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IB HL Psychology Review

The Scientific Method
o Notice- Decide what should be studied
o Theory- Come up with a possible explinations
o Hypothesis- Generate a statement that can be tested and proved right or
o Gather data- Gather data using descriptive or experimental methods
o Interpret data- Use statistical methods to analyse the data
o Form- Describe a statement that can be tested and proved right or wrong
Research Design
o Types of hypotheses
 Null hypothesis
 The hypothesis we are trying to disprove (opposite of a two tailed
 There will be no effect
 “Mood will have no effect on the appetite of dogs”
 Alternate hypothesis
 What we expect to happen
 There will be an effect which is…
 Can be either two or one tailed
 Two tailed hypothesis
 The experimentor believes there will be an effect but is not certain
in which direction
 “Mood affects the appetite of dogs”
 One tailed hypothesis
 The experimentor believes there will be an affect in one specific
 “A happy dog will eat more”
o Operational definition
 The definition of a variable within the context of an experiment
 Emotional warmth to parents number of hugs a day
 Friendliness between two peoplenumber of smiles
o Sampling methods
 Opportunity sampling
 Whoever is immediately available (i.e. shout out onto the street
“come and help me!”
 Random sample
 Everybody has an equal chance of being chosen (i.e. taking people
off the electoral roll)
 Self-selected sample
 Whoever volunteers
 Quota
 Design a sample to represent the population and then recruit to
 Stratified
 Samples are representative of a target population, percentages are
the same as in the population
 Snowball sample
Get a few volunteers, who find other volunteers, it snowballs
quickly until there are numerous volunteers
 Deception is allowed but only when the experiment would be
significantly changed without it
Informed Consent
 Always required when working one-on-one, in large groups or
experiments in the real world this can be waivered
 Always required, except potentially for case studies, or with
permission to release information
Right to withdraw
 Required when a person knows they are in an experiment (same
times as Informed Consent)
 Required except when it’s difficult to tell them that they were in
an experiment (same times as informed consent)
No physical or psychological harm
 Pretty much always required
Research Techniques
o Observation
 Six dimensions
 Participant vs. Non-participant
 Are you part of the group that is being observed?
 Zimbardo in the Stanford Prison experiment was a participant
(led to ethical problems)
 Direct vs. Indirect
 Are you experiencing it first or second hand?
 Watching vs. a video
 Disclosed vs. Undisclosed
 Do they know that they are being watched?
 Disclosed= they know
 Undisclosed= they don’t know
 Time sampling vs. Event sampling
 When and why is the data gathered?
 Time sampling= sampling data at intervals (i.e. 2- eating a
sandwich, 4-eating a sandwich, 6- yawning)
 Event Sampling= continuous sampling (He ate a sandwhich, then
scratched his head, then held a conversation and then yawned)
 Naturalistic vs. Controlled
 Where is the observation taking place
 Naturalistic= not changed, but variables
 Controlled= lab setting or similar, fewer variables, but not a
naturalistic environment
 Structured vs. Unstructured
 How are you taking notes and what are you taking notes on?
Structured- taking notes on specific things (i.e. how many times he
 Unstructured- taking notes on anything of interest or anything
that appears potentially relevant
o Self-report (interview)
 Types of interviews
 Structured
o Set questions
o Irrespective of the answers, the interviewer asks the
questions that are pre-set
 Semi-structured
o Questions, with follow on questions
o “Do you like dogs?” “No” “Why don’t you like dogs?”
“Because they bark” “Why does their barking bother you?”
“Don’t know” “Do you like cats?”
 Unstructured
o Any questions, perhaps starting on an original topic
o Resembles a conversation
 Types of question
 Fixed choice (yes/no)
 Open-ended (not yes/no)
o Self-report (survey)
 Questions can’t be leading
 Do you think crime is due to bad housing or poor education?
o What do you think crime is due to?
 50000 people each year can’t afford to pay taxes. Do you think
taxes are too high?
o Do you think taxes are too high for people earning less than
£ 30,000 a year?
 Questions should be specific and not subjective
 How often do you drink alcohol? (Occasionally, sometimes, often
or a lot)
o How many times a week do you drink alcohol on average?
 Are you in a relationship?
o Do you have a person who you would classify as your
 Questions should be easy to understand
 Wouldn’t you not trust a salesman who was left-handed?
o Would you trust a salesman who was left-handed?
 Instructions should be clear
 Rate the importance of the following jobs to society from one to
o Rate the importance of the following jobs to society from one
to five, one being the most important and five being the least.
