Mind Map by otaku96, updated more than 1 year ago
Created by otaku96 almost 6 years ago


A Levels Psychology (Relationships) Mind Map on Relationships, created by otaku96 on 06/04/2015.

Resource summary

1 Formation of Romantic Relationships
1.1 Similarity Theory
1.1.1 This theory suggests that in choosing a mate, we first reject people who are too dissimilar to us, then choose the person most similar to us from those who are left.
1.1.2 The most important factors to be similar on are personality and attitude. In relationships where partners hold different views, attitude alignment often occurs.
1.1.3 Explanations of why similarity is important strengthen the theory. It has been suggested that we like people similar to ourselves because we assume they are more likely to like us too, so chances of rejection are lessened. Furthermore, the reward-need satisfaction theory suggests that holding similar attitudes would be rewarding.
1.1.4 In a lab experiment, participants read descriptions of a stranger and were asked to rate liking of them. The participants rated liking as higher when they were more similar to them. (However - IDA - lab study and related problems).
1.1.5 A competing hypothesis suggests that dissimilarity is more important than similarity (the dissimilarity-repulsion hypothesis). One study found that participants were first attracted based on similarity, then became less attracted to the other person as dissimilarities were discovered. This weakens similarity theory as it suggests that the steps suggested are in the wrong order.
1.1.6 There are the same issues as RNS theory when it comes to cultural and gender differences (IDA).
1.2 Reward-Need Satisfaction Theory
1.2.1 This theory is based on the idea that people have unmet needs, for example, the need for companionship, and when other people meet those needs, it is rewarding. Mutual attraction occurs when both individuals meet the other's needs.
1.2.2 Classical and Operant conditioning are involved, classical conditioning because we associate people with a pleasant experience or feeling, leading to conditioned pleasant feelings when that person is encountered. Operant conditioning is involved because if a person creates positive feelings for us by sharing our views, etc, they become a reinforcer to those feelings and we are motivated to spend more time with them.
1.2.3 Participants were evaluated on a creative task, then asked to rate how much they liked the experimenter. When they were given a high score they rated liking of the experimenter as higher (supports operant conditioning). They also asked participants to rate how much they liked a bystander. Liking of the bystander was also rated as higher when they had been rated higher on the task (supports classical conditioning). However, there are problems with this being a laboratory study, for example, only liking was measured, not how inclined participants were to form a relationship with the person. Processes leading to just liking someone may be different to those involved in choosing a mate.
1.2.4 This theory only explains the giving of rewards and suggests that we are entirely selfish. However, it has been found that we gain satisfaction from giving as well as receiving. This has been especially found for women, who have been found to be more focused on rewarding than being rewarded in relationships. This links into cultural differences: in many cultures, relationships are formed for the good of the family or group, rather than according to individual satisfaction. This suggests that the theory does not hold across gender or culture (IDA).
1.3 Social Exchange Theory can also be put in the context of formation
1.3.1 The process of setting up the cost:reward ratio is sampling (the potential costs and rewards are explored), bargaining (an acceptable ratio is negotiated), commitment (exchange of rewards and acceptance of costs begins) and institutionalisation (costs and rewards become firmly entrenched and there is more focus on the relationship itself.
2 Maintenance of Romantic Relationships
2.1 Social Exchange Theory
2.1.2 This is an economic theory suggesting that relationships are a series of exchanges of things that are rewarding and costly, in the expectation of making a profit. If the relationship is profitable then it will succeed.
2.1.3 The theory includes the concept of a comparison level. This is a standard based on past experience and general expectations that a relationship must exceed in order to be profitable. The comparison level for alternatives is a related concept that suggests that when people in a relationship are presented with another potential mate, they weigh up the costs of ending their current relationship with the rewards of being with the other person.
2.1.4 This theory can be applied to real life situations, as it can explain why women stay with an abusive partner, as if investments in the relationship are high, e.g. financial security, children, and alternatives are low, e.g. nowhere to live, then the relationship might still be considered profitable. This has implications for intervention in these relationships (IDA - application to real life).
2.1.5 The theory is very clinical and suggests that people are only motivated by the desire to make a profit, however, this is not necessarily the case, especially in different cultures where relationships are formed for the good of the community, and thus making an individual profit is not relevant (IDA - culture). However, even in Western relationships it has been found that security is more highly valued than making a profit.
2.1.6 SET ignores many factors to do with relationship maintenance. It cannot explain why some people leave profitable relationships despite having no alternative, and it does not detail how many costs the comparison level can handle before the relationship ceases to be profitable. It also ignores the social aspects of relationships, for example, how partners communicate and interpret shared events. Not taking these factors into account weakens the theory, as it makes it an incomplete explanation.
