(Original post by alannat)
Would you be able to send these still ?! Thank you
I thought it'd be easier if I posted everything from the relationships unit. They're not all in the same format, but I got 100% in the essays here and the bulleted notes come direct from my tutors. I've posted it in two parts because of length :P
Theories of Parental Investment
Theories of Parental Investment
- Biological sex differences lead to differences in the levels of parental investment with females investing more in each offspring.
- One difference is in the gametes; women produce eggs that are large and energy rich, men produce tiny sperm that are basically just DNA
- The relative size of the gametes is a football compared to a baked bean (anisogamy)
- Each egg is larger and takes longer to produce, thus the woman invests more in each egg than the man does in each sperm
- Females have a greater reproductive cost, in mammals, the women carry the child, give birth and lactate; in humans, the children must be looked after for a long time afterwards.
- Men suffer the cost of producing sperm and mating, much lower than the cost to the woman.
- There is also a large difference in the potential reproductive rate, the most children sired by one man is 888, compared to the 69 produced by a woman from 27 pregnancies.
- For this reason, a woman has a greater investment in each child as she has less future opportunities
- Another factor that influences parental investment is parental certainty
- This is the fact that a woman can be sure she is the mother but a man cannot be sure he is the father.
- 20% of children in the UK are not the biological child of the man they assume is their father.
- An implication of sex differences in parental investment is that it determines who will be choosier when selecting a partner.
- In humans, it is the woman because she invests more in the children.
- This is supported by a study involving students, men and women were approached and asked by a confederate if they would sleep with them. 75% of males said yes, compared to 0% of the females.
- Another study done in San Francisco and looked at gay men, the study also supports this implication.
- They found that 50% of gay men had over 500 sexual relationships, mostly with strangers
- This study shows how promiscuous a man would be if they weren’t restricted by women’s choosiness.
- Differences in investments have implications for jealousy, parental certainty causes sexual jealousy.
- Men are more likely to be concerned about the sexual activity of their partner because, if they get pregnant by another man, they will be wasting energy raising a child that is not theirs.
- Women are more concerned about emotional ties that may lead the man and his investment away
- This is known as emotional jealousy
- These concerns were expressed by students in questionnaires and registered as physiological responses when the students thought of either sexual infidelity or other emotional relationships
- This theory has been criticised for showing alpha gender bias where it exaggerates differences
- The theory exaggerates the involvement of the woman in parental care, in reality, men are equally as involved.
- The theory also suggests the extremely different attitudes of men and women to casual sex, however, both engage in casual sex.
- The theory has also been criticised for being deterministic, it suggests behaviour is determined by biology rather than free will
- The theory is socially sensitive and could be accused of sexism since it implies men leaving women to care for the child is normal and natural. This reinforces Western stereotypes and undermines the progress made in promoting equality.
- Parental Investment also leads to parental-offspring conflict because the strategies that maximise parental fitness aren’t always identical to those that maximise offspring fitness.
- Parental-offspring conflict relates to the amount of importance placed on themselves, their parents and siblings. The amount of importance is based on the percentage of genes shared by the individual and the other people.
- For the parents, each child has 50% of each parent’s genes; for the parent the survival of each child is equally important.
- For this reason, it is in the parents’ interest to share the food equally amongst their children.
- However, from the child’s perspective, they share 100% of their genes with themselves so the importance of their survival is greater than their siblings who only share 50% of their genes.
- The child perceives their importance as greatest so seeks to gain as much of the food as possible.
- This creates conflict between the parent and child as their perceptions of importance are different.
- Support comes from a prenatal condition called preeclampsia; this is caused by the foetus secreting hormones which increase the mother’s blood pressure.
- The increased blood pressure means the baby gets more nutrients at the expense of the mother.
- Women with higher blood pressure in pregnancy are less likely to have miscarriages and often give birth to larger babies.
- This suggests secreting the hormones is advantageous to the baby, even when the mother is at risk because its survival is more important to it than the mother’s.
