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Sexual selection - genes that have reproductive success passed on

Anisogamy - M = sperm produced high quantities,, less choosy / F = eggs finite quantity, selective

Leads to 2 mating strategies:

Intersexual selection: Females select the 'attractive' males so they determine features passed on e.g. runaway process/ sexy son's hypothesis

Intrasexual selection: Males compete with each other to 'win' as they seek quantity, aggression & larger body passed on. Results in physical dimorphism. 


+ 75% men / 0% women accepted sexual request

- Questionnaire: 10k ppts in 33 countries, men value youth & women resources

- Temporal validity of research

- Cannot explain homosexuality


Filter theory


Kerckhoff & Davis (1962) Field of availables and desirables (after three filters)

1. Social demography - factors which influence chance of meeting

2. Similarity in attitudes - important <18 months. Promotes better self disclosure. Byrne (1997) Law of attraction. Similar attitudes = more attraction. 

3. Complementarity - can meet each others needs where one has traits the other lacks. 


+ Research evidence.  Similarity of attitudes <18 months & complementarity after. 

- Markey (2013) lesbian couples more satisfied when equally dominant (not complementarity)

- Perceived similarity is more impt

- Outdated with social media


Investment Model


Commitment depends on:

Satisfaction: CL (rewards - costs)

Comparison with alternatives

Investment (intrinsic and extrinsic)

Commitment more important than satisfaction


+ Supported by a meta-analysis

+ Can explain why people stay in abusive relationships

- You can be very committed without much investment

- Methodology - social desirability bias




Levels of parasocial relationships:

Entertainment-social: gossip

Intense personal: obsessive thoughts

Borderline-pathological: extreme

Measured by Celebrity Attitude Scale (CAS)

Absorption addiction model: Escape from reality, absorb in something they lack, need higher doses

Attachment theory

Bowlby: early difficulties lead to later problems

Ainsworth attachment styles

Insecure-resistant: want a relationship with no risk of rejection

Insecure-avoidant: avoid all relationships


+ Supportive evidence attachment (McCutheon, 2016)

+ Universal finding cross culturally 

- Self report methodology

+ Real life application: identify young females with body issues




Self-disclosure is gradually revealing intimate info

It needs to be appropriate

Social Penetration Theory (Altman & Taylor, 1973) SD is limited at the start, build trust & reciprocate

 Leads to deeper penetration

Analogy of an onion: Breadth & depth is narrow to begin then widens / deepens

Reis & Shaver - need for reciprocity


+ Correlational research between SD & satisfaction

+ Real world app - 57% use SD to improve communication

- Cultural differences - individualistic SD more

- SD is high at end of relationship but does not increase satisfaction



Social Exchange


Thibault & Kelley (1959) economic theory. Profit = satisfaction. 

Minimax principle: Minimum costs (inc. opportunity costs) v maximum rewards. 

Comparison level (for profit) - how much do I deserve? (personal experience & society)

CLalt - compare to alternatives

4 stages; sampling, bargaining, commitment & institutionalisation 


+ Supportive evidence (Kurdeck) -minimax and CL found in hetero and homosexual relationships

- Hard to operationalise costs and benefits - vary for individuals

- Correlational: does dissatisfaction come first or after?

Do humans make rational decisions in relationships?

Relationship Breakdown:

Duck's Phase Model


Intra-psychic phase - private thoughts, pros and cons, "I can't stand this anymore"

Dyadic phase - Dissatisfactions are aired, arguments, "I would be justified in withdrawing"

Social phase - Involved friends and families to gain support, "I mean it"

Grave dressing phase - each partner tries to create a favourable perception, "It's now inevitable"

New: The resurrection phase


- Methodology = retrospective

- Does not explain why they are breaking up

- Real life app: relationship counselling

- Cultural bias to individualistic cultures


Physical attractiveness


Shackleford & Larson - symmetry = good genetic fitness

Neotonous (baby) face - triggers protective instincts (attachment)

Halo effect - attractive people also perceived positively e.g. kind, successful etc (Dion, 1972) 

Matching hypothesis suggests we go for people on a similar level. Walster (1966) Computer Dance did not not support the MH. But when ppts selected partner themselves they selected similar attractiveness (Berscheid, 1971)


+ Halo effect: Palmer & Peterson - more attractive = more politically knowledgable

+ Universal finding of baby face

- Taylor (2011) online dating - people went for most attractive

- Individual differences e.g. Touhey (1979)




Developed due to criticism of SET Fairness rather than profit

Lack of equity if:

Under-benefitting = anger

Over-benefitting = guilt

Perception changes over time

Dealing with inequity: realignment and redistribution


+ Supportive evidence Utne (1984)

- Cultural differences

- Individual differences - benevolents and entitleds

- Does equity change over time in real life?





Reduced cues theory = less SD

Hyper personal theory = more SD

Anonymity: Strangers on a train

Absence of gating

Lack of obstacles to get relationship off the ground


- Not a total lack of cues online just different e.g. emojis

-/+ Ruppel (2017) greater SD in F2F

- Many social networking sites - cannot take nomothetic approach

+ Whitty & Johnson: more SD in CMC as self presentation is manipulated

-/+ Are any relationships just on or just offline?


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