Research Methods
o Correlation
 Positive
 / shape, one increases and decreases with the other
 +1
 Negative
 \ shape, one descreases as the other increases
 -1
 No correlation
 No line can be drawn
o Experiment
 Location of experiment
 Lab experiment
o Heavily controlled environment
o Lack of generalizability (can’t generalise it outside the lab)
 Field experiment
 Quasi experiment
o Independent variable is naturally occurring, but the
dependent variable is still measured
 Participiant design
 Repeated measure
o Same group, used multiple times
 Matched pairs
o People of similar psychological attributes are matched and
put in separate groups, creating two groups of similar people
 Independent Measure
o Two different groups doing different tasks
 Experiment variables
 IV- the thing being changed
 DV- the thing that changes due to the IV
 Extraneous variable- a variable which has been thought about and
accounted for before the experiment
 Confounding variable- a variable that has not been though about
before and so has not been changed or one that can not be
changed, it can still effect the results
 Experimental extraneous variables
 Demand characteristics
o Cues in the experimental situation are communicating to
participants what is expected of them, which is
unconsciously affecting their behaviour
o Controlled by a single-blind experiment
 Change in time (situational differences)
o Some participants are tested in the morning, some around
midday and some late afternoon
o Controlled by standardisation
 Experimenter bias
o The experimenter, knowing which condition participants are
in, encourages them more on the experimental task than the
control task
o Controlled by a double-blind experiment
 Individual differences
o The participants recruited are of a range of ages but the
older participants mostly ended up in group A
o Controlled by matched pairs
Practice effect
o By the time they were doing the task for the 5th time their
performance was much improved
o Controlled by counterbalancing
o By the time they were doing the task for the 5th time they
were getting really tired and so performances were worse
on the later tests
o Controlled by counterbalancing/breaks
Social desirability
o Participants doing the survey on racism modified their
answers to look good to the researchers rather than giving
honest answers
o Controlled by a single-blind study or by making it
o People going in a differenct order to remove order effects
Hawthorne effects
o Change in behaviour because you know you’re in a study
Demand characteristics
o Hawthorne effect when you know twhat the experiment is
Statistics- Descriptive
o Mathematics
 Central tendancy
 Dispersion
 Visual display
 Standard deviation
 The average difference from the mean
o Reliability
 Internal- how consistant is the measure in itself?
 Split half
 Intra-rater
 Inter-rater (observation agreement)
 External- how consistant is the measure between uses? Will I get the
same results on different occasions?
 Test-retest
o Validity
 Internal- Is it measuring what it’s supposed to? Are there any CVs?
 Face validity
 Concurrent Validity (compared to well-established results)
 External- Can I generalise my findings outside of the research context?
 Temporal Validity- are the results dependent on time?
 Population- Is it true for all the population
Ecological validity- Can we apply it to real life settings?
Mundane realism- Is the task applicable to real life?
Chapter 8- Psychology of Human Relationships
Distinguish between altruism and prosocial behaviour
 Prosocial behaviour- any behaviour that is intended to benefit others
1. Rescuing someone in danger
2. Giving donations
3. Community building project
4. Carrying a bag for someone
5. Helping a blind man across the road
 Egoistic prosocial behaviour- where the ultimate aim is to benefit
yourself, through a lack of guilt, or a feeling of happiness
 Altruistic prosocial behaviour- the performance of prosocial actions
without expectation of benefit
 Evaluation of differences
o Difficult toscientifically confirm the differene between
altruistically and egoisticlly motivated behaviour
o Difficult for a person to know their own behaviour
o No clear, observable indicator
o We can, however ask questions about how people think and feel
o Prosocial behaviour may involve a mixture of altruistic behaviour
and it may occur simultaneously and be hard to distinguish
 Does truly altruistic behaviour exist?
1. Yes
 Batson’s experiments
2. No
 Jorge Moll’s experiment (participants were given money
that they could either keep or give to charity, when they
gave the money away a reward centre was activated in
their brain)
Contrast two theories explaining altruism in humans
 The empathy-altruism hypothesis- suggested by Daniel Batson
o Batson defines altruism as “a motivational state with the ultimate
goal of increasing another’s welfare”
o Empathy is created when a person is perceived to be in need
o Empathy= range of feelings that are focussed on others rather than
oneself, including sympathy, compassion, warmth and tenderness
o There are different steps in the hypothesis
1. Perception of need- when one person realises that the other
has a mismatch between their current mood and their desired
2. Evaluation of the situation in terms of rewards and costs
o Then there are three ways a person could go
1. Reward- the people could decide that helping has some
reward, either a social or personal reward (people think
that you’re nice or you feel good)
2. Distress- the person needing help has triggered distress.
This can be removed in two ways
1. Leaving
2. Helping
3. Empathy- a person in need triggers empathy from a person,
leading them to help
o Evaluation
 Altruisti
o Toi and Batson (1982)
 Female psychology students
 Heard a recording of a student called Carol
 People were told either to focus on what happened or Carol’s
emotions (to build empathy)
 If empathy had been built, people were far more willing to help
 Interviewers were also told that Carol was either stuck at home
or that she would be joining them in class next week- this
marginally affected the results, but not to a specific extent
o Batson et al. (1983)
 Measured the people’s empathy and gave them the option of
helping a confederate receiving electric shocks, which hurt
because of a childhood accident
 A high level of empathy lead to a high chance of a decision to
Kin Selection hypothesis- Hamilton
o Helping others, especially those who share DNA with you, means
that the chance of your DNA being passed on increases, even if you
yourself die
o Simpson and Kenrick claimed that kin selection can explain our ingroup bias, in other words, we favour those who are like us,
because they’re more likely to carry our genes
o Evaluation
 Simple, logical, evolutionary explination for altruistic
 It is surprising, given kin selection, tht we are not better able
to identify those who share fenes with us
 Altruism isn’t very common in animals, which you would
think that it should be, given an evolutionary explination
such as kin selection
 Studies don’t explain why people help
 Studies don’t explain whether helping is a genetic or
emotional response
 Some studies are not very ethical
 Can the theory be extrapolated across genders and cultures?