2.2 Equity Theory
2.2.1 This is another economic theory, that suggests that relationships are profitable when both partners feel it is equitable, that is to say that "benefits - costs" is equal for both partners.
2.2.2 People who give a lot in relationships and receive little in return will perceive inequity and be dissatisfied. For this reason, partners are both motivated to reduce inequity and achieve fairness.
2.2.3 Equity does not necessarily mean equality. It is to do with perceived fairness rather than equal contribution, eg. it might be considered fair that the partner with the higher salary pays for more things for both partners.
2.2.4 The theory is culturally biased, as it has been found that equity does not have the same importance in a relationship everywhere as it does in America. For example, in a study of European students it was found that they preferred equality in their relationships to equity. Therefore the theory appears to be ethnocentric.
2.2.5 An obvious prediction of the theory is that inequitable relationships should lead to breakdown. However, in a longitudanal study of 1500 couples into marital inequity, it was found that marital inequity only correlated with later marital breakdown when the woman felt underbenefitted. The theory, however, suggests that feeling overbenefitted should also lead to dissatisfaction, and does not account for gender differences between women and men (IDA - gender differences). Therefore it is an incomplete explanation of relationship maintenance.
2.2.6 There is a competing proposal that while some relationships, eg. business relationships are economic, romantic relationships are communal, and involve a desire to meet the needs of the partner and the belief that things will balance out in the long term. The theory is deterministic to suggest that people will only seek a profit in relationships, as humans also have an altruistic side, and altruism is often seen as attractive (IDA - determinism).
3 Breakdown of Romantic Relationships
3.1 Duck's Reasons for Relationship Breakdown
3.1.1 Extramarital affairs can be seen as being caused by a lack of skills and stimulation. In one study, participants were asked to think of reasons for infidelity. Factors such as sexual boredom were more often reported by men, whereas women were more likely to blame emotional reasons such as lack of attention. Despite the gender differences, these factors are the type of thing that the theory suggests would cause relationship dissatisfaction. However, there are methodological issues with this research, as participants were only asked to think of reasons, not give reasons for their own infidelity. In the case of actual infidelity, other factors might be more important.
3.1.2 It has been found that when partners' relationship skills have been enhanced, relationships are of a better quality. Fifty couples who received couples coping enhancement training (CCET) were compared to a control group who had not. They reported much higher marital quality after the CCET. This supports the model by suggesting that lack of skills does lead to a lower relationship quality, and suggests a practical application of the theory to real life (IDA). However, the couples receiving training were not on the verge of relationship breakdown, so it cannot be inferred from the study whether lack of skills leads to relationship breakdown or just a lower quality of relationship.
3.1.3 Lack of Skills (such as interpersonal skills and social skills), Lack of Stimulation (such as feeling the relationship is going nowhere) and maintenance difficulties (such as living far apart).
3.1.4 Reasons for Relationship Breakdown does not separate male and female viewpoints. Studies have found that women are more likely to express unhappiness or incompatibility as reasons for breakdown, whereas men are more likely to give reasons such as sexual withholding. The theory does not account for gender differences, thus this weakens it (IDA).
3.1.5 Both these theories have been criticised as being culturally biased as these modes of relationship breakdown are individualistic and may not extrapolate across cultures.
3.2 Rollie and Duck's Model of Relationship Breakdown
3.2.1 Breakdown: dissatisfaction with relationship. Intrapsychic processes: ruminating on dissatisfaction and justifying withdrawal. Dyadic processes: discussion of discontent with partner, uncertainty, anger, hostility. Social processes: seeking third party support, confirming the inevitability of breakdown. Gravedressing processes: saving face, preparing stories, separating lives, strategic reinterpretation, justification. Resurrection processes: establishing what has been learnt and what to seek from future relationships.
3.2.2 This model offers implications for intervening in a relationship and ideally saving it and improving it instead. The model stresses the importance of communication and can help to develop appropriate interventions for each stage (application to real life).
3.2.3 This is a socially sensitive area of research, delving into private matters. Participants in experiments may experience distress at being asked to recall previous breakdowns (IDA).
3.2.4 It has been found that people who instigate relationship breakdown experience fewer negative effects than the person who is being broken up with. This is a criticism of the theory as it suggests the same processes apply to both parties of the relationship.
4 Evolutionary Explanations
4.1 Parental Investment Theory
4.1.1 The premise of this theory is that males and females do not invest equally in offspring, as a female can only have a limited number of offspring and have high childcare requirements, whereas a male can have a virtually unlimited number of children and has low childcare requirements. This leads females to look for quality rather than quantity, seeking a man with resources to bring up the offspring, whereas men look for quantity over quality as they have a large capacity to reproduce and risk cuckoldry if they invest in offspring.
