Relationships Revision cards

  • Created by: lpether
  • Created on: 26-01-18 12:46

Sexual selection and human reproduction



  • Difference in male and female gametes
  • Females are rarer as they're not continuously fertile


  • Females choose the most attractive male, as they're less choosy (Trivers)
  • Also want there sons to pass on their genes (**** son - Fisher)


  • Competition to have a mate (usually between males)
  • Want to pass on genes with as many women as possible
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Sexual selection and human reproduction - A03


+ Buss: Survey across 33 countries, females wanted resources and males wanted attractiveness

+ Cross cultural, not culturally relative

- Could lie on the survey (Social desireability

Clark & Hatfield: When asked to sleep with someone, women were more choosy (75% of men accepted, 0% of women did)

+ Waist to hip ratio: 0.7 is the most attractive

+ Lonely hearts: meta analysis found women sought resources, men sought looks

- Ignores changing social norms and individual differences

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Self Disclosure


  • Self-disclosure is what you reveal about yourself

Social Penetration theory

  • Altman and Taylor (1973) 
  • gradual revealing of yourself as the relationship develops
  • 'penetrate' more as deeper things are revealed
  • should be reciprocated

Breadth and Depth

  • start with low-risk information, less breadth and depth as subjects are 'off limits'
  • may be too much information too soon otherwise


  • Reis and Shaver (1988)
  • balance of self disclosure between partners builds trust
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Self Disclosure


Research studies

+ Sprecher and Henrick (2004), studied heterosexual dating couples and found strong positive correlations between satisfaction and balanced self-disclosure 

+ Laurencau (2005), studied diary entries, found self-disclosure leads to satisfying relationships

Real life application

+ Hass and Statford (1998), 57% of gay men and women said open and honest maintained relationships  (- but may lie for social desireability

Cultural differences

- Tang et al (2013), found that people in the USA disclose more than collectivist cultures

- Self disclosure can actually help the breakdown of relationships as they talk about their feelings leading to a break up 

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Physical Attractiveness


Babyface Hypothesis - shows signs of fertility in women, can care for young

McNulty (2008), initial attractiveness continued to be important after marriage 

Halo Effect

  • Preconcieved ideas that attractive people are likely to have better personality traits
  • So we behave polietly towards them (self-fulfilling prophecy)
  • e.g. Stewart (1980) found that more attractive people get lighter prison sentences

Matching Hypothesis - Walster (1966)

  • People choose partners that are roughly of similar attractiveness levels as themselves
  • Don't want to be rejected as they're 'out of our league'
  • 3 Stages:
  • 1. more desireable people expect more desireable partners
  • 2. matched couples are likely to have happy enduring relationships
  • 3. Rating their attractiveness against your own decides if you persue them
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Physical Attractiveness


+ Research support for the Halo Effect - Palmer and Peterson (2012)

  • attractive people rated as more politically knowledgeable
  • even after they knew they didn't know much about politics

- Individual differences - Towhey (1979)

  • matched pictures to biological information and said who they would like to target
  • found that attractiveness is subjective 

+ Research support for the Matching Hypotheis - Feingold (1988)

  • Meta analysis of 17 studies found a correlation between attractiveness ratings of partners

- Research contradicting the Matching Hypothesis 

  • Walster (1966), ticket to dance, thought it was for matching personalities, was random, wanted to date more attractive people not considering their own attractiveness
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Filter Theory


Alan Kerchoff & Davies (1962)

Compared attitudes and personalities in short and long term relationships, found three main factors that filter out who is available to us in a field of desireables

1. Social demographic (1st level)

  • Refers to factors that influence meeting in the first place (location, class)
  • Partners usually share these factors, finding them attractive

2. Similarity in attitude (2nd level)

  • Share important beliefs and values
  • Partners under 18 months shared basic values that mattered to them (religion)

3. Complimentary (3rd level)

  • Filling in the traits that the partner is missing, more important later on in the relationship
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Social Exchange Theory (SET)


Thinbault and Kelley (1959)

  • Similar to business trading, if the costs outweigh the rewards than it is likely to fail
  • But if rewards and costs are subjective so possibilities are vast
  • If the rewards outweigh the costs the relationship will be maintained for now

Comparison Levels (CL)

  • The costs/rewards of the relationship is compared to expectations which are based on  previous relationships

Comparison level of Alternatives (CLalt)

  • what other alternatives are available are compared to a current partner and what rewards    they offer
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Social Exchange Theory (SET)


+ 30 students in heterosexual relationships completed questionnaries over a longditudinal period.     Couples that ended had more costs than rewards with the presense of an attractive alternative

+ Expansion on the rewards/needs theory, it explains the consequences of

- Argle (1987) suggests that we dont weigh costs and rewards until we are dissatisfied 

- Miller (1997) found that more commited people spend less time looking at others and have              longer relationships

- Ignores equity in relationships, different to equity theory

- Unclear what rewards and costs are

- Research support uses artificial tasks and environments

- Clark and Mills (2011) suggests that SET only consideres romantic relationships

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Equity Theory


1. The role of equity 

  • Both partners profit is the same, otherwise may be overbenefitted or underbenefitted
  • underbenefitted people are more likely to feel dissatisfied thus it is percieved fairness

2. Equity vs equality

  • it isn't about the size of the rewards and costs but the ratio of them
  • turns into making trade-offs to fairly distribute the ratio 

3. Consequences of inequity

  • there is a correlation between percieved inequity and relationship dissatifiaction 
  • Changing: change what is causing the inequity causing feelings to change
  • Dealing: accept the extra costs and work hard to restore equity
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Equity Theory


+ Utne (1984) surveryed 118 recently married couples measuring equity and self report scales.        Found that those considering their relationship equitable were more satisfied than those                  overbenefitting or underbenefitting. 

