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Relationships The formation, maintenance and breakdown of romantic relationships Theories of the formation, maintenance and breakdown of romantic relationships;

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Presentation on theme: "Relationships The formation, maintenance and breakdown of romantic relationships Theories of the formation, maintenance and breakdown of romantic relationships;"— Presentation transcript:

1 Relationships 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 Evolutionary explanations of human reproductive behaviour The relationship between sexual selection and human reproductive behaviour Sex differences in parental investment Effects of early experience and culture on adult relationships The influence of childhood on adult relationships The influence of culture on adult relationships

2 Reward/need satisfaction (Byrne and Clore, 1970)
We are attracted to people who provide us with direct reinforcement, or who are associated with pleasant events Operant conditioning We are motivated to repeat behaviours that lead to desirable outcomes Classical conditioning Meeting someone when we are happy is more likely to lead to liking that person Some people create positive feelings in others which makes them attractive as partners Previously neutral stimulus (person) becomes positively valued because associated with pleasant feelings.

3 Reward/need satisfaction (Byrne and Clore, 1970)
Research support Longitudinal study of 1900 couples found low need satisfaction reduces relationship progress e.g. cohabitation, marriage, childbirth (Schmahl and Walper, 2012) Research support Heiman et al. (2011) studied 1,000 couples in long-term relationships in five countries. The study showed the importance of physical need satisfaction for men’s relationship satisfaction but not for women. Men reporting frequent kissing or cuddling with their partners were three times as happy as men reporting limited cuddling. For women, such shows of tenderness didn’t have much impact on relationship satisfaction. IDA

4 There is substantial research evidence to support the claim that relationship success is linked to needs satisfaction . For example, Schmahl and Walper, (2012), in a study of couples, found that low need satisfaction reduced relationship progress (e.g. cohabitation, marriage and having children). Knowledge from this theory has been applied in relationship counselling, e.g. Integrative Behavioural Couple Therapy. Couples who succeed in this therapy usually make some concrete changes to accommodate the needs of the other. However, this theory does not account for gender and cultural differences in the formation of relationships. e.g., Lott (1994) found that in many cultures, women are more focused on the needs of others than their own satisfaction. This suggests that although this theory may explain some aspects of relationship satisfaction, reward/need satisfaction alone is an inadequate measure of relationship success.

5 Boosting your AO2 marks through elaboration
Three point rule (identify, justify, elaborate) The claim that need satisfaction may be important in relationship success is supported by research evidence. A study by Heiman et al. (2011) found that physical need satisfaction was important for men’s relationship satisfaction, but not for women’s relationship satisfaction. This suggests that theories that focus on general need satisfaction as a prediction of relationship success may be gender biased as there are gender differences in the type of needs that are important to males and females if a relationship is to be successful. Research support A study by Heiman et al. (2011) found that physical need satisfaction was important for men’s relationship satisfaction, but not for women’s relationship satisfaction.

6 Similarity (Byrne et al., 1986)
We sort people first for dissimilarity and then for similarity. We are attracted to people with similar personalities and attitudes Personality - People are more likely to be attracted to others with similar rather than dissimilar or complementary traits Attitudes – We tend to avoid those people whose attitudes differ too much from our own (sorting for dissimilarity) Caspi and Herbener (1990) – married couples with similar personalities happier than those with less similar personalities Process of ‘attitude alignment’ may occur as one or both partners modify their attitudes to become more similar to each other


8 SUPPORTING RESEARCH Montoya et al. (2008) carried out a meta-analysis of studies of similarity and attraction and found that the effect of similarity on attraction was large and significant. This supports the claim… …that attraction is an influential factor in attraction, and therefore important in the formation stage of a romantic relationship.

Tidwell et al. (2012) studied participants attending a speed- dating event who interacted with members of the opposite sex for 4 min each. Data revealed that perceived, but not actual, similarity predicted romantic attraction. This challenges the claim that… Actual similarity is important when beginning a relationship, and it may be more important in maintaining a relationship instead.

10 Equity theory (Hatfield et al. 1976)
Proposition I: Men and women are ‘‘hardwired’’ to try to maximize pleasure and minimize pain. Proposition II: Society, however, has a vested interest in persuading people to behave fairly and equitably. Groups will generally reward members who treat others equitably and punish those who treat others inequitably.