4.1.2 This theory also suggests that men are more upset due to sexual jealousy, due to the risk of cuckoldry, whereas women are more upset due to emotional jealousy, due to the risk that her mate will leave her and she will have no resources to bring up the offspring. Men are more jealous if their rival is high in status, and are thus more likely to express jealousy by displaying resources. Women are more jealous if their rival is attractive, and thus display jealousy by attempting to enhance their physical attractiveness.
4.1.3 Studies into women's sexual behaviour support PI theory and can also explain a desire for casual sex in women. A woman may marry a man with good resources, but seek to provide their offspring with better genes through extramarital affairs. It is difficult to assess this accurately, but an anonymous survey with over 2700 participants suggested that up to 14% of the population are the products of extramarital affairs. This supports the idea that women seek men with good resources, however also look for good quality genes. However (IDA), extramarital affairs are a sensitive subject and people may display social desirability even in an anonymous study, as often people do not even want to admit something to themselves.
4.1.4 Studies showing males' reticent attitudes to parenting support PI theory, as they suggest that a reluctance to settle down with offspring is biologically shaped. Participants were exposed to parenting scenarios and their ANS arousal was measured. Males showed significantly increased heart rate and stress response when exposed to scenarios highlighting the costs of parenting compared to women. However, these results can be from a biological approach, you could also interpret them from a psychosocial approach: men are not biologically less prepared to raise children, just psychosocially less prepared due to societal gender roles, and this is why costly parenting acts as a stressor for them (IDA - approaches).
4.1.5 This theory is very determinist, suggesting that men and women will always act in certain ways (IDA). Humans have higher order thinking skills and seek more out of a relationship than just children. Furthermore, the evolutionary fear of cuckoldry is no longer relevant with modern-day paternity tests. Furthermore, it is irrelevant to other aspects of modern day life, such as homosexual relationships. Therefore, the theory is not generalisable in the modern day.
4.2 Sexual Selection
4.2.1 Intersexual selection: Preference of one sex for members of the opposite sex who possess certain attributes reflecting health, fertility or resources.
4.2.2 Intrasexual selection: Members of the same sex compete for access to members of the opposite sex. The victorious are able to reproduce and pass on their genes.
4.2.3 Short-term mating preferences: Men have a greater desire for casual sex and seek sex earlier in a relationship, as they wish to impregnate as many women as possible to pass on their genes. Women, however, have no desire for casual sex, as their prerogative is to get pregnant by a man with enough resources to look after the offspring.
4.2.4 Long-term mating preferences: Men may eventually settle down and provide resources for their offspring in order to give them the best chance of survival. Both partners will be choosy in the long term: women want a man with good resources and men want a fertile woman they can impregnate many times.
4.2.5 Studies support the idea of the importance of fertility in women for men, as men seem to find women more attractive when they are in their oestrus phase, for example, lap dancers have been found to earn twice as much money when they are in their oestrus phase (however, this is correlational and so causality cannot be assumed. It could be that women feel more attractive and are thus more confident when they are in their oestrus phase).
4.2.6 Evidence has been found to support the theory's predictions on short term mating preferences. In one study, male and female students were asked by an opposite sex researcher: "I find you very attractive. Would you a) go on a date with me, b) come back to my apartment with me and c) have sex with me?" Responses for women were a)50% b)6% and c)0%, whereas responses for men were a)50% b) 69% anc c) 75%. This suggests that men are more inclined to engage in casual sex than women, as the theory suggests.
4.2.7 The theory is very deterministic, as it suggests that men and women will always behave in certain ways. However, modern day humans have higher order thinking skills and seek more out of a relationship than just sex and children. The theory also cannot explain women's desire for casual sex, giving it an inherent gender bias, and does in no way explain homosexual relationships, meaning it is not generalisable in the modern day (IDA).
5 Effects of Early Experiences
5.1 Childhood: Parent-Child Relationships
5.1.1 Romantic love in adulthood is related to childhood attachment, caregiving and sexuality systems. Later relationships are likely to be continuations of early attachments because the early attachment figure provides a model for future relationships. Knowledge about caregiving is learned by modelling the behaviour of the primary attachment figure. Views on sex are also learned from early attachments, for example, avoidant attachments tend to lead to seeking sex without love later in life.
5.1.2 The psychodynamic approach suggests that how we adapt to adult relationships depends on how well we dealt with the Oedipus/Electra complex in childhood. If a boy does not successfully resolve his Oedipus complex, he may look for a nurturing, care-taking woman in the future.
5.1.3 There is research support for the idea that early attachment type affects later relationships. It has been found that individuals with attachment disorders in childhood struggle to build trust and intimacy in adult relationships. In another study, participants who were rated as being securely attached as infants were found to have higher social competence aged 6-8, be closer to their friends ages 16 and were more expressive and emotionally attached to their partner in early adulthood. However, research is mixed, and correlations from 0.1-0.5 between early attachment type and later adulthood relationships have been found, meaning results are unreliable.