- Collectivist cultures were more satisified if they were overbenefitting so the theory isnt universal

- some are happy to contribute more than they recieve - benevolents and some recieve more than    they give - entitileds, so it is a limited explanation as it doesnt cover all relationships

- equity theory is more applicable to friendships rather than romantic relationships

- in a longditudinal study it was found that equity didn't increase over time, other variables                  (e.g. self disclosure) were more important. 

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Rusbults Investment Theory


1. Satisfaction and comparison

  • Satisfaction is based on the concept of comparison level (CL), which is getting more out of the current relationship than a previous one.
  • Also using CLalt which asks if you would get more out of another one?

2. Investment size

  • Intrinsic - resources are put directly into the relationship e.g. money, self disclosure
  • Extrinsic - resources that do not feature but impact e.g. children, shared memories

3. Satisfaction vs Commitment

  • Rusbult (2011) argues that people stay in relationships due to commitment rather than satisfaction, so it explains why dissatisified people stay in relationships. They work to maintain the relationship and repair any damages. 
  • Maintenance mechanisms - accomodation, sacrifice, forgiveness etc. 
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Rusbults Investment Theory


+ meta-analysis found that investment size, commitment and CLalt predicted commitment, with         higher commitment leading to longer relationships, also spanning cultures, gender, faith and           sexual orientation so can be considered universal. 

+ studied women that had been abused, those more likely to return to relationships had higher           commitment and less CLalt. Recognises that they don't stay in relationships for satisfaction.

+ use questionnaries which works with bias because it is about their perceptions of factors and           reality doesn't have to match the beliefs.

- Suggests that the original model is limited as it doesn't recognise future investment

- although research suggests strong correlations do not show causation, so it could be that the          more commited you invest in the relationships. 

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Duck's Phase Model


1. Intro Psychic - "I can't stand this anymore"

  • cognitive processes as the dissatified partner broods over their feelings, weighing up pros and cons and start making future plans

2. Dyadic Phase - "I would be justified withdrawing"

  • Partners have a series of confrontations and air their dissatifaction, may further breakup or decide to repair relationship

3. Social Phase - "i mean it"

  • Breakup is made public and friends are forced to pick sides, may salvage relationship

4. Grave digging - "it is now inevitable" 

  • relationship has ended and partners save face at the expense of the ex partner
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Duck's Phase Model


+ suggests repair strategies that can help support a failing relationship

Rollie and Duck (2006) added a fifth stage where they learn from the relationship, so the original     model is a limited application

- Interviews are conducted after the relationship ends which may affect the recall making it harder    to form conclusions

- Flemlee (1995) suggests that 'fatal attraction' theory may lead up to the breakup, but doesn't tell    us why

- Moghaddam (1993) found that relationships in individualist cultures are more voluntary, hence        relationship breakdown will be different so the model cannot be applied to all cultures. 

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Virtual relationships


1. Self Disclosure

  • different in CMC to FtF, crucial in FtF

2. Reduced cue theory

  • Sproull and Kiedler (1986) suggested that CMC is less effective because the lack of verbal cues that FtF relies on, leading to deindividualisation, and disinhibition

3. Hyperpersonal model - Walther

  • Early CMC relationships diclose more so they become intense quicker but can also break down quicker from lack of trust

4. Absense of Gating

  • Mckenna and Bargh (1999) - less obstacles that CMC has to overcome, could make a fake identity
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Virtual relationships


+ Questions asked online are more likely to be probing which fits the predictions of the model

+ lonely and socially anxious people were able to express their 'true selves' more in CMC

- CMC cues aren't missing they are just differnet to FtF cues, e.g. emojis, suggesting the theory        has a lack of evidence

- levels of self disclosure online differ depending on the site being used, may disclose more on          private websites than public ones, so the theory may lack validitiy

- it isn't recognised as multi-modal as relationships incorporate both CMC and FtF, which ignores      the complexity of virtual relationships 

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Parasocial relationships


1. Level of parasocial relationships

  • The celebrity attitude scale (CAS) by Maltby (2006) defines 3 levels: entertainment social, intense personal, boarderling psychological. 

2. Absorbtion-Addiction Model

  • McCutcheon (2002) suggests that these relationships can make up for personal deficiencies
  • Absorbtion: seeking fulfillment motivates them to focus their attention to identify with celeb
  • Addiction: like a psychological addiction they need to increase their dose to get satisfied

3. Attachment theory 

  • Bowlby's theory suggests that early difficulties lead to difficulties in relationships
  • Insecure - resistant: likely to form parasocial relationships as they want their needs met without the fear of rejection
  • Insecure - avoidant: prefer to avoid relationships altogether
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Parasocial relationships


Maltby - studied adolesent females who worshiped female celebrities whose body shape they         admired, they had poor body image, also extraverted traits wern't associated with intense levels

+ Schmid and Klimit (2011) - similar levels of PS relationshisp to Harry Potter in individualist and       collectivist cultures, so it may be universal and innate behaviours

- While it can describe the type of person, it doesn't say why they develop it so it lacks application

- MuCutcheon (2006) - insecure attachment types were no more likely to develop PS relationships    so the key prediction fails and so does the validity, showing little predictive strength

- Most use self report techniques which can be affected by social-desireablity bais 

- Correlations are relied on instead of causation so there could be a different factor causing it so        there is no evidence that PS is caused by a specific experience

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