- Parental-offspring conflict also occurs during weaning; often the child is weaned before it wants to be.
- There are benefits for the child to breastfeed up until the age of 7 including an increased IQ, reduced risk of disease and allergies as well as an increased immune system.
- However, it inhibits the woman’s fertility so she may not get pregnant again; this is a conflict of interests.
- A strength of this evolutionary approach is that it is culturally diverse and is based on inter-cultural facts, e.g. women give birth, produce few eggs, men produces many sperm etc.
- Parents, children and siblings always share DNA, so the instincts the DNA gives us should be universal.
- This means the theory is as relevant in collectivist cultures as it is in individualistic cultures.
- A criticism is that these approaches rely on speculating the behaviours that were adaptive in the EEA.
- Since we can’t test behaviour in the EEA, evolutionary theories can be seen as unfalsifiable.
- Instead, they rely on evidence from modern times, making it ex post facto, this may undermine scientific credibility.
Theories of Relationship Formation
Theories of Relationship Formation
Reward-need satisfaction theory
- Based on operant and classical conditioning
- Operant conditioning – learning by reward
- Classical conditioning – learning by association
- Operant: A reason why relationships are maintained is because of the rewards provided
- The rewards can include sex, status, love, help and agreement with our opinions
- These are rewarding because their fulfil our needs
- For example: approval satisfies our need for self esteem
- It is suggested that we like those who provide rewards
- Those whose presence is unpleasant are disliked
- Classical: We like people who we associate with enjoyment and satisfaction
- Experiencing enjoyable activities with people creates positive feelings called a positive affect
- We seek to repeat this feeling and therefore desire to spend more time with them
- When we experience a negative affect we associate them with this feeling
- Because of this association we dislike them and avoid spending time with them
- A study had Ps wait in an office where a radio was playing either good or bad news
- The Ps then read a questionnaire which had been filled in by someone else
- They then had to rate that person based on the questionnaire
- Ratings were more positive when the Ps had been listening to the good news
- This suggests they associated the person with positive news and felt better about them
- Strangers expressed greater liking when rewarded by being successful at a game-like task
- This theory is criticised for showing beta cultural bias
- It implies a selfish nature because we like people for the pleasures we get
- Therefore it is more appropriate for individualistic cultures
- This is because collectivists emphasise what’s best for the group rather than the individual
- It is reductionist because it focuses on the nurture side and ignores nature
- It’s based on the repetition of positive behaviour and the avoidance of negative behaviour
- Nature is likely to play a role in relationship formation such as evolutionary instincts
- Evolutionary instincts may cause people to seek different things in a partner
- The theory doesn’t explain why some unrewarding relationships are maintained
- Our relationship choice is based on a systematic filtration of potential partners
- It begins with a ‘field of availables’ – the possible people we could have a relationship with
- The field of availables is filtered down for different reasons at different times
- There are three filters: social demographic variables, similarity of attitudes and complementarity of emotional needs
- Social demographic variables filters out people because of where they live, work and study
- We mix with people in our area and at our jobs, there are many people we never meet who are filtered out
- The field is filtered down to those of a similar class, education and economic background
- Once people have met and socialised they learn each other’s beliefs and attitudes
- If they have a good similarity of attitudes the relationship may progress
- If they don’t then communication is more difficult; these people are then filtered out
- Complementarity of emotional needs means how well two people meet each other’s needs
- It occurs in long-term relationships, people who meet each other’s needs maintain the relationship
- Those that don’t meet each other’s needs are filtered out
- These filters reduce the field of availables to a smaller field of desirables
- A longitudinal study looked at student couples who’d been together for more or less than 18 months
- They were asked to complete questionnaires over a 7 month period
- Attitude similarity was the most important factor up to the 18 month period
- After this point, psychological compatibility and the ability to meet needs became important
- This theory can be criticised for showing beta gender bias, it ignores gender differences
- Research suggests that men and women filter out different things
- For example, Buss found that women value earning potential more than men
- This theory can also be criticised for showing beta cultural bias
- Most of the research is done in western societies and is relevant to individualistic cultures
- In collectivist cultures arranged marriages are common and may be formed differently.