 Are there real world applications?
o Sime (1983)- Analysed accounts of people fleeing from burning
buildings. When the individuals were with unrelated group
members, they tended to become separated, while those with
family members before exit tended to stay together, favouring
group survival, mutual helping. However these were retrospective
reports, which are often unreliable and the evidence could not be
limited to just independent and dependent variables
o Burnstein et al. (1994)- asked participants how likely they were
to help people in a variety of situations, from small things to larger
things like rescuing them from a burning building. People were far
more likely to help those closer to them, especially when the
required action was larger. Older people were less likely to be
helped than younger people. This was not real, would people
behave this way in real life? It does, however, fit in well to he kin
selection hypothesis
o Madsen et al. 2007- people in the Uk and Zulu males from South
Africa. Both groups had to sit against the wall, in a chair position
and were offered money for close family members and those less
related to them. Both groups put themselves through more pain for
those who were more closely related to them. Two separate groups
were then tested using food rather money and the same results
showed, howefer there were some differences, in that the Zulu
participants did not distinguish between cousins, aunts, siblings
and nephews
Both must involve a perception that
somebody is in need
Both involves helping someone
because they are similar to you; one is
genetic, and the other is because one
empathises with the other in need. So
some sort of a personal connection is
required in both cases
Both require giving up sometime e.g.
time, health. Both expose the observer
to potential cost or danger
It is hard to prove either hypotheses.
Both can be either egoistically or
altruistically motivated
KS is based on a biological theory,
specifically based on genetics and
evolutionary theory.
EA is more psychological and is not
based on genetics but is based more on
emotional and empathic responses,
whereas KS doesn’t require any
KS involves helping people only with
the same genes, yet EA suggests that
anybody could be helped so doesn’t
require any genetic similarities with
the recipient for the helping to take
KS is mostly egoistically motivated; the
motivation is not really for the
individual being helped but more by an
instinct that the number of shared
genes will be maximised by helping kin
(indirect fitness).
EA is more altruistically motivated.
KS is harder to verify experimentally as
it involves retrospective assumptions
about one’s evolutionary past. EA can
be tested more easily in a laboratory
KS can explain helping behaviour that
involves extreme danger better than
EA can because of the particular
benefits of indirect fitness if life is
Both theories attempt to find the
motivations for helping behaviour
The main immediate motivation with
both theories is to improve the welfare
of another person (although more
fundamental motivations are quite
Factors affecting empathy
 How great the need is perceived to be
 The strength of the observor’s attachment to the person in need
ExperimentsToi and Batson (1982)
 Female psychology dtudents
 Heard a recording of a student called Carol
 People were told either to focus on what happened or Carol’s
emotions (to build empathy)
 If empathy had been built, people were far more willing to help
 Interviewers were also told that Carol was either stuck at home
or that she would be joining them in class next week- this
marginally affected the results, but not to a specific extent
Batson et al. (1983)
 Measured the people’s empathy and gave them the option of
helping a confederate receiving electric shocks, which hurt
because of a childhood accident
 A high level of empathy lead to a high chance of a decision to
Examine factors influencing bystanderism
Kitty Genovese Murder
 1964
 Raped and stabbed, she screamed and bled
 38 witnesses and not a single one intervened or called the police
 Some people thought that it was a lover’s quarrel
Bystanderism is the phenomenon of a person or people not intervening despite
awareness of another person’s need, i.e. the phenomenon of remaining a
 Homeless person asking for money
 Neighbour is being physically abused
 Bullying not getting involved
 Syria
 War crimes not getting involved
Situational factors- Factors effecting bystanderism
 Social factors (diffusion of responsibility and fear of social blunders)probably the most important influence on bystanderism
 Diffusion of responsibility- with a group of people the responsibility is
diffused across all people
o With just one person there is high responsibility for that person to
o Better to have less people than more because of the diffusion of
 Fear of social blunders
o Making the wrong decision and getting embarrassed
 Audience inhibition
 Conformity
 Ambiguous situations
o Emergency situations which have an ambiguous situation- not
certain what has happened therefore people are reluctant to help
o Subway study- drunk? Ill?
 Participant hears confederate screaming as bookshelf falls
on him in the other room. Confederate 1 either said there
was a problem and emergency situation or not. Participant
massively changed helping on what confederate 1 said.
Therefore the interpretation of the severity of the situation
determines the level of helping
 Perceived relationships
o Observer may not help because of relationship. The perceived
relationship between those involved in a situation will have a major
influence on the bystander’s behaviour
 Confederates (man and fwoman_ acted and fought in front of
onlookers. Two conditions.
 Condition 1- Woman screams “I don’t know you”- 65%
intervened in fight
Condition 2- Woman screams “I don’t know why I ever
married you”- 19% intervened in fight
Victim characteristics
o Whe the person looks “dodgy” people might not help
o Physical characteristics of the victim with influence helping
o Piliavin, Rodin and Piliavin 1969 (Subway Study)
 Drunk people were kess helped because of the victim
IndividuL differences in bystander chaacteristics
 Skills, expertise and confidence
o Are my skills matched up with the requirements?
o Do I have the right ability to help?
o Husten et al 1981
 Interviewed 32 people who witnessed criminal acts and
looked at characteristics of those who helped and those who
 People who were helped were taller and heavier, more likely
to have police or medical training, self belief and described
themselves as “aggressive but principled”
 Gender differences
o Eagley and Crowley 1986
 Meta- analysis (looked at other’s research) to find patterns
 Men are more likely to help than women when the
situation involves danger or when there is an
 Men are more likely to help women than men,
especially when the woman is attractive
 Women are equally likely to help men and women
 Personal values
o Helping is more likely when people hold personal norms about
what should be done and accepting responsibility compared to
people who don’t hold these values and experience shame for
 Personality factors
o People who are other oriented rather than self-orientated are more
likely to help
o Warm hearteness is surprisingly unimportant compared to other
 Mood
o Being a good mood does seem to influence helping strangers (more
prosocial behaviour)
o Not very important
 Perceived similarity
o More likely to help those who we perceive as similar to ourselves
 Class, race, culture
o Subway train study
o Could be explained by kin selection theory
o Could also be explained by social identity theory
o However there are some exceptions, see study 5
o As severity increases, the effect of perceived similarity can be
What bystander is doing at the time
o Busier less likely to help
o Who theyre with
o Mother is unlikely to leave baby to go and help
o Batson et al. 1978
 Sent participants from 1 building to another to go complete
a task (can youg o to the library to get a book?)
