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

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Describe and evaluate two or more theories of the formation of romantic relationships.

One theory of the formation of a romantic relationship is one put forward by Byrne and Clore called the reward/need satisfaction model. They suggested that we have relationships long term because we find them rewarding, or we don’t like the prospect of being alone.  The rewards from a partner can include friendship, love and sex, or the particular person is associated with pleasant situations so then we want to spend time with them and form a romantic relationship. This can also include the satisfaction from a relationship with a person of high social status, as it would make you look good to other people. These needs can differ from person to person as to what is important. Rusbolt and Van Lange argue that rewards are important as when you do not know someone well communication can start on a ‘tit-for-tat’ basis with favours that can lead to more conversation and rewards. This was called by Clark and Mills and ‘exchange relationship’ as a relationship like this goes on it can turn to a ‘Communal relationship’ where rewards are given as a result of concern for a partner which can be an important aspect of forming a close relationship. May and Hamilton tested the good association part of the theory by getting groups of female students to look at pictures of male students and say if they like the look of them or not. One group looked at the pictures while pleasant music was being played, another group looked while unpleasant music was being played and a control group looked with no music. As predicted the group with pleasant music rated the male students the highest.

This model may be very culturally bound as all the studies done were in the western world’s individualistic cultures. In other cultures one partner may not expect rewards and may be entirely giving, or arranges marriages will also go against this theory as the long term is made to happen. It suggests that...
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