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Describe and Evaluate two theories of the formation of romantic relationships

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´╗┐Describe and Evaluate two theories of the formation of romantic relationships In 1970 Byrne and Clore came up with the idea of the reward/need satisfaction theory for the formation of romantic relationships. The believed that the formation of relationships was linked with the idea of classical and operant conditioning, with operant conditioning we are likely to repeat behaviours that leads to a desirable outcome and avoid behaviours that lead to undesirables ones, so we enter relationships because the presence of some individuals is directly associated with reinforcement, they make positive feelings in us, which makes them more attractive to us. For classical conditioning, we tend to prefer people who we associate with pleasant events, so for example if we meet someone somewhere where we are having a good time, then we will associate this person with this good time and find them more attractive in the long run. ...read more.


This study provides support for both reinforcement ideas and association ideas. Although lab experiments do not necessarily show that the principles of reward/need theory simply apply to real life, the studies lack mundane realism. However some studies have been conducted on real life couples and have tended to support these claims (Caspi & Herbener 1990) Another basic problem with the reward/need satisfaction theory is that it only explores receiving rewards, whereas Hays (1985) found that we also gain satisfaction from giving as well as receiving. Furthermore, reward/need satisfaction theory does not account for cultural and gender differences in the formation of relationships. Lott (1994) suggests that in many cultures women are more focused on the needs of other rather than rewarding reinforcement. ...read more.


They completed several questionnaires over 7 months which reported on attitude similarity and personality traits with their partner. They found that attitude similarity was the most important factor up to about 18 months into a relationship, after this time psychological compatibility and the ability to meet each other?s needs became important, supporting the idea of the filter model. The filter model is a useful way to think about factors that are influential in relationship development and when they might come into play. It also emphasises the importance of demographic factors and similarity of attitudes and values as filters in development of relationships, evidence shows this continues in relationship survival. However the division of relationships into stages fails to capture their fluid and dynamic nature. Real life relationships flow seamlessly. Some may develop faster and others slower than the filter model suggests. ...read more.

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