Describe and Evaluate Two or More Theories of the Formation of Romantic Relationships.

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In this essay I’m going to write about the formation of romantic relationships. Formation is the very early stage of the relationship including initial attraction. The reinforcement affect theory suggests that we form relationships as a result of operant conditioning and classical conditioning which means that the person we formed the relationship with is because of an association that we made between them and a positive feeling, therefore feeling happier when you are around them. This theory also claims that the aspects of the environment can indirectly crate a positive affection, such as the weather. For example if you meet a person at a wedding then you will associate them with a joyful occasion and therefore feel a lot happier to be around them. The May and Hamilton study that was conducted in 1980 asked female participants to rate pictures of attractive and unattractive males under three experimental conditions which were: listening to rock music (was supposed to create a positive affect), Avant garde (was supposed to create a negative affect) and rating in silence. They found out that the physical attractiveness was influenced by the music. They found that the females rating the photos whilst listening to rock rated them higher rather than those listening to Avant garde music or rating in silence. This study supports the theory because it suggests that the participants were associating the affect that music had on them with the attractiveness of the males and this determined the ratings. This study also showed us that we are more likely to form a relationship with someone who we associate a positive affect. However, a weakness of May and Hamilton’s study is that the study lacks ecological validity. It was conducted in lab settings using artificial tasks such as rating photos whilst listening to music which is clearly not a realistic method of judging an individual’s attractiveness. Also replicating a natural social environment may be impossible. This...
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