Studies On Relationships Essay

2052 words - 9 pages

Studies on relationships are one of the most important aspects of psychology. This is because, not only does relationships influence people’s actions, they also occupy the bulk of people’s thoughts, speech and concerns (Cardwell & Flanagan, 2003). A relationship is widely know to be defined as a “regular social encounter over a period of time” (Argyle & Henderson, as cited in Willerton, 2010). A valid example from Willerton is that, when we are not dealing with our own personal relationships, we still discuss relationships of celebrities, as well as seeking out depictions of relationships in books and films. The three main aspects of the study of relationships can be broken down into the formation, the maintenance, and the breakdown of relationships. This essay will deal mainly with the first two aspects, which is the formation of relationships and the maintenance of relationships. Theories concerning formation and maintenance of relationships will be described to be thoroughly evaluated especially when trying to relate it to this time, which may not be similar to that of when the theories were introduced. In the formation of relationships, the theories discussed will be the sociobiological theory and the reinforcement/affect model, also known as reward/need satisfaction theory. In the maintenance of the relationship, theories such as the social exchange theory and the equity theory will be further explored and evaluated.
Sociobiological theory is based on the idea that when women and men are seeking out their mates, a characteristic they would be looking out for is with whom they would have the best reproductive success, specifically to produce viable offspring which is the basis of evolution (Cox, 2001). The main idea behind this theory is adaptation. When discussing adaptation, the process of natural selection could be used to explain why humans would want to pass on their adaptive characteristics in order for their species to survive. These adaptive traits could only be passed down to the next generation in the event of successful reproduction which is the cause of relationship formation. Theoretically, women can only produce a limited number of offsprings which causes them to be selective and tend to seek for willing men with sufficient resources in order to ensure that their children can reach maturity and become capable of mating (Cardwell & Flanagan, 2003). When it comes to men, they are more likely to produce feasible offsprings the more sexual partners they have (Cox, 2001). Therefore, acts of promiscuity might serve some purpose, especially if they choose to mate with young, healthy women. As proof, evolutionary psychology so far have focused on male sexual opportunism and females selecting their mate through the pursuit of resources (Wood, Tesser, & Holmes, 2008). This sociobiological approach can also be used for family relationship and kin selection which explains why we feel the need to “protect” them.
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