Discuss One Theory of the Formation of Romantic Relationships Essay

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Reward/need satisfaction theory suggests that we become attracted to people who evoke positive feelings as they provide direct reinforcement through operant conditioning. These rewarding stimuli can include happiness or security. According to the principles of operant conditioning, we are likely to repeat any behav that leads to a desirable outcome. This is because if the presence of an individual leads to this outcome, they will be perceived as more attractive. We also become attracted to people who are associated with positive events through classical conditioning. These positive events can include compliments or laughter, or anything else that can cause a positive mood. These people do not need to evoke these positive stimuli, but they should be present when these stimuli occur. These positive stimuli will be positively valued, and hence the people who are associated with these stimuli acquire positive value and we become attracted to them. For a relationship to commence & succeed, positive feelings should outweigh negative feelings. Griffitt & Guay provided support for the idea that we like some individuals because they provide direct reinforcement. Participants were evaluated on a creative task by an experimenter & were then asked how much they like the experimenter. The rating was highest when the participant was highly evaluated (i.e. rewarded) by the experimenter, showing that direct reinforcement can lead to attraction. The same study also supported the role of indirect reinforcement (association with positive events). Participants of the study had to rate an onlooker as well as an experimenter. The onlooker was also more highly rated when the participant had been positively evaluated by the experimenter, as the onlooker was associated with this positive event. Other research has found rewards to be crucial in determining relationship

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