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Evaluate Theories of the Formation of Romantic Relationships

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Transfer-Encoding: chunked ´╗┐Formation of Romantic Relationships Formation of romantic relationships can be explained in two theories. The theories include the reward, satisfaction theory which focusses on classical and operant conditioning. And another explanation is shown through the filter model which argues that relationships develop through three different filters. The filter model was devised Kerchoff and Davis and suggests relationships from in three different filters. The first filter involves social, demographic variables. This filters out all the people that are from different backgrounds and people who live in other places. It?s the people who you mix with who act as the field of available as they tend to be similar as you live in the same area or work or go to college together. With the small group of available a potential partner is chosen. Once two people have started to go out together the next filter is similarity of attitudes and values. If the couple share ideas and beliefs, communication should be easier and the relationship may progress. ...read more.


Another explanation to the formation of relationships is through the reward, need satisfaction model. This theory was suggested by Byrne and Clore who stressed the reward and satisfaction of needs we receive when in relationships. The formation is based around the behaviourist principles of operant and classical conditioning. According to operant condition if behaviour is followed by a desirable consequence, it becomes more frequent. For instance, if you form a relationship with someone who agrees with your opinion, that provides many rewards and you are likely to form that relationship. We also become attracted to people who are associated with positive events through classical conditioning. These positive events can include compliments or laughter, or anything else that can cause a positive mood. If the person is present when the stimuli occurs then they will be associated with the happy feeling . For instance, if you like parties and you met someone at that party, you would associate the person to the party and are likely to form a relationship because they are paired with aa happy feeling. ...read more.


Overall, both theories can be accused of being culturally biased and ethnocentric. They do not account for cultural differences in the formation of relationships. Many cultures, for example, are more focused on the needs of others rather than receiving rewards. Also in many cultures it is common for arrange marriages to occur. Arrange marriages do not go throughout the steps in the filter model and do not focus on rewards and needs. Therefore, these models do not explain relationship formation as a whole. Also, both theories are deterministic. They suggest that all relationships must be formed either with rewards and needs or through the filter model. Therefore it fails to consider the role of free will and the complexity of human behaviour in that we have the ability to form romantic relationships through other stages and factors. This further reduces the external reliability of the theory as it cannot be sure that it explains the formation of every romantic relationship. In conclusion, the filter model and the reward need theory provides a good explanation to relationship formation. But, with many criticism, they cannot explain the whole of relationships and there must be other factors that contribute to the formation of some relationships. ...read more.

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