5.1.4 The idea that having a certain attachment type as a child dooms you to having a certain type of relationship as an adult is very deterministic. Other experiences and personality factors are likely to have an effect.
5.1.5 The psychodynamic approach is very androcentric and also unempirical and unscientific (IDA)
5.2 Childhood: Peer Interactions
5.2.1 Children learn how to conduct future relationships from early friendships with other children. Children have experiences they internalise, and these affect their beliefs and attitudes. It is suggested that children's friendships are important training grounds for adult relationships. Close friendships give children a sense of alliance, intimacy, trust and confidence.
5.2.2 Theorists have not considered gender differences found in childhood friendships, for example, girls tend to have more intimate friendships whereas boys' are more competitive (IDA - gender differences)
5.3 Adolescence
5.3.1 Adolescence marks critical development, as the adolescent's primary support network becomes their friends rather than their family. Adolescents compare their relationships with their friends to their relationships with their parents, and realise that their parents no longer meet their attachment needs, leading them to seek other relationships. Romantic relationships in adolescence serve the goals of separating from parents and the experience of a different type of intimacy.
5.3.2 A study on the effects of dating behaviour in 15-17.5 year olds found that low-moderate dating in adolescence predicted higher quality adult relationships, whereas high dating frequency predicted lower quality adult relationships. Other research has found that romantic relationships in early adolescence have negative effects, such as lower academic achievement, but this effect is not found in later relationships. These studies suggest suggest the theory is simplistic.
5.3.3 Many of the studies of adolescent relationships have been done in a single school or city, usually in the US. This creates issues with the studies' external validity, and makes them ungeneralisable (IDA).
5.3.4 The suggestion that separating from parents in adolescence is a main goal is simplistic. Research suggests that future relationships are healthiest when accompanied by continuing warm and close relationships with parents.
6 Culture
6.1 AO1
6.1.1 Mobility and Choice: In Western culture, due to geographical and social mobility, people interact with a lot of other people on a daily basis, meaning there is a large pool of choice from which to select mates. Non-Western cultures have fewer large, urban centres and less social and geographical mobility, leading to less mate choice.
6.1.2 Individual Choice vs Choice made for Group Benefit: Individualist cultures highlight the importance of individual choice and mutual happiness. Collectivist cultures tend to focus on the group, leading to the formation of relationships that benefit the group, such as arranged marriages.
6.1.3 The Value of Continuity: Non-Western cultures tend to regard things such as ancestry and heritage as important and are suspicious of change. This leads to an expectation of permanence in relationships. In Western cultures, change is usually viewed as progress, and this leads to an acceptance of more temporary relationships.
6.1.4 The Social Norm of Reciprocity: Reciprocity in individualist cultures is generally voluntary, whereas in collectivist cultures is is more obligatory, and a failure to reciprocate can have large consequences.
6.1.5 Explicit and Implicit Rules: Having rules in relationships has been found to be important across cultures, even though the rules themselves differ. Some rules are similar across culture, for example, marriage, but some are different, for example, polygamy.
6.2 AO2
6.2.1 Non-voluntary relationships such as arranged marriages have low divorce rates, and spouses often report that they have fallen in love over time, suggesting that non-Western relationships can promote high levels of happiness and commitment. However, other research refutes this, for example, the declining popularity of arranged marriages in non-Western cultures, that marriage satisfaction has been found to be higher for people in non-arranged marriages, and that freedom of mate choice promotes marital stability.
6.2.2 Evidence of romantic love has been found in 90% of non-Western cultures. This is supported by evidence from fMRI scans as they seem to show a functionally specialised system that lights up in the brains of people in love (this is a good way to test it because it is objective). This suggests that love is universal, and has evolved to promote survival and reproduction in humans. This means that relationships can be fairly compared across cultures, as the same concept of love is present in all cultures.
6.2.3 Psychologists have traditionally ignored cultural differences in relationships because of needing to use experimental methods, using laboratory studies and living in Western cultures. This means that the majority of research into relationships does not take account of cultural differences in relationships, meaning that our understanding of the full effect of culture on relationships is lacking, due to the ethnocentric approach to research (IDA).
6.2.4 There is support for the idea that increased mobility increases choice and thus leads to less permanent relationships. In Britain, divorce rates multiplied by six between 1960 and 2000, in line with urbanisation, suggesting that due to the increased choice, relationships were becoming more temporary. However, this study is correlational, and there might be other factors that contribute to the increased divorce rate, for example, the declining power of the church and turn away from religion
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