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Lecture 3

PSYC 362 Lecture Notes - Lecture 3: Social Exchange Theory, Behaviorism

Course Code
PSYC 362
Rebecca Cobb

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PSYC 362 M3 Social Exchange Theory
- A marriage between economic theory and behaviorism (esp rewards and
- Emerged in the late 50s
- Social relations involves a process of exchange of social goods, eg status, approval,
and information
- Motivation to maximize profits and minimize losses in the relationship
- What determines the quality and duration of intimate relationship?
The ‘currency’ of relationships
- Any rewards and costs in the relationship (tangible/ intangible)
- If the costs outweigh the rewards → maybe consider ending the relationship
- Rewards: any of the ways the relationship may fulfil the needs and desires of
each partner
- Material: instrumental, tangible or task-oriented
- Social: affectional, emotional
- Costs: any of the consequences of being in a relationship that prevent partners
from fulfilling their needs/ desires
- Opportunity costs: costs associated with not pursuing these other
possible sources of reward
Factors that affect value
- Principle of scarcity: scarcer rewards are higher in value
- Satiation: value of repeated rewards will decrease
- Principle of fatigue: value of repeated costs will increase
- Subjective probability: your own sense about the likelihood of its occurrence
Is my relationship profitable?
- Track rewards and costs
- Seldom done explicitly or systematically
- Three sources of information:
- Outcome
- Outcome (profit) = rewards - costs
- comparison level (CL)
- comparison level for alternatives (CLALT)
- Idiosyncratic: everyone has own CL
- What they think they deserve
- Influenced by
- Previous relationship experiences (how other have treated us in the past)
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