PS287 Lecture Notes - Storge, Color Wheel Theory Of Love, Social Exchange Theory

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5 Feb 2013
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Terms & Concepts
Evolutionary Theory
Men & women behave in ways that will maximize the survival of their genes.
Men value attractiveness & youth in mates (indicators of fertility).
Weakness: It cannot explain men’s preferences for women w/ domestic skills.
Social Role Theory
A society’s emphasis on distinct division of labour b/w the sexes will be directly
linked to sex differences in mate selection. Females will value a mate w/ high
earning capacity; males will value a mate w/ domestic skills in societies where
men’s role is to work outside the home & women’s role is to work inside the
Weakness: Cannot explain men’s preferences for attractive mates.
Social Construction
Social norms dictate what is desirable in a mate.
A schema/cognitive representation of a sequence of events.
Theory of Love
There are 3 primary styles of love: Eros, Storge, Ludus. There are also 3 blends of
these love styles: mania, pragma, agape.
Romantic love.
Friendship love.
Game-playing love.
Maniac love. Blend of eros & ludus.
Practical love. Blend of storge & ludus.
Pure love. Blend of eros & storge.
Social Exchange
Relationships satisfaction is partly determined by the benefits & costs incurred
in a relationship.
Where one person’s emotions influence another person’s emotions.
Characterized by 1 person demanding (not nagging), & the other person not
responding/w/drawing. Demander is more likely to initiate problem discussion.
W/drawer is more likely to avoid problem discussion. Demander more likely to
be a woman, w/drawer a man.
Relationship Development
- Women & men agree on the most important characteristics of a mate:
o Kind
o Understanding
o Honest
o Trustworthy
o Sense of humour
o Open
o Expressive
- There are consistent sex differences on traits that are relatively unimportant in choosing a mate
o Men value physical attractiveness more
o Women value economic resources more
- The nature of the relationship influences mate preferences
o Sex differences are more likely to appear when the relationship is less serious
o Men’s & women’s preferences are most similar in serious relationships
- Gay men/lesbians are attracted to a similar set of characteristics in potential mates as
o Gay men (like straight men) are more interested in a mate’s physical attractiveness
o However, lesbians (unlike straight women) are not attracted to a potential mate’s
financial resources
- Ppl make trade-offs when choosing mates
- Sex differences are minimized when trade-offs are made & women & men choose more similar
- Sex differences in mate preferences can be explained by:
o Evolutionary Theory
o Social Theory
o Social Construction Theory
- Both Evolutionary Theory & Social Theory can explain why women prefer a mate w/ greater
economic resources
- Social Construction Theory of mate preferences is supported by cultural differences in mate
o Sex differences in mate preferences may be larger in more traditional cultures where
men’s & women’s roles are distinct & women have less access to economic resources
- In the past & present, society expects men to initiate romantic relationships
o However, men may be relatively uncomfortable having this responsibility
- First date scripts for relationship initiation among straight & gay ppl contain similar components
o Straight & gay men take the more proactive role in relationships (compared to straight
women & lesbians)
o However, other aspects of the first date script are not divided by sex in homo
relationships in the way that they are in straight relationships
The Nature of Romantic Relationships
- Romantic relationships are expected to provide:
o Intimacy/closeness
o Love
o Sexual exclusivity
- On the whole, men & women conceptualize intimacy in the same ways
o Intimacy includes:
Expressions of love & appreciation
Feelings of happiness & contentment
- Sex may be a more important component of intimacy for both straight & gay men than women,
but it is still not the most important feature of intimacy for men
- Historically, women had a more practical view of love & men a more romantic view
- Today, sex differences are smaller, but men still tend to hold more romantic ideals than women
- Men & women are equally accepting of sex in serious relationships
- In casual relations, men are more accepting of sex
- A double standard exists regarding sex in casual relationships (ie. It is more acceptable for a man
than a women to engage in premarital sex)
- Both men & women are disapproving of extramarital sex, but women show stronger disapproval
than men do
- There is some evidence that sex may have different meanings for men & women (esp. among
younger ppl)
o Men have a more recreational view of sex
o Women have a relational view of sex
- This difference may explain why both men & women perceive that a women who has an
extramarital affair is more serious about the relationship partner than a man who has an
extramarital affair
- The age of first sexual experience is lowering
- The majority of young ppl have sex before marriage despite abstinence only education &
pledges of virginity
- Abstinence only education & pledges of virginity seem to delay sex, but does not postpone sex
to marriage & may be associated w/ less contraceptive use
Maintaining Relationships
- Women engage in more relationship maintenance than men
- Women’s maintenance behaviour are more strongly related to relationship outcomes than
men’s maintenance behaviours
- Power balance of a relationship influences relationship satisfaction
o More egalitarian relationships are associated w/ relationship satisfaction for both
women & men
- There are different ways of conceptualizing egalitarianism:
o Joint participation
o Separate but equal participation this may not be a truly egalitarian philosophy
- Social exchange theory predicts relationship satisfaction for straight men/women & gay men,
but is less applicable to lesbian relationships
- Women’s relationship satisfaction is more affected by characteristics of their partner than is
men’s relationship satisfaction
- Homo relationships are not inferior in quality to straight relationships
- The same variables that predict relationship satisfaction among straight men/women predict
relationship satisfaction among gays
- In terms of commitment, gays face fewer barriers to leaving a relationship than straights
- In marital interaction studies, women display more ve affect than men & are more likely to
reciprocate ve affect than men in distressed couples
o Leads to the suggestion that women are the emotional barometers in relationships
- The demand/w/draw behaviour pattern has been linked to gender
o Women = demander
o Men = w/drawer
- Several explanations for this pattern:
o Men & women have a basic conflict in that women want connection (req’s cooperation
from a partner), & men want autonomy (which they can achieve on their own)
o Women identify more problems in a relationship than men do
To resolve problems, confrontation or demanding behaviour may be necessary
o Demand/w/draw pattern may be related to the power structure in relationships