 On the way there wasa a male confederate- who was
slumped on the stairs, coughing and groaning
 2 conditions
 1- group were told that the task was important- 10%
stopped and helped
 2- group were told that there was no rush- 80% stopped and
 Significant difference in helping
o Feldman 1968- cultural differences can lead to differences in
prosocial behaviour- subjects asked to mail a letter for a stranger
after talking to him, asked by both foreigners and natives
Asked by
88% helped
75% helped
48% helped
Asked by natives 68% helped
85% helped
12% helped
o Bond and Leung 1988
o Chinese, Japanese and American participants
o Collectivist cultures were more likely to help than
individualistic cultures
o Levine 2001
o Economic productivity (as defined by GDP per capita PP)low economic productivity leads o high helping behaviour
o Pace of life and simpatico- as defined by speed of walking.
Simpatico hypothesis- countries that prioritise “social
obligations” over economic challenges have citizens that
display prosocial behaviour. South American cultures acted
more prosaically because of the environment of the society.
These countries also happened to be Roman Catholic. There
were exceptions- Copenhagen and Vienna- fast paced and
helpful and Kuala Lumpur- slow paced and not helpful
o Katz 1981
o More likely to help people from their own racial group
o Piliavin et al 1981 (cross-culutral research)
o Experimenters were more likely to help friends than
o Levine et al- 1990
o Helpfulness in 36 cities across the US and 23 cities across
the world
o People from smaller cities are more helpful
o People from New York were less helpful than people from
Rio de Janeiro
o John and Beatrice Whiting 1975
o Analysed the development of prosocial behaviour, explained
it using a persons childhood and responsibility
o Kenyan children were the most prosocial, then Mexican,
then Filipino, then Japanese, then Indian and finally
Overall conclusions to factors affecting bystanderism
o Can be responsible for a large amount of human suffering
o Important to understand the factors affecting bystanderism
o But there is a problem it’s not always very clear how our
knowledge of bystanderism can help our world
o There are many internal and external factors that are involved in
this kind of thinking
o The effects of cultural and gender can be large  this is a very
complex area
Examine Psychological Origins of Attraction
Self esteem
 Kiesler and Baral 1970
o Gave fake IQ tests to groups of men- then gave them fictitious
scores, they were then waiting for their pay when an attractive
female walked in
o 1- people were given “off-the-chart” results, were more likely to
quickly talk with the women and were more engaged in the
o 2- must be a misunderstanding, because the results were so low
that the researchers could not account for the errors were less
likely to quickly talk with the women and were less engaged in the
Reward Theory
 People way up costs and rewards in a balance, look at what they can get
out of it
 One important component is the rewards that one might receive as a
consequence of the relationship. This is often reflected in statements that
people make. I.e. “he makes me laugh”. This can highlight the costs and
rewards that people analyse
 There is an emotional component to the rewards, “he makes me feel good”
 Also there’s an enhancement of social status and standing (social group is
 The explinations of reward theory are based on two types of conditioning
o Operant conditioning (Skinner)
 Lever=food=pushes lever
 Relationship=good=stays in relationship
 So a person in a relationship that makes them happy and so
is more likely to remain in the relationship
o Classical conditioning
 Pavlov’s dogs
 Connects to relationships in the same way, creating
associations between a person and happiness
 Association of a person with positive feelings leads to just
seeing the person creates an emotional response
 Transfering of associations from one relationship to another
 Lewicki 1985
 Asked participants to rate the friendliness of women
in photographs.
 1- Participants who had previously spent time with a
friendly experimenter who looked similar to one of
the women in the photographs were more likely to
choose this photograph
 Participants in a similar study were exposed to a
deliberately unfriendly experimenter and then asked
to give their data from a fake experimental task to
one of the females. They tended to avoid interacting
with the woman who resembled the unfriendly
The gain-loss hypothesis
 We’re more likely to like someone if at first they don’t seem to like us a lot
and then change their minds
 Two reasons were given for this
o The person who liked them at the start might be quite
o Anxiety induction when disliked we feel a want to be liked.
Then, when liked creates a big difference, a reward
 Proposed by Aronson and Linder 1965
o Did an experiment, had a confederate making positive or negative
comments about them to the experimenter. They were then asked
to rate how much they like the confederate later
o Negative then positive comments most like
o Then positive-positive, then negative-negative then positivenegative
Similarities Attract
 Psychological and social, because it involves social cognition
 Rate yourself and them
o If you’re the same rating as them, then they become interesting
o People who are similar become more interesting
o Committed couples/close friendships lend to be the same
 “Matching” Hypothesis (matching attractiveness)
 Ages are often similar
 Why?
