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Important Factors In Close Relationships

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The Social Penetration theory could be linked to Byrne and Clore’s (1970) Reward/Need Satisfaction theory, as it shows how increased like for an individual can assist in forming close relationships. The theory suggests that individuals have certain requirements that need fulfilling, for example emotional, sexual, financial and social needs. In this case, self-disclosure fulfils the emotional and social need. Byrne and Clore imply that romantic relationships are developed through classical and operant conditioning. If certain individual associated positive feelings with another individual, they are more likely to see them as attractive and want to be around them. In addition, if this same individual rewards and reinforces their behaviour, they will again be deemed more attractive and the other person would want to be around them. Therefore, if an individual discloses personal information and someone reciprocates, this promotes positives feelings. It also rewards them for revealing this information and so the person who reciprocates will be liked more and the main individual will want to be around them more. Research by Griffit and Guay (1969) supports this theory. Their participants were evaluated on a creative task, after which they were asked to rate how much they liked the experimenter that evaluated them. Participants rated the experimenter higher when they had been positively evaluated. As a result of participants being rewarded, they liked the experimenter more. As well as this participants were also asked to report how much they liked an onlooker. Onlookers were rated more highly in conditions where participant performance was positively evaluated. This supports the idea that individuals like people more who are associated w... ... middle of paper ... ..., if the relationship is to work in the long-term individuals have to still like the individual so they can progress. However, attraction doesn’t always come into it, in terms of friendships if an individual likes someone then they want to be friends with them because they reinforce their beliefs. Equality helps in the maintenance of a relationship as an individual would like to invest so much in a relationship and receive the same amount back. Consequently, many of these studies lack mundane realism as they were conducted in a laboratory setting, therefore may not be as true to the formation and maintenance of relationships outside of that environment. However, the work can be applied to real life as it gives a good enough understanding of how relationships can last and/or breakdown. Therefore, intervention strategies could be created (e.g. marriage counselling).
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