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Describe and evaluate two or more theories of the formation of romantic relationships

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Introduction

´╗┐Describe and evaluate two or more theories of the formation of romantic relationships (24 marks) One theory of how romantic relationships are formed comes from Kerckhoff and Davis? filter model, which was introduced in 1962. The model proposes that relationships develop through three ?filters? and different factors are important at different times. According to this model, we start off with a ?field of availables? which are all the possible people we could have a relationship with, and then we filter out potential partners for different reasons at different times. So, the ?field of availables? soon becomes a ?field of desirables? and these are those people who we consider as potential partners. The first of the filters involves the social/demographic variables and this is where we tend to pick people with similar educational and economical background to us. Once two people have started going out together, the next filter is the similarity of attitudes and values. This involves filtering out people with different beliefs, values and attitudes to us. The third filter is the complementarity of emotional needs, and this is where we decide how well people fit together as a couple and meet each other?s needs. ...read more.

Middle

They may choose to start a relationship with someone who is different to them because they may want to learn new things that they didn?t know about, or maybe they may have fund it rather boring to date one type of person. However, the idea that we filter out people who are not similar to us may be true to an extent. For example, it does make sense that a person, who loves socialising with people, is likely not to start a relationship with someone who hates socialising because communication may prove to be difficult and the relationship may not be enjoyable. Another theory of the formation of relationships is the reward/need theory which was proposed by Byrne and Clore. According to this theory, long-term relationships are more likely to be formed if they meet the needs of the partners an if they provide rewards. Needs could include; sex and a feeling a sense of belonging. Rewards could include; having fun together and sharing activities. Relationships are more likely to be formed if two people enjoy time spent together and if they find each other?s company rewarding. Rusbult and Van Lange argue that rewards are important in determining if and how a relationship between two people will develop. ...read more.

Conclusion

For example, they may still form relationships even though they know that they may get abused in that relationships. Also, since this study was a lab experiment, the participants may have shown demand characteristics. For example, the participants may have guessed what the research was trying to find out, and so they may have deliberately rated the experimenter high in order to please the research, or in order to prove the researcher?s hypothesis. So, the results for this study may be challenged by some critics because they may say that it does not provide evidence that people like other people because they provide direct reinforcement. Another weakness of this theory is the fact that it only explores the receiving of rewards, whereas Hays (1985) found that we gain satisfaction from giving rewards as well as receiving. Also it does not take into account cultural differences as it is culturally biased. For example, in many cultures, women are more focused on the needs of others rather than receiving reinforcement, so this challenges the idea that both needs and rewards need to be met for long-term relationships to be formed. In addition to this, this theory fails to explain why some people in different cultures form relationships with someone they do not like. ...read more.

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