Byrne and Clore's Reward/ Need Satisfaction Theory, 1970

Ashleigh Huddart
Mind Map by Ashleigh Huddart, updated more than 1 year ago
Ashleigh Huddart
Created by Ashleigh Huddart about 4 years ago


Mindmap on Byrne and Clore's 1970 Reward/ Need satisfaction Theory. One of the two theories on formation of relationships for the AQA 'A' specification, for Relationships (Unit 3)

Resource summary

Byrne and Clore's Reward/ Need Satisfaction Theory, 1970
1 (AO1) Attraction through association - As well as liking people with whom we share a pleasant experience, we also like people who are associated with pleasant events. We learn to like people through the process of classical conditioning in this way. Byrne and Clore believed that the balance of positive and negative feelings in a relationship was crucial in romantic relationship formation.
2 (A01) Rewards and punishments - According to the principles of operant conditioning, we are likely to repeat any behaviour that leads to a desirable outcome and avoid behaviours that lead to an undesirable outcome. Byrne and Clore suggest, therefore, that we enter into relationships because it is the presence of some individuals that is associated with reinforcement, thus making them more attractive to us.
3 (AO2) RESEARCH SUPPORT - Evidence for the importance of reward - Griffit and Guay (1969) found support for the belief that we like individuals because they provide direct reinforcement. Participants were evaluated on a creative task by an experimenter and then asked to rate how much they liked the experimenter. The rating was highest when the experimenter had positively evaluated (i.e. rewarded) the participant's performance on the task.
4 (A02) RESEARCH SUPPORT - Evidence for need satisfaction through Facebook use - Sheldon et al (2011) discovered that greater Facebook use was positively correlated with both feelings of positive (feelings of 'connectedness') and negative indicators of relationship satisfaction (feelings of 'disconnectedness')
5 (AO3) Cultural bias - The theory does not account for cultural and gender differences in the formation of relationships. Lott (1994) suggests that in many cultures, women are more focused on the needs of others than receiving reinforcement.
6 (AO2) RESEARCH SUPPORT - Physiological support - Aron et al (2005) found that those who measured very high on a self-report questionnaire of romantic love also showed strong activity in particular areas of the brain, including the ventral tegmental area. Early stage, intense romantic love was associated with elevated levels of activity in the subcortical reward regions of the brain, rich in the neurotransmitter dopamine.
7 (AO2) How important are rewards? Cate et al (1982) found reward level was superior to all other factors in determining relationship satisfaction. However, Hays (1985) found that we gain satisfaction from giving as well as receiving.
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