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Outline and Evaluate two theories on the formation of relationships.

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Outline and Evaluate two theories on the formation of relationships. The stages of relationships goes from Attraction then leading to formation then leading to maintenance and breakdown/dissolution. One theory being the Reinforcement affect theory states it is a behavioural method of learning. It states operant conditioning where people weigh up rewards directly like psychological needs and hence explained BY operating conditioning. People who are rewarding are liked usually more than the ones who do not reward regularly and normally chosen as potential partners for relationships because they are associated with feeling good rather than the not so rewarding person who could be associated with an unhappy event, they would not be very desirable at all. If the person in question was met 'in a good mood' at the time then this is highly more appealing then when met in a bad mood and then is associated with our own good mood and hence more likely to be willing for a formation of a relationship, this is known as 'the affect'. ...read more.


The reward from a relationship could include sex and being cared for. A cost could be for example effort or a financial investment or a 'missed' opportunity with others. This theory says a relationship produces a profit, and is calculated with rewards minus costs and should produce a positive outcome. The social exchange theory predicts any commitment to the relationship is dependent on the profitability of the outcome. There is a comparison level (CL) that we presumably use where it helps us judge a new relationship and weather its likely to be worthwhile. The CL is a product of our own experiences brought together from other relationships and shows the potential profit in a new relationship and if it exceeds our own CL, then it is seen as a worthwhile action. There is a comparison level for alternatives (CLa) where a person may weigh up any potential increase in rewards for different partners and less costs associated with ending current relationship. ...read more.


This social exchange theory has been used to explain why some women or even men stay in abusive relationships because they simply balance up leaving there abusive partner as being more costly than staying with them. Rusbult and Martz (1995) augured that if investments are high for example young children and alternatives are low like a divorce would lead to a poorer living condition then at present; this makes it less profitable and therefore stay in the relationship. However a strength of this theory could be this theory does explain individual differences in the way people respond to relationships. A study of student friendships found that as much value to rewarding others was as much as to giving. A key factor could be there needs to be a stable equality with giving AND receiving. This could mean equality is more important than wanting to maximise personal benefits. There may be gender differences that could affect the validity of this model. Men might be as attentive as women but in a different way, for example dealing with everyone's feelings minus their own. ?? ?? ?? ?? Aaron Chamberlain ...read more.

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