RELATIONSHIPS Relationship formation
Reward/need satisfaction model
Direct reinforcement may encourage the formation of a relationship between individuals. Operant conditioning could occur where an individual is positively reinforced with the potential partner offering pleasant stimulus e.g. smiling. Additionally the potential partner may provide for social needs such as friendship and sex, furthering the likelihood of a relationship developing. Negative reinforcement may be involved where a negative stimulus is removed by the potential partner e.g. if a woman helps a man through a troubled time in his life he may find her more attractive as she has helped to alleviate his negative stimuli. Liking through association : Classical conditioning The potential partner may be associated with pleasant circumstances. If someone was in a good mood and they met another individual, they may associate such other individual with the positive mood, consequently finding them more attractive because of the association. Evaluation of the reward/need satisfaction Advantage Hays: stated that we find value in rewarding others and that we like relationships to be equal. Ethics: research into relationship formation is very unlikely to elicit any significant ethical issues. May and Hamilton supporting classical conditioning: Female students listened to pleasant music, unpleasant music or no music while rating the appearances of photos of male strangers. Those who rated while listening to the pleasant music rated the strangers as better looking. Disadvantage Cultural differences: non-western relationships are less focused on individual rewards. Gender differences: women have been found to want to meet the needs of others more than men. Scientific method : study lacks ecological validity where is doesn’t reflect a real-life situation or conditions. Internal validity: only photos were used
Nurture: ignores natures influence e.g. evolution upon attraction Reductionist :relationship initiation broken down into stimulus and response. Deterministic : associations may be made outside their control, influencing who they like
Adam D. Clarke www.brain-freeze.co.uk
The Matching Hypothesis
Walster A persons search for a partner is influenced by what they want in a partner and who they think they can get as a partner. The more socially desirable a person is, the more they would expect their potential partner to be. In this sense, most people are in fact influenced by their chances of having affection reciprocated. This relates to how someone may feel that another individual is ‘out of their league’, where they deem the chances of such individual returning their affection as low. Overall the initial attraction towards someone would be determined by a comparison between the other persons attractiveness and their own attractiveness. Those that are matched in social desirability are more likely to interact affectionately and consequently are more likely to initiate successful relationships than individuals that are mismatched on attractiveness levels.
Evaluation Advantages Walster dance study: everyone reacted positively to physically attractive dates and were more likely to to arrange subsequent dates with them regardless of intelligence and personality. Matching in the real world: strong correlations for attractiveness scores in actual couples. There is similarity between each partner’s levels of physical attractiveness. The stronger the match, the more committed the couple were. Disadvantages Reductionist :people may pair up based on personality rather than physical attractiveness.
Gender difference: physical attractiveness valued more by men than women, where men can compensate with resources if they lack physical attractiveness.
Hatfield and Sprecher: in the real world, third parties influence matching where parents can match children. Cultural bias: study based only on American behaviour.validity: Walster study lacks realism