1. People tend to assume that people who are similar to themselves
are more likely to like them.- We’re attracted to people who seem
to like us
2. Byrne 1971
 Other peoples support for one’s own attitudes and opinions
it validates ones own opinions. It boosts one self esteem
3. Kin selection
 There may be an evolutionary tendency to be attracted
towards a person who shares one’s genes
4. Proximity
 Demographic similarities can be explained partly through
 When you see people more often you like them more
5. When people are in a long term relationship they start to become
more similar and develop attitude alignments
 Similarity is the result, not the cause of attraction
 Markey et al. (2007)
o Asked people to describe the psychological characteristics, values
and attitudes of their ideal romantic partners, without thinking of
anyone in particular.
o Afterwards they described themselves
o They rated themselves as similar to their ideal partner
o Follow up study- 106 couples who had been together for a year,
rated themselves as similar to partners
o All young Americans
Liu, Campbell and Condie (1995)
o Looked at similarities of ethnic backgrounds of American students.
o Students from four ethnic groups (Asian, African, Latino and
White) asked about their preferences for dating partners
o They all chose their own ethnic group as most desirable over
potential partners from other groups even though they sometimes
rated another group as more physically attractive.
o When asked about reasons for choices, the most common answers
related to social networks: potential partners from their own
ethnic background were more likely to be approved of and
welcomed by family and friends
 Being loved makes us love
 We like those people who show that they like us
 “If you want to be loved, love”
 Dittes and Kelley 1956
o Provided anonymous feedback about participants from other
o Results- participants showed more attraction to group members if
they believed the group members liked them
Social Comparison
 A person will appear to be more attractive to us if we have been exposed
less attractive people beforehand
 Opposite is also true
 Kenrick and Gutierres (1980)
o Asked participants to rate the attractiveness of a woman
o 1- had been watching Charlie’s angels- rated women as less
o 2- had not been watching Charlie’s angels- rated women as more
Examine Social Origins of Attraction
The Gain-Loss Hypothesis
Similarities Attract
Social Comparison
Proximity and Familiarity
 People are close
 Why does proximity work?
1. Availibity- more likely to meet them, so more likely to form a
2. Mere exposure effect- the more you’re exposed to something, the
more positivity you evaluate that object. We like similar things
make us safe + happy rewarding
3. Security- the familiar is more likable than the unfamiliar because
we feel more secure when we think we can predict other people’s
4. Interaction provides us with a sense of connectedness and
attachment. As social animals, this is a basic human need (SIT)
5. Self validation- first we compare our feelings and reactions to
other so that we can better understand ourselves. We can test the
validity of our views and opinions by comparing them to the views
held by others. This self-validation process will be more powerful
with those we interact with regularly because they will provide
more regular and consistant feedback which serves as a form of
reward. It appears that our attraction is based on familiarity,
predictability and frequency of contact (motivated to want to like
people you will see again)
Familiarity with faces
 Zajoric et al. 1971
o Evaluated photos of strangers, some were shown repeatedly and
some weren’t
o Photos that were shown more than once were seen to be more
o The mere exposure effect
o Seeing the same face several times can make them attractive to us
Conclusions to all psychological and social theories
 Making distinctions between the two factors can be quite different,
especially those that involve social cognition, which must be part of both
 The factors are not mutually exclusive, but they may be more or less
important than other factors
 Some factors are also valid for the maintenance and breakdown of
relationships (reward-cost hypothesis)
 These factors show differences not only across individuals but also across
cultures and times
 These factors show how fickle our attraction can be
 There could be applications for this research in the real world- marriage
counselling, predicting success of a relationship, online dating
Examine Biological Origins of attraction
Evolutionary explinations
 People are attracted to each other because of evolutionary reasons
 US study- women rated age (a few years higher than females),
ambition, dependability, intelligence, height and good health (energy
and no disfigurement) as important. Men rated fertile women as
important- youthfulness and health specifically.
Buss 1994
 Men on their first marriages were roughly three years older than their
wife, in their second marriage they were five years older and in their third
marriage they were eight years older.
Dunbar and Waynforth (1995)
 Analysed 900 personal columns in the United States
 Younger partner was important to 42% of men, but 25% of women
Singh (1994)
 Men look for a hip ratio (0.7) which is best for bearing a child
Buss (1993)
 Women and men who lived in places with high pathogen stress found
physical attractiveness more important than people who lived in low
pathogen stress
 Symmetry (counted as beautiful)- can be a sign of health- Schackelford
and Watson
Fischer (2004)
 Believes that different chemicals create love and so love is a biological
and chemical decision rather than a social decision
Marazziti et al. (1999)
 Sixty people
 20 were part of the control group and were neither in love nor did they
have any psychological problems.
 20 were OCD
 20 were people who had recently fallen in love
 In the blood, people who were in love had similar blood serotonin levels
to those who were OCD
 Therefore people in love do experience a fundamental biological change
Dutton and Aron (1974)- Love on a Suspension Bridge Study
 Assistants came up to male, unaccompanied walkers on bridges and
asked them to tell a story in response to a picture
 1- they were on a swaying bridge (releasing adrenaline) more likey to
create a sexual story and to call the researcher after the experiment
2- Not on a swaying bridge
So adrenaline influences one’s chances of finding a mate
Winslow et al. (1993)
 Prairie voles (form long-term relationships and have more sex than
required for reproduction- similar to humans)
 When male prairie dogs have their vasopression inhibited, they no
longer kept their long term relationships strong
Fischer et al. (2003)
 Used an fMRI to track blood flow in 20 men and women who were in love
with varying degrees of passion (as measured by a questionnaire)
 Showed people photos of a neutral person and the person that they loved
 The people’s brain reward system was more active when they looked at
the person that they were in love with
Wedekin (1995)
 Relation between attraction and MHC
 44 men were given a clean shirt and wore it for two nights- while
remaining odour neural
 49 men then sniffed 7 shirts, three of which had similar MNC, three of
which had different MNC and one clean shirt.
