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Discuss research into 'understudied relationships', such as gay and lesbian relationships, and mediated (e.g. Internet and txt) relationships

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Discuss research into 'understudied relationships', such as gay and lesbian relationships, and mediated (e.g. Internet and txt) relationships One type of understudied relationship is homosexual relationships. These have been found to be different to heterosexual relationships in certain ways but similar in others by a variety of different research. They may differ in terms of attraction formation, maintenance, or dissolution. As far as attraction is concerned, Davidson found that gay men were likely to look for similar characteristics to those of heterosexual men, and were likely to portray similar characteristics about themselves, such as physical attractiveness and status. Huston & Schwartz found that lesbians were in a similar fashion likely to look for characteristics such as a good personality in the partner, both of which are characteristic of male and female attraction according to the sociobiological theory. It may therefore be that attraction in homosexual relationships is very similar to that of heterosexual relationships. Such attraction may lead to the formation of a relationship. ...read more.


This is reflected by the sociobiological theory's depiction of men as 'spreading their seed' and women as 'tending and befriending' others. As a result, maintenance strategies may differ from homosexual relationships. Huston & Schwartz found that in gay male relationships, confrontational conversation was used as a means of 'sparring' for a higher status, whereas in lesbian couples it was avoided as it would pose a risk to intimacy and cooperation. This is however contested by Kollock et al., who found that the more assertive partner in a lesbian relationship would often use aggressive conversational tactics such as interruption. Homosexual and heterosexual couples may also differ in terms of breakdown. An example of this is the finding by Becker that lesbian relationships often break down when one partner falls in love with another woman, and that the breakup is initiated by that partner. However, another study found that infidelity in homosexual relationships does not necessarily cause disagreement between the partners. ...read more.


is, small differences such as punctuation, capitalisation and the use of 'smileys' are likely to greatly affect the interpretation of the text. Therefore, we may derive as much socially from CM conversation as from face-to-face covnersation. This argument is supported by Walther, who founded that participants reported perceiving slow replies to email as being more intimate than quick responses. This indicates a degree of 'reading between the lines'. However, other researchers have argued that CM relationships cause a 'social vacuum' which cannot satisfy a person's needs with regard to what can be derived from a relationship. They argue that the 'deindividuation' that occurs by means of CM relationships makes it impossible to know the true personality of the other person in the relationship. However, Young argues that this 'deindividuation' is beneficial for those who have low self-esteem or are too shy to initiate a relationship face-to-face, and may allow them to express their feelings in a more secure way before continuing the relationship. Clive Newstead ...read more.

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