(a) Outline two theories relating to the formation of relationships (b) Evaluate one of the theories outlined in (a)
One of two theories for the formation of romantic relationships is the filter model which was proposed by Kerckhoff and Davis (1962). It claims that people rely on many social and personal factors to filter potential relationships from a ‘field of eligibles’. Different criteria tend to be used at different stages. Initially being social/demographic values, then similarity of attitudes/values and finally complementary of needs. Individuals who meet all the criteria are more likely to be selected as potential partners as relationships with people similar to us are easier while complementarity is also a clear advantage. The second theory which is the reward/need theory argues that relationships are more likely to be formed if it meets the needs of the partners and provides rewards thus this theory can be explained by referring to the principles of classical and operant conditioning. If a particular individual is associated with pleasant experiences then their company is more likely to be sought. Through the process of classical conditioning, past experience has taught us to associate people with particular characteristics with pleasant experiences therefore we will seek their company. In addition, individuals look to form relationships with people that can meet their needs as this is found rewarding. Biological and social needs such as being comforted, receiving approval and engaging in sexual activity are met through activities that can be engaged in the company of these people. Behaviours that bring rewards, in this case spending time with people that possess positive characteristics we associate with positive experiences and in addition to meeting our needs, are increased (reinforced) so therefore we end up forming relationships with people that we find rewarding. This is how the reward/need theory explains the formation of relationships...
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