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Discuss psychological research which has been carried out into relationship maintenance Economic theories Social Exchange

e Economically Deterministic (Why?) Maximise Rewards Minimise Costs Textbook for studies Artificial Equity Theory How does it differ? Strengths: Supporting evidence Floyd Predictive Technique Weaknesses: When can we predict it fails? Gender Culture bias Lack of consistent support USE TERM GENERALISED

Sociobiological Theory Biologically Deterministic (Why?) Evolutionary Theory Buss (1989) Explain Busss study Strengths: Large Sample 35 different cultures (not culturally bias) Supports theory Weaknesses: Reinforces stereotypes Comparative Evidence Animals Ignoring social facts Much more to us than just animalistic qualities Free Will Vs. Determinism Nature Vs. Nurture

The profit and loss theory is the assumption that all social behaviour is a series of exchanges, where individuals attempt to maximise their rewards and minimise their costs. In our society, people exchange resources with the expectation that they will earn profit i.e. that the rewards will exceed the cost incurred. Rewards that we may receive from a relationship include being cared for, companionship and sex. Costs may include effort, financial investments and time wasted. Rewards minus costs equal the outcome (a profit or a loss). Social exchange stresses that commitment to a relationship is dependent on the profitability of this outcome. The notion of exchange has been used to explain why some women stay in abusive relationships. Rusbult and Martz (1995) argue that when investments are high (e.g. children, financial security) and alternatives are low (e.g. nowhere else to live, no money) this could still be considered a profit situation and a women might choose to remain in such a relationship. In order to judge whether one person offers something better or worse than we might expect from another, Thibaut and Kelley proposed that we develop a comparison level, we use this as standard against which we judge all our relationships. Our comparison level is a product of our experiences in other relationships together with our general views of what we might expect from this particular exchange. If we judge that the potential profit in a new relationship exceeds our comparison level, the relationship will be judged as worthwhile, and the other person will be seen as attractive as a partner. If the final result is negative, we will be dissatisfied with the relationship and the other person is thus less attractive. A related concept is the comparison level for alternatives, where the person weighs up a potential increase in rewards from a different partner, minus any costs associated with ending the current relationship. A new relationship can take the place of the current one if its profit level is significantly higher. Support can be found by looking at how people in a relationship deal with potential alternatives, one way of dealing with such potential threats is to reduce them as a means of protecting the relationship. Simpson et al (1990) asked participants to rate member of the opposite sex in terms of attractiveness, those participants who were already involved in a relationship gave lower ratings. However social exchange theory does not explain why some people leave relationships despite having no alternative, nor does it suggest how great the disparity in comparison level has to be to come unsatisfactory. Social exchange theory has been criticised for focusing too much on the individuals perspective and ignoring the social aspects of a relationship, such as how partners communicate and interpret shared events (Duck and Sants 1983). The main criticism, however, focuses on the selfish nature of the theory. Are people only motivated to maintain relationships purely for self gain? It is possible that such principles only apply in individualist cultures, if at all. The theory became viewed as being artificial and was later expanded into Equity Theory (Walster and Walster 1978). In this case, it assumes that people strive to achieve fairness in their relationships and feel distressed if they perceive unfairness. Instead of working to maximise personal position, an individual is more focused on how unfair they are treated. For example, people who contribute a great deal in a relationship and receive little in return would perceive inequity, as would those who receive a great deal, but give little in return. The equity theory has some support from research from Floyd et al (1994), Floyd produced findings that suggest that couples are more willing to commit when happy in a relationship and when they dont feel they have better alternatives. Research has also shown that the theory can be used as a predictive technique, to judge how long a relationship may last.

Prins et al (1993) found that among Dutch couples, inequity in a relationship had different consequences for males and females. Males who perceived inequity in their relationship did not express to have an affair and nor did they report that they had done so. Women however were more likely to respond to perceived inequity in their relationships by considering an extra martial affair and more reported that they had already done so for this reason. Like with most research in this area of psychology it was carried out in a country of Western culture, most likely America, therefore we cannot generalise the results to the rest of the world, as some cultures have completely different ideals of marriage etc. The Sociobiological theory uses evolutionary principles to explain social behaviour, the theory states that relationships are used to produce offspring, so that our genetic code is past to the next generation. Sexual and child rearing differences between genders have lead to males and females developing different strategies to maximise on reproductive success. Females are limited in the amount of young they can produce, due to ovulation and the pregnancy term. Therefore they select partners that can provide them with resources. Males however are seen as instinctively driven to ensure they pass on their genetic code by maximising opportunity, they do so by mating with as many females as they can. This pattern can be seen in supporting research carried out by Buss (1989). Buss conducted a large scale study in over 35 different cultures, analysing questionnaires that rated characteristics of preferred sexual partners. The findings supported the theory indicating that women preferred status and earning potential, whilst men rated physical attractiveness as highest, both genders indicated that the male should be older.