 Women who were not pregnant preferred men with different MHC- this
would be better for their offspring
 Those who were on birth control pills (replicating pregnancy), looked for
men with similar MHC, perhaps looking for a family member
Discuss the role of communication in maintaining a relationship
Canary and Stafford 1994
Five maintenance strategies that combat relationship decay
1. Openness
2. Assurances- comfort, affirming commitment to the relationship
3. Positivity- cheerful, doing favours, spontaneous
4. Social networking- meeting up with mutual friends
5. Sharing tasks
Different types of marriages
 Traditional marriage- interdependence between to people.
o Communicate a lot but nervous about confrontation
 Separate marriage- two different jobs, don’t spend much time together
o Business like discussion of problems
 Independent- real sense of independence and equality
o Spend little time together, less expressive in their communication
that the other groups
 Weigel and Ballard-Reisch 1999
o 141 heterosexual couples filled out a questionnaire
o Mostly Caucasian and averaged 10 years of marriage
o Questionnaire was made from Canary and Stafford’s 1992Relational Maintenance Strategy Scale (tests for positivity,
openness, assurances, network use and sharing tasks as well as
scales to determine the type of marriage, marital satisfaction and
level of commitment)
o Traditional Marriages
 Most maintenance behaviours
 Different in use of social networks and sharing tasks
o Separate Marriages
 Least maintenance behaviours
 Less likely to use openness and assurances
o Independent Marriages
 When engaged in more assurance as a maintenance
strategy, they reported greater levels of love in their
The role of basic conversation
 Canary and Daiton 2003
o Relations will naturally pull apart by centrifugal forces
o However, centripetal forces keep relationships together
 One of the simplest forms of communication for maintenance is routine
conversation, “How is your day?”
 Content of the conversation is somewhat secondary to the fact that there
is some conversations
 A sign of a problem might be if these questions are not asked at all or if
the answer is something like “Why are you asking?”
Differences in Communication Styles between Males and females and the
potential for conflict
Deborah Tannen (1990)
Hear and use ‘sorry’
as an apology
Men respond to
negative feelings as
a complaint about a
problem and offer
advice on solving it
Say ‘sorry’ as a way to
express empathy
Respond to someone’s
negative feelings with
understanding and
acceptance (to reassure
that it is all right to feel
Interrupt each other
and expect to be
interrupted in a
conversational style
Tend to change topic
more frequently
Women take friends more
Leads to misunderstandings,
women can feel that this
advice belittles them. Men
can be frustrated by the way
that a woman responds with
her own experiences rather
than acknowledging the
importance of the man’s
There’s a difficult for
women who might want to
speak to a partner but are
unwilling to interrupt
Self disclose (open up
their feelings) more than
Tend to use more
language tags (yup, uhhuh, right, no kidding).
These act as social support
Tend to be more inclusive
and ask the other person’s
Deborah Tannen (1990)
 Canary and Hause (1993) they believe that after 50 years of research,
there are no conclusive findings for such differences, although they might
be expected
 Their meta-analysis provides evidence for small differences due to sex,
approximately 1% of variance, these are moderated by socio-cultural
 They also assert that they true understanding of these differences are
overlooked due to methodological errors and sex role stereotyping- this
perpetuates myths about sex differences and does not serve to accurately
predict behaviour
John Gottman
 Magic ratio
o You can not compensate on negative comment with one positive
o 5 positive comments are needed for every negative
o Correlational- rather than causational perhaps, does a happy
relationship lead to the ratio or the ratio lead to a happy
o It could be causality, dual causality/pos-neg feedback route, single
causing two, roughly equal or a reflection
Gottman et al (2003)
o Positivity is of vital importance in maintaining relationships
The role of attributional style and how attributions are communicated
Attribution style
 The habit of making positive/negative attributions
 Over time this will be reflected in communication
 Key factor in whether the relationship will decay or flourish
Stable attribution- same attribution across time
Global attribution- same attribution across behaviours
Bradbury and Fincham (1990)
 Meta-analysis of research studies on the attributions married couples
mad eon each other’s behaviour
 Poor marital quality in a couple predicts dispositional attributions to
negative behaviours and situational attributions to positive behaviours
(opposite of self-serving bias)
 Attributions a married couple make will influence their behaviour
towards each other.
 Was difficult to determine cause and effect in this example
Social penetration theory and the importance of self-disclosure
Close relationships are formed by a gradual process of self-disclosure
Closeness develops if the couple proceed in a gradual way from
superficial to intimate communication especially when associated with
Self-disclosure is the sharing of facts about oneself with loved ones
including facts, inner thoughts, emotions etc.
