Formation of a romantic relationship Essay

Submitted By Kirsty-Dean
Words: 787
Pages: 4

Formation of a romantic relationship (24 Mark)
There are many suggested ways in which to form a romantic relationship. In this essay I will be disusing the theories of Reward/Need satisfaction theory (Byrne and Clore)and Similarity (Byrne, Clore and Smeaton).
The Similarity Theory was developed by Byrne, Clore and Smeaton. According to this theory, similarity promotes liking in a person and suggests there are 2 stages in order to form a romantic relationship. Firstly, potential partners are sorted for dissimilarity. This sorts out those who have personality and attitudes traits which are very different from your own and therefore can be eliminated. Secondly, from those remaining, we are more likely to choose those who are similar to us and who we know.
Research has suggested that we are more likely to be attracted to those who have similar personality traits to us than those who are too dissimilar. However this is not always the case as very often we see couples who are very different from one another, this may be true but the theory suggests that for it to be a successful, long-term relationship similarity is often the rule. This is proven in married couples as those with similar personality traits were found to be happier than those who has less similar traits.
Evaluation of this study has shown that even across different cultures (in Singapore and the USA) studies established that couples will be drawn together through their similarities but as the relationship progresses and dissimilarities are discovered the relationship has broken apart. This proves the similarity theory as it shows that couples who are too dissimilar have a less chance of sustaining a relationship, again proving that similarity is the key.
Similarity is proven to be important in the formation of a relationship as we assume that those who are similar to us are more likely to like us. This way there is less chance of rejection. Also, because others around us share the same attitudes and beliefs we feel it validates our claims and this in turn is rewarding.
Another theory of forming a romantic relationship is the Reward/Need Satisfaction Theory Byrne and Clore found that when ppts are asked why they love their other halves, the usual response is that we find them loving or supportive. This suggests that we are attracted to those who we find satisfying or gratifying to be around. The 2 main ways developed by Byrne and Clore of developing a relationship is either through operant conditioning or classical conditioning.
Operant conditioning means that we are likely to repeat behaviours that lead to positive outcomes and therefore if we feel good when we are around a certain person we are often to repeat this as it has lead to a desirable outcome. Therefore creating the beginning of a relationship. The theory suggests that we have entered into this relationship as the person has acted as a desirable stimulus, which makes us happy, therefore we have reinforced this and the individual has become attractive to us. To evaluate this, a study that asked ppts to rate