory acknowledges that women have short-term relationships and affairs, unlike the parental investment theory. • Dawson & McIntosh (2006) studied internet personal advertisements and found that males and females who offered evoluationary advantageous qualities (material resources and physical attractiveness) tended to decrease their emphasis on socially based characteristics. Furthermore, those who were weaker on the evolutionary benefits emphasized their socially based advantages. Therefore… _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ • Some reproductive behaviours are said to be rooted in genetics and exist today due to their reproductive advantages, e.g. female choosiness. Bell (2002) argues… _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ 27
  • The Influence of Childhood Experiences and Adolescent Experiences Continuity Hypothesis Recall: The internal working model Attachment style Type A Type B Type C • Relationships with Peers What are the benefits of having friends? 28
  • Relationships with peers are known as horizontal relationships for they are between people of equal knowledge and power. These relationships provide the individual with opportunities to develop their ‘social competence’. _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Continuities to Adult Relationships _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ 29
  • _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Continuities to Adulthood Star Study – Hazan & Shaver (1987) 30
  • Methodological Issues Ethical Issues Evaluation of the Continuity Hypothesis ______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ 31
  • _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ The Nature of Relationships in Different Cultures What is meant by the term culture? 32
  • _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ What is your perspective of love? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ Where do you think you have learnt this from? _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ The Psychology of Arranged Marriages Arranged marriages are the most common forms of marriage arrangement in collectivist cultures and Iwao (1993) noted that one in four marriages was arranged in Japan Batabyal (2001) conducted large scale research into this in Asia and he suggests that they are based on the idea that young people are unlikely to make the right choices when it comes to long- term relationships. It is thought that they are likely to choose a partner on the basis of attraction which is unlikely to produce a long-lasting and stable relationship. Consequently, these decisions are made by parents or well wishers and there is a process to this (although it can vary in different cultures). The first stage is identification by the well wishers and this is where a range of candidates are presented based on family and economics. These are presented to the person wishing to marry, agent, and modern arranged marriages involves the agent having a great deal of choice. If they refuse the partner the well wishers will continue to look for a candidate of a higher quality. Using the textbooks, read the information on the topics 33
  • below and make notes on them. • Arranged marriages in collectivist cultures _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ • Arranged marriages in individualistic cultures _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ 34
  • _______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________ • Relationships as economic alliances Sometimes relationships are based on negotiation and economic transaction. A long standing practice that continues in some parts of the world today is the dowry system and it was common practice in the UK till the 19th century. Srinivasan and Lee (2004) studied people attitudes of the dowry system in India and found that it was becoming more widespread despite urbanisation. Additionally the size of the dowry was increasing and of 4063 women studied, almost 2/3 disagreed. Revision Grid Area Keywords Formation, maintenance & breakdown 35
  • Relationship between sexual selection & human reproductive behaviour Evolutionary explanations of parental investment The influence of childhood and adolescent experiences on adult relationships The nature of relationships in different cultures Glossary 36
  • 37
  • Notes 38
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