Self-disclosure also leads to a feeling of self-validation, of being known
and accepted by the partner
It also allows each partner to meet the needs of the other more easily, this
can create a mutual inter-dependency, which can create a positive
Self-disclosure is a symbol of trust
Collins and Miller (1994)
 Meta-analysis of self-disclosure studies
 Found three things
1. People who disclose intimate information are more likable than
people who don’t
2. People tend to disclose more personal information to those that
they like
3. If people disclose information they like them more
Evaluation of research methods
 Relies heavily on self-report data and so can be subject to bias
 When a person is happy they will view relationships as better and when
their relationships are bad they may view their relationships as negative
For example
Dincia and Canary
 Women tend to engage in many maintenance behaviours more than men,
especially in sharing tasks and openness
 There is also the issue of whether research adequately explains individual
differences in maintenance strategy use across gender and cultures
 There are many strategies which help maintain relationships but effective
communication is the most important
 Types of marriage influence communication styles
 Particular issues arrive when different genders are involved in a
 Some researchers such as Gottman claim that unhelpful communication
styles can be identified and addressed to help maintain and relationship
 What is communication may arise from the sort of attributions we make
about our partner’s behaviour
Analyse why relationships may change or end
Patterns predicting breakdown
 Early parenthood
 Marriage between couples from lower social and educational
 Marriage is less successful between partners with higher numbers of
sexual partners
 Breakdown of trust (an affair)
 Duck (1992)
o Meta-analysis of longitudinal studies in order to identify factors to
predict dissolution of a relationship. They found
o People who had parents that had divorced were more likely to
break up their own marriage
o Teenage marriages were less likely to last than marriages
between older persons and tended to be more unstable (Duck
o Marriage between partners of different backgrounds (for
example, socioeconomic, cultural or different education) was more
likely to end early
o Woman terminate relationships more often than men (Grey and
Silver 1990)
o Early parenthood: The arrival of a baby brings added financial
problems and takes time away from a young couple who might not
have established a stable, intimate relationship (Pringle 1986)
o Marriages between couples from lower economic groups and
lower educational levels tend to be more unstable (Duck 1992)
 Sprecher (1990)
o Carried out a longitudinal study to find out if people can simply fall
out of love
o Couples self-reported their feelings about the relationship
o In relationships that ended, people had higher levels of
dissatisfaction and frustration, but still loved each other
o Indicated that a breakup occurred when frustration outweighed
feelings of love (this explains why breaking up can be painful)
Specific reasons for breakdown suggest by different psychologists
1. Duck (a)- predisposing personal factors
 Personal habits
 Cultural differences- can create background instability
 These, in many relationships, can be tolerated
Duck (b)- external precipitating factors
 Difficult work situations
 Infidelity
 These are often causes of immediate breakdowns
2. Levinger (1980)-suggests relationships will end if There appears to be no solution to a problem except a new life
 Alternative partners are available
 There is an expectation that the relationship will fail
 There is a lack of commitment to the relationship
3. Byrne and Claw (1970)
 Learning theories can explain maintenancy and breakdown of a
 Classical conditioning- negative associations become stronger,
leading to breakdown of relationships
4. Canary and Daton (2003)
 Relationships have a natural tendancy to move apart unless they
are managed and maintained successfully
 Problems in relationships are catalysts (speed up) the end of a
relationship rather than the causes
Major theories of relationship breakdown
Theories based on cost-benefit analysis
 We look at costs and benefits of relationships
 Costs/benefits may change
 If they are no longer in balance then one partner may end the relationship
 We end relationships
o When the rewards that partners offer each other (equity theory)
are unbalanced
o When costs begin to outweigh benefits (social exchange theory)
o When alternative relationships are available and appear to offer
better or more balanced rewards
o When there are few barriers to leaving the relationship
Social Exchange Theory-Weighing up the balance. Costs vs. benefits
Equity theory- who gets more from the relationship? Unfair sharing of benefits
and costs between the two partners
Homans 1961
 Psychologists like an economic approach to relationships, if cots outweigh
benefits then relationship is less likely to succeed
 The most satisfying long-term relationships are those which maximise
rewards and minimise costs, similar to the way that a business works
 An imbalance may be tolerated in the short term (for example-having
 If an inbalence is perceived to be short-term, it may be tolerated for a
 For example- one partner may travel a lot. Short-term-interesting for
partners. Long-term- partners need each other and their support
 Therefore, over a period of time, the costs of not having a partner are
perceived to be come greater and greater and so the relationship ends
SET evaluations
Rational calculations of benefits and costs of relationships, rational
judgement and free choice are parts of a relationship. There are, however,
situations that can’t be explained by this
 Mother son relationships can be very onesided
o Drug addict relationship-she should leave him, but may not always
o Kin selection could explain this
 This may not disprove SET, instead it suggests that other
factors are more important
 Woman and abusive partner
o Costs would outweigh benefits
o According to SET, she should leave
o Could be explained by barriers to leaving relationship
o Threats by leaving
o Belief that it’s better for the kids
o Learned helplessness
 When, via operant conditioning, people learn not to try to
get out of a relationship
 Dog experiment
 Parallel to women in an abusive relationship
Critiscm of SET
Too cold fails to account for emotions
Relationships mau end because people just fall out of love
Breakdown may simple be an emotional response to change
Many theories like this are very western individualistic-society bound
and rooted, collectivist cultures may view relationships more as a socioeconomic union
This theory may be valid for some people in some cultures, but is not
valid for others and in other cultures it just doesn’t apply
Duck 1988 also suggested that these four factors all also contribute
1. Differences in background and culture
2. Expectations
3. Communication style
4. Previous experience of relationship instability
i.e. it’s not just about faireness
Elaine Walster
 SET is too simplistic, trying to condense relationships into a balance
 No reliable way of measuring SET
Equity theory part B- Walster et al 1948
 Looking at a relationship from a fairness perspective
 All about fairness
 Subset/extension of SET
o Accounts for you AND your partner whereas SET is ONLY you
Equity shouldn’t be confused with equality
Equity theory has been used to explain infidelity
 Scenario
o Man, unemployed, not doing house work
o Woman, cheat and feels guilty, feels she now owes him loyalty
o Feeling that faireness has been restored
 Hatfield (1979)
o Study of 2000 couples, those who are deprived or under benefited
had extramarital sex sooner after marriage and with more
partners than those who felt fairly treated or over benefited
Conclusions to Equity Theory
Most of the SET evaluation are valid here too
Both of these theories might also help explain how relationships are
formed (see reward theory)
Based on these theories it would appear that relationships are always in a
constant flux of balance and imbalance, so relationships are always in
constant danger of being destroyed
Theory 2
Rolly and Duck (1982)
Duck’s original model
1. Intraphysic- brooding about negative aspects of the relationship
2. Dyadic stage- confronting the partner with any resulting dissatisfaction
3. Social stage- involving others, as the partners ‘go public’ with their
relationship problems and now must sort out what happens next
4. Grave dressing stage- each partner relating to other their own version of
why the relationship failed
Other model- Rollie and Duck’s model
1. Breakdown
a. One party in the relationship reaches a point where they consider
the relationship should finish
2. Intrapsychic process
a. Brooding about negative parts of the relationship
3. Dyadic process
a. One partner declares resentment to the other,
b. Relationship can be saved by effective communication and a
resolve to address the problem
4. Social process
a. Intention to break up the relationship is made public
5. Grave dressing process
a. Split has occurred and is made public, complaints are made
6. Resurrection process
a. Someone ‘picks themselves up, dusting themselves down and
starting all over again’
b. Believes that ‘this time everything will be different’
 This model offers and insight into the patterns of communication that
people tend to use when in different phases of a relationship break-up
 Gives an outsider some insight into how the partners involved perceive
their relationship and offers clues to others about the most appropriate
form of help to offer
Advantage over traditional ‘stage’ models
 In an effort to simplify the breakdown, there is a sacrifice of accuracy and
usefulness to the management of relationships in real life
 As models become more simplistic they lose their ability to describe and
predict these complex processes adequately
 Many relationship processes are unpredictable and not easily reduced to
a simple model
 By emphasising the typical patterns of communication associated with
different phases of breakdown rather than a fixed pattern of stage that
must proceed in a linear fashion, Rollie and Duck’s model offers a more
realistic description of how these processes develop in real life
 Highlights positive aspects of a breakdown- more realistic, whereas
traditional breakdowns focus mainly on the distress
Real-life applications The model can have real-life applications if used to help prevent
breakdown of a relationship
 Duck claims that by paying attention to the topics that people discuss and
how they talk about their relationship, it may be possible to intervene
before the breakdown progresses
 This not only offers an indication about their stage in the process, but may
also suggest interventions appropriate to that stage. For example:
o An individual in the intrapsychic phase might be encouraged to
think about the strengths of their partner and to reflect upon their
own contribution to the current problem
Explain the role that culture plays in the formation and maintenance of
Formation of relationships
Cultural differences in romantic love and union
 Difference in definition and therefore the concept and expectations of
marriage in cultures
o Modern societies believe that marriage is a formal association
between two people in love and the dissolution of love alone
invalid ground for divorce
o Traditional societies believe that marriage is a bond between two
families, not just two people. It involves economic and social
arrangements which can create inseparable bonds
Traditional societal vs modern societal marriages A large percentage of arranged marriages appear to be successful
 Goodwin (1995)- passionate love is largely a western phenomenon
Matsumoto (2004)- “You Americans marry the person you love; we love
the person we marry”
Gupta and Singh (1992) found that couple in India who married for love
reported diminished feelings of love if they had been married for more
than five years. Those who had arranged marriage reported higher levels
of love
Yeslma and Athappily (1990)- compared people from Indian arranged
marriages with people from Indian and American love marriages and
found arranged marriages to be more satisfying
Simmons et al. (1986)- found that romantic love was more valued in the
US and in Germany than in Japan. They argued that romantic love is less
valued in more traditional cultures which have strong, extended family
ties (collectivist)
Dion and Dion (1993)- have noted that in traditional societies, marriage
is more than just the union of two individuals, it is held to be a union and
alliance between two families. Whereas Americans tend to view marriage
as a lifetime companionship between two individuals I love, people of
many other cultures view marriage more as a partnership formed in
order to have children and for economic and social support
Levine et al. (1995)-individualistic countries were more likely to rate
love as essential to the establishment of a marriage and to agree that the
disappearance of love is sufficient reason to end a marriage> Wealthy
counties with a large GDP also showed this tendency. They also found that
divorce rates are highly correlated with the belief that the disappearance
of love warranted the dissolution of marriage
Singh (2005)- Investigated the nature of arranged marriages in India
o The majority of marriages in India are still arranged
o There is no room for romantic marriage as that is seen as a
Western Ideology
o There is a certain amount of trust in your parents in finding you
the right match
o Love is found after marriage and there are very low divorce rates
due to cultural restrictions0
 Divorce is usually kept secret
 To want to divorce someone means that you think your
parents made a bad decision
 Stigmatisation around divorce and subsequent behavioural
o Conclusions to Singh
 Long-term maintenance of relationships can be driven by
cultural restrictions rather than love
Cultural Mate preferences (play a role in both starting and maintaining
Universals to attraction in terms of mate preference but there are also cultural
 F
 F
Cultural specifications
 Ahmad and Reid (2008)- Indo-Pakistani marriages tend to be satisfying
o Strong religious component to the relationship
o Financial security
o Relatively high statues
o Parental acceptance
o Families with good reputations
 Buss (1994)- Largest cross-cultural studies on relationships ever
undertaken, Buss gave two questionnaires regarding mate selection to
more than 10,000 respondents from 37 cultures. Findings:
o In 36/37 cultures, woman preferred financial prospects, preferred
older mates. Men preferred younger mates
o 23/37 cultures- males rated chastity as important
o Interesting differences:
 USA- love raked first
 Iran- Love ranked third- Highly ranked: education,
intelligence, ambition and chastity
 Nigeria- Love ranked fourth- Highly ranked- Good health,
neatness, desire for home and children
 China- Love ranked sixth- Highly ranked-good health,
chastity, domestic skills
 South Africa (Zulu)- Love ranked seventh- Highly rankedemotional stability and maturity, dependability
Evaluation of Buss
 Relies on questionnaire
 People may feel unable to write that they are dissatisfied with their
marriage and there are social norms affecting how appropriate it is to
express dissatisfaction with a marriage
 Similarities described indicate that culture does not play a total role in
determining relationship
 d