Theories of Relationship Maintenance
Theories of Relationship Maintenance
Social Exchange Theory
- SET is an economic theory which says relations are based on an exchange of commodities
- It proposes that individuals are motivated to maximise rewards and minimise costs
- Rewards: companionship and sex. Costs: effort, financial loss and missed opportunities
- For a relationship to be maintained rewards – costs = positive result (profit)
- There is a comparison level (CL) against which all relationships are judged
- Our CL is a product of our past experiences, family relationships and the media
- If we judge that the potential profit exceeds our CL the relationship will be worthwhile
- If the profit doesn’t exceed the CL then we will be dissatisfied
- Another concept is the comparison level for alternatives (CLalt)
- The person weighs up a potential increase in rewards from a different partner with the cost of ending the current relationship
- A new relationship may replace the current one if the profit level is higher
- Another concept is investments – things the person would lose if they left the relationship
- Investments include their home, children and mutual friends
- This theory says a relationship will be maintained when: both partners are satisfied with the rewards, there are no valuable alternatives and the cost of leaving is high
- The concept of investments is supported by a study which looked at women in a refuge
- Women who’d gone back to an abusive partner had the most to lose financially and greater investment e.g. by having children
- Those who attempted reconciliation received less serious abuse than those who didn’t
- This shows long term relationships depend on investments as well as rewards and costs
- Individual differences are well explained in this theory, both within and between individuals
- Individuals see rewards and costs differently, what is a cost for one may not be for another
- Differences within a person may occur over time, this affects their CL
- It can explain why some people in unsatisfactory relationships stay and why some people in satisfactory ones leave
- SET is reductionist as it reduces complex relationships to an exchange of commodities
- This implies we operate as accountants, calculating cost and reward
- SET ignores emotional factors and implies relationships maintenance is a detached decision
- It is hard to see how we measure complex reward factors such as seeing children grow up
- The theory shows beta cultural bias as it ignores differences between cultures
- It suggests we have a selfish nature and is only appropriate to individualistic cultures
- This is because, in collectivist cultures, they focus more on the group than the individual
- This theory is an extension of SET
- Based on the idea that people strive to reach a level of fairness in their relationships
- Any kind of inequity has the potential to create distress
- People who give a lot to a relationship and get little in return perceive inequity
- The same is true of those who receive a lot but give little in return
- The greater the perceived inequity, the greater the dissatisfaction with the relationship
- Equity does not mean equality, it is possible for two people to give and take different amounts and still have an equitable
- What is considered fair is subjective for each person involved
- Therefore if one person perceives themselves as putting in less the relationship can still be equitable if they get less out (relative to the other person)
- If we perceive inequity in our relationship we are motivated to restore it
- This can be achieved in different ways: by changing the amount we put in, changing the amount we demand from it or changing our perception of inputs and outputs.
- We may also compare our relationship to our CL to see if it is worth continuing
- Support comes from a study of over 200 married couples
- The couples completed measures of equity and relationship satisfaction
- It found that satisfaction was highest when they perceived their relationship to be equitable
- Over-benefitting partners were the second-most satisfied
- This was followed by under-benefitting partners who were the least satisfied
- The theory shows beta gender bias because it ignores gender differences
- Research has found that there are gender differences in relationship maintenance, if women feel under-benefitted the divorce rate increases but this isn’t true of men who feel under—benefitted
- Similar criticisms to SET can be applied
- It is culturally bias because it is based on American research, in collectivist societies relationships tend to be more permanent.
Theories of Relationship Breakdown
Theories of Relationship Breakdowns
Duck’s First Explanation of Relationship Breakdowns
- Duck explains relationship breakdown as being due to a number of factors either individually or collectively.
