the formation of romantic relationships

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  • reward/need satisfaction theory
    • Physiological support
      • Aron et al – pps measuring higher on self-report questionnaires of romantic love showed strong activity in the ventral tegmental area of brain
        • Early stage, intense romantic love associated with that region of the brain rich in dopamine
    • Reward/need satisfaction theory
      • Mutual attraction when each partner meets other person’s needs
        • Attracted to people we find satisfying or gratifying
      • Evidence for need/satisfaction
        • Through FB
          • Sheldon et al – FB use +vely correlated with both +ve connectedness and –ve disconnectedness, feelings of r/s satisfaction
            • For rationally connected people, sociability motivates FB use and satisfies their r/s needs
              • For disconnected people, lack of satisfaction through face-to-face r/s might lead to using FB as coping strategy
    • Reward/Punishment
      • People can be stimuli, so negative or positive feelings come attached.
        • Operant conditioning
    • Attraction through association
      • People are more liked when associated with pleasant events
        • Person can also be neutral stimuli.
          • We can learn to like them through association
            • Classical conditioning
              • When +ve feelings outweigh –ve, r/s likely to develop and succeed
                • Opposite, likely to fail
    • Evidence for importance of rewards
      • Griffitt and Guay – Support direct reinforcement. Creative tasks given to Pps, experimenter rated task then pps rated experimenter. Exps who rated tasks highly were rated more highly by pps.
    • Mundane realism
      • Most lab studies lack realism
        • Some e.g. Caspi and Herbener were repeated w/ real life couples and supported claims.
    • IDA – Cultural bias
      • Reward/need satisfaction theory doesn’t account for cultural/gender difs in formation of r/s
        • Lott – Women more focused on the needs of others. Theories are not universal
    • the formation of romantic relationships
      • similarity
        • similarity
          • Similarity promotes liking
            • Byrne’s model – similarity of personality and attitudes emphasized in model
        • personality
          • Likely to be attracted to people with similar personality traits than those with dissimilar or complementary traits – Berscheid & Reis
            • Not always the case, some are complete opposite
              • Similarity often the rule
                • Particularly in long term - Caspi and Herbener
                  • Married couples with similar personalities tend to be happier than those with less similar personalities
        • attitudes
          • Process of attitude alignment
            • Partners modify their attitudes to become more similar
              • In order for r/s to be developed, one or both must modify attitudes so they converge
        • similarity/ dissimilarity
          • Rosenbaum – dissimilarity was a more important factor than similarity in determining whether r/s will develop
            • Repulsion hypothesis (dissimilarity) tested in number of countries
              • This study shows that people are initially attracted due similarity of attitudes
                • As they got to know each other, those who discovered more dissimilarities than similarities became less attracted to each other
        • limitations
          • Research only dealt with attitudes and personality similarity
            • Yoshida – this represents a very narrow view of factors
              • Other important factors: similarity of self-concept, economic level and physical condition
                • People choose partners with similar levels of body fat
        • Why is similarity so important?
          • We assume people similar to us are more likely to like us
            • By ruling out dissimilar people we lessen the chance of being rejected – Condon and Crano.
              • When people share our attitudes and beliefs and beliefs it validates them and in turn rewards us


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