11 Proposition III: Given societal pressures, people are most comfortable when they perceive that they are getting roughly what they deserve from any given relationship. If people feel over-benefited, they may experience pity, guilt, and shame; if under-benefited, they may experience anger, sadness, and resentment. Greater the inequity, greater the dissatisfaction and the greater the stress and the more they are motivated to do something about it. Proposition IV: People in inequitable relationships will attempt to reduce their distress through a variety of techniques— by restoring equity or leaving the relationship.

12 Scales calibrated on the basis of expectations and comparable relationship experiences
What I put into this relationship – for example…time, commitment, loyalty, domestic duties, earning power, personal sacrifice etc. What I get out of this relationship, for example… loyalty, humour, caring, companionship, loyalty, sexual fulfillment etc. People become dissatisfied with a relationship when their inputs are not matched by a comparable level of outputs from the other partner.

13 Research support

14 The problem of equity sensitivity
Equity theory is based on the ‘norm of equity’ which assumes that everyone is equally sensitive to equity and inequity.  This means that everyone experiences the same level of tension when they experience the same level of inequity; however, this isn’t always true.  The Equity Sensitivity Construct describes a spectrum of varying sensitivities to equity and inequity (Huseman, et. al., 1987).

15 Does inequity predict divorce?
IDA DeMaris (2007) investigated whether marital inequity is associated with later marital disruption. Used 1500 couples from US National Survey The only index or inequity associated with marital disruption was women’s sense of being under-benefited, with greater under-benefit raising the risk of divorce

Threshold: ‘I can’t stand this anymore’ INTRAPSYCHIC PROCESSES Threshold: ‘I’d be justified in withdrawing’ DYADIC PROCESSES Threshold: ‘I mean it’

SOCIAL PROCESSES Threshold: ‘It’s now inevitable’ GRAVE-DRESSING PROCESSES Threshold: ‘Time to get a new life’ RESURRECTION PROCESSES Reframing of past relational life: ‘What I learned and how things will be different’

18 STRENGTHS Positive growth - Traditional models of breakdown focus primarily on the distress caused by break-ups, rather than on the potential for growth as a result of a highly stressful life event such as a relationship breakdown. Sex differences – women report more post-relationship growth than men, possibly due to the greater social support available, although research has shown that increased social support is not associated with growth, nor do women report more social support than men do.

19 Short-term mating strategies (Clarke and Hatfield, 1989)
‘Hi, I’ve noticed you around campus and I find you very attractive.’ Would you go on a date with me? Would you go back to my apartment with me? Would you have sex with me?

20 Long-term mating strategies
Women have an obligatory biological investment in their children, so are predicted to be particularly choosy in their choice of mate. This means being attracted to males who: (i) can invest resources in her and her children (ii) can physically protect her and her children (iii) show promise as a good parent

21 Long-term mating strategies
People do not give away their resources indiscriminately, therefore males would be most attracted to females who display signals of fertility, an indication of their reproductive value.

IDA Buss (1989) explored what males and females looked for in a marriage partner. The study involved over 10,000 people from 37 different cultures including different ethnic, religious and economic groups. Women wanted men as good ‘financial prospects’ For men, physical attractiveness more important Men wanted mates younger than they were For both sexes intelligence was desirable in a mate

23 THE LONELY HEARTS ADS Waynforth and Dunbar (1995) ads in four USA newspapers. 42% male advertisers sought a youthful mate (25% female) 44% of males sought a physically attractive partner (22% female) 50% of women used terms such as "pretty" and "young” (34% males) Men more likely to advertise economic status and earning power.

24 Problems with an evolutionary explanation
Has evolution shaped the human mind in this way? The claims that human behaviour is constrained by mental modules that developed in the Stone Age make sense "only if the environmental challenges remain static enough to sculpt an instinct over evolutionary time.” However, if the environment, including the social environment, is dynamic rather than static — which evidence suggests — then the only kind of mind that makes humans adaptive is one that is flexible and responsive, able to survive, thrive and reproduce in whatever social and physical environment it finds itself in. In some environments it might be adaptive for males and females to act in this way, but not in all. This challenges the claim of these being universal human behaviours.

25 AO2: A cautionary note IDA
Evolutionary explanations of mate preference quote a waist to hip ratio of 0.7 in females as being the ideal indicator of fertility and therefore an important characteristic of mate choice. However, studies have shown that in isolated populations in Tanzania and Cameroon (Dixson, 2006), men consider such hourglass women sickly looking. They prefer WHR of between 0.8 and 0.9.

26 PARENTAL INVESTMENT Important factors
Biological differences and differential consequences of indiscriminate mating for males and females Maternal investment Infant dependence on the mother Investment largely determined by mammalian characteristics Certainty of maternity Paternal investment Focus on courtship and copulation Uncertainty of paternity Danger of cuckoldry Cultural shift from mating to parenting

27 Consequences of maternal investment- Cuckoldry – benefits (e. g
Consequences of maternal investment- Cuckoldry – benefits (e.g. better genes and more resources) and risks (partner violence) to women. Sex differences in sexual jealousy – males greater GSR response to imagined sexual infidelity of partner, females to emotional infidelity (Buss, 1992) Fathers do help out – greater investment by fathers associated with improvement in health and lower rates of infant mortality (Reid, 1997) AO2 Alternative perspectives- Evolutionary perspective limited because male parenting depends on many other factors (e.g. relationship with mother, personality, own childhood experiences etc.)




31 The influence of childhood on adult relationships
Q: Discuss the influence of childhood on adult relationships. (24 marks) AO1 200 words or 8 x 25 word points AO2 400 words or 8 x 50 word points

32 Attachment, caregiving & sexuality
Romantic love in adulthood is an integration of three behavioural systems acquired in infancy (Shaver et al., 1988) ATTACHMENT – later relationships a continuation of early attachment styles because infant acquires internal working model of relationships. CAREGIVING – child learns about how to care for others by modelling behaviour of their primary attachment figure. SEXUALITY – individuals who had insecure-avoidant attachment may develop the view that sex without love is pleasurable.

33 Effects of childhood abuse
PHYSICAL ABUSE – has a number of negative effects on adult psychological functioning (e.g. increased rates of anger and anxiety (Springer et al., 2007) SEXUAL ABUSE in childhood associated with psychological impairment in adulthood, including difficulties in forming healthy adult relationships. Individuals who have suffered BOTH FORMS OF ABUSE – develop a damaged ability to trust people and a sense of isolation from others, which inhibit the development of romantic attachments in adulthood (Alpert et al., 1998)

34 Childhood friendships
A SENSE OF VALUE Children develop a sense of their value through interactions with others, which then determines how they approach adult relationships (Qualter and Munn, 2005) TRAINING GROUNDS Having a friend to confide in promotes feelings of trust, acceptance and a sense of being understood, which are important in adult relationships (Nangle et al, 2003)

35 Research support for importance of attachment style – Fraley (1998) meta analysis of studies found moderate correlations between early attachment type and later relationships. Attachment type may be due to current relationship – explains why happily married individuals are securely attached and break-ups associated with a shift from secure to insecure attachment (Kirkpatrick and Hazan, 1994) Research supports continuous influence of attachment throughout life – expressions of emotions in adult romantic relationships traced back to earlier social development (Simpson et al., 2007) AO2 IDA Animal studies overcome ethical difficulties- Suomi and Harlow (1978) provided evidence of necessity of peer interaction. Rhesus monkeys reared with inadequate peer contact showed social inadequacies as adults.

36 Research supports influence of childhood abuse– Berenson and Anderson (2006) found that abused children had difficulty forming adult relationships, particularly if the other person reminded them of the abuser. Gender differences – Research suggests that girls have more intimate friendships than boys (Richard and Scheider, 2005) and boys’ relationships are more competitive. However, other research suggests differences are over-emphasised. Research supports continuous influence of attachment throughout life – expressions of emotions in adult romantic relationships traced back to earlier social development (Simpson et al., 2007) AO2 IDA Romantic relationships in adolescence can have negative effects (e.g. increased deviance – Haynie, 2003), but other research has shown no effect of romantic relationships at age 20 on romantic relationships at age 30, challenging the ‘training ground’ assumption..

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