- The factors include: lack of skills, lack of stimulation and maintenance difficulties
- Relationships may be difficult for some because they lack the skills to make them mutually satisfying
- Individuals lacking social skills may be bad at communicating
- This lack of communication may lead their partner to believe they are not interested and the relationship breaks down.
- According to SET people look for rewards in relationships, one reward is stimulation.
- A lack of stimulation (an absence of the reward) may cause relationships to break down
- Some relationships become strained because the partners find it difficult to maintain close contact.
- Living and working apart can put a strain on relationships and make maintaining them difficult
- These maintenance difficulties can cause relationship breakdowns
- Shows beta gender bias, it ignores differences between the genders in the reasons they have for ending a relationship
- Research has shown there are differences, women are more likely to blame incompatibility, men are more likely to cite sexual withholding
- Women are also more likely to want to remain friends
- Shows cultural bias as it assumes all relationship breakdowns are the same in different cultures
- In collectivist societies, relationships are far more permanent
- In China, the divorce rate is 4% and it is likely the breakdowns are due to more serious reasons e.g. violence and infidelity
- The factors suggested by Duck are the opposite to those which led to the initial relationship
- The fatal attraction theory suggests the factors that led to the relationship also cause the breakdown
- For example, a partner being a comedian may be attractive initially but eventually becomes annoying as they don’t take life seriously and thus causes the relationship breakdown.
- The theory also doesn’t explain how some long distant relationships survive
- A study looking at students found 70% had experienced a long distance relationship and 90% had experienced a long distance friendship
Duck’s 4-Phase Model
- Duck developed a 4-phase model explaining the termination of a close relationship
- The intrapsychic phase: one of the partners becomes dissatisfied. They dwell on their unhappiness.
- At this stage the partner thinks a lot about their situation but doesn’t share it with their partner
- If the dissatisfaction is enough they progress to the dyadic phase
- Here, the partner expresses their dissatisfaction to their partner and they become involved.
- If the dissatisfaction is not resolved they progress to the social phase.
- They publicise their intention to break up, confiding in friends and family.
- The person being left may enlist others to speak to their partner.
- The dissatisfied partner will try to justify their actions.
- If the relationship cannot be saved here it moves on to the grave-dressing phase.
- Here, the ex-partners publicise their own accounts of the relationship breakdown
- This is to present an image that defends their reputation and maintains their self esteem
- By defending their reputation they are able to go into another relationship.
- At each stage the dissatisfied partner reaches a point that tips them into the next phase.
- These ‘breaking’ points are called thresholds.
- The thresholds are: I can’t stand it anymore (intrapsychic,) I’d be justified in withdrawing (dyadic,) I mean it (social) and it’s now inevitable (grave-dressing.)
- A strength of the theory is its applications; it is useful for those breaking up and forms a structure to repair their relationships.
- By identifying the stages, different strategies can be employed, these strategies work better in some phases than in others, so identifying the phase is important.
- For example, in the first two stages, focusing on the positives rather than the negatives might help.
- In the last stage, separate counselling may minimise the damage of the split.
- It shows beta cultural bias as it ignores the differences between the cultures. It is based on studies of married American couples and may not be applicable to other cultures.
- Divorce rates are lower in collectivist cultures and the social network plays a larger role in helping the couple through their problems.
- It is criticised for assuming that all relationships go through the same stages regardless of the reason for the break-up, the personalities of those involved and the gender of the dissatisfied partner.
- Some people end relationships angry, some are more passive and the reasons can vary from incompatibility to accusations of adultery.
Research into the Nature of Relationships in different Cultures
Research into the Nature of Relationships in Different Cultures
Study 1: Importance of Romantic Love.
- Research was reported from 11 countries: India, Pakistan, Thailand, Mexico, Brazil, Hong Kong, The Philippines, Australia, Japan, England and America
- Men and women were asked that if a man/woman had all the qualities they desired, would they marry them, even if they weren’t in love with them?
