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’. An indirect reward associated with pleasant circumstances could be explained by classical conditioning as well. Finally reinforcement such as a person could be associated with reinforcement for example providing it; these particular people are liked more and again more likely to enter into a relationship. There are certain human needs which affect social behaviour. Some of these are self-esteem (being valued by others), affiliation (seeking approval) and dominancy (decision making for others). There are also limitations to this model. One being in non-western cultures reinforcement doesn’t seem to appear to play any significant role in relationship building. A good example is Hill found kinship bonds are a lot more important than any satisfaction of one’s individual needs.  So this theory mainly only applies for western cultures where ‘goods’ and physical possessions are important.

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A second model could be the social exchange theory. It suggests relations are developed on the basis of subjective cost - benefit analysis. People exchange resources with the expectation that the ‘reward’ will excel over the cost. 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 ...

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