• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Discuss explanations of the formation of relationships

Extracts from this document...


Discuss the explanations of the formation of relationships. 25 marks. Once being attracted to someone, there are many different explanations to why and how the formation of relationships occur. Byrne and Clore (1970) developed the 'reinforcement and need satisfaction theory' which behaviourists may agree with. Byrne and Clore believed that the balance of positive and negative experiences were crucial in relationship formation. Relationships where the positive experiences outweigh the negative experiences are likely to succeed but vice-versa, relationships are likely to fail as they're not being rewarded enough in the relationship. The theory suggests we learn to form relationships with certain people, and they would claim to be able to apply the principles of classical and operant conditioning to this human behaviour. Classical conditioning would explain relationship formation through associations. If we meet people with positive experiences we are more likely to like them and want to form a relationship with them, this explains why people fall in love on holidays, at parties etc. ...read more.


May and Hamilton (1980) asked female students to say how much they liked the look of strangers whose photographs they had, whilst either pleasant or unpleasant music was played. The study fond those who were listening to pleasant music rated men as more attractive than those who were listening to unpleasant music. Veitch amd Grifitt (1979) tested the reinforcement model by arranging for single participants to wait in an experimenter's office while the experimenter 'went on an errand'. The radio was left on and participants heard one of two possible news broadcasts: one positive and one negative. When the experimenter returned the participants were asked to fill in a questionnaire to assess their feelings. Afterwards they then had to rate another supposed students attitudes in a questionnaire, whose attitudes had already been written to be in close agreement or disagreement with the participants attitudes earlier expressed. The study found that those who did the rating with a positive news broadcast were more likely to give a higher rating to the supposed student, regardless to whether or not the attitudes expressed were the same as the participant. ...read more.


The model states that relationships go through three filters: social/demographic variables, similarity of attitudes, emotional needs. The social/demographic variable refers to the fact that we're likely to form relationships with those who are in our social circle and geographical area. So its likely that we'd choose to form a relationship with someone with the same educational and socio-economic backgrounds, religion, culture and politics etc. There are many supporting studies which confirm those from similar backgrounds etc are more likely to sustain relationships, however, it does not mean that it's impossible for people from very different backgrounds to have happy and long term partnerships. The other two filters in the model are more about the maintenance and breakdown of relationships as opposed to the formation. The model has been criticised for being simplistic and it doesn't acknowledge the fluid nature of relationships and the fact that there can be many different factors at work on relationships at any one time. The model focuses on heterosexual, western relationships to may lack cultural and population validity. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Social Psychology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Social Psychology essays

  1. Relationship formation

    On the other hand negative reinforcement is achieved by taking something good away from you such as you split with your boyfriend but to make the sadness go away from splitting up with your partner by sleeping with someone else or going out with someone else (rebound).

  2. The formation of relationships.

    He asked students to share a room for a year, and arranged the pairs of room mates, so they were as different as possible in terms of social background, attitudes, religions etc. he found that despite the differences, most of the room mates formed good friendships by the end of

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work