- They found a correlation of +0.56 between a country’s individualism and the perceived necessity for love within marriage
- In India 49% answered yes, compared to 7% in England
- In individualistic societies, love was considered the most important factor in marriage
- This study can be criticised for showing alpha cultural bias as it exaggerates cultural differences.
- This research could be socially sensitive as it could lead to stereotyping and prejudice.
- For example, the false belief that Indians don’t value love, when actually over 50% said they wouldn’t marry someone they didn’t love.
- There are several issues when comparing cultures, for example, the inter- cultural differences may not be as great as the intra-cultural differences.
- For example, by grouping individualistic and collectivist cultures we are implying that relationships are the same in those cultural groups. However, within a collectivist culture, the relationships may vary from area to area. For example, the way relationships are formed in a city maybe be different to those formed in a rural area or tribal community
- Comparisons between collectivist/individualistic cultures and voluntary/arranged relationships are overly simplified.
- For example, whilst a relationship may be ‘arranged’ by parents, they have a choice and aren’t usually forced. Similarly, ‘arranged’ relationships aren’t restricted to collectivist cultures, even in England, relationships may be arranged.
- A friend may set up a date between their mutual friends, this removes some of the ‘voluntary’ aspect of the relationship and is comparable to marriages arranged by parents, however, match-making your friends is accepted in Individualistic cultures more than arranged marriages are.
- The study can also be criticised for using an imposed etic, a questionnaire designed for one culture may be irrelevant for another.
- Literal translations may not take into account another culture’s meaning of words.
- For example, a literal translation of ‘romantic love’ into Chinese means pain and suffering. So, asking a Chinese person if love is important in a relationship is very different to asking a British person.
Study 2: Are Voluntary Relationships Happier?
- A study investigated the effect of type of marriage (voluntary or arranged,) duration of marriage and gender on the love and liking in Indian society.
- Found that there was a sharp decline in love rating in love marriages for both sexes over time.
- Conversely, there was an increase in love rating over time for arranges marriages, particularly in males.
- In terms of liking scales, there was a similar pattern as for love, although the decline of liking was not as steep as the decline for love in love marriages.
- The research suggests that arranged marriages are happier, but there are other explanations.
- The research was conducted in Indian society where arranged marriages are the norm so perhaps love marriages suffered problems such as family disapproval, alienation from their culture and absence of support during difficulties in relationships.
- Perhaps the love marriages aren’t less happy but the initial expectations were high so the couples were disappointed. In arranged marriages, expectations could be lower so the relationship was seen as more successful and, therefore, happy.
- Another issue is that in some cultures it is more acceptable to leave relationships and therefore people don’t work at them so much. In China divorce is viewed as shameful - divorce ratings are only 4%. In America, it is more acceptable and divorce rates are 40-50%.
Study 3: Buss – Similarities Between Cultures.
- This study involved more than 9000 participants in 37 cultures across Africa, N and S America and Europe.
- In 36/37 cultures, women valued earning potential more than men.
- In 34/37 cultures, men valued physical attributes more than women.
- Other findings across the cultures were that women valued ambition and industriousness more than men, men preferred younger women and women preferred older men.
- The universality suggests a nature rather than nurture basis for partner choices.
- Universality may be explained by the evolutionary theory. This argues males and females choose characteristics to maximise reproductive success.
- Women are limited by their biology as they are only fertile for a short period, once a month from adolescence until menopause. They are also restricted to one child per approximately 2yrs. This is because they must carry the child for 9months followed by a period of breast feeding which reduces fertility. Women can thus have fewer children (the record is 69). Women are therefore choosier, selecting men who have more resources to will care for and protect her children.
- Men are not limited by their biology, they produce sperm from adolescence and are fertile until death. Sperm is produced continuously and only a short period of intercourse is required for them to have a child. Consequently, the record number of children born to one man is 888. Men are only limited by access to women. They can thus maximise their reproductive success by becoming more promiscuous and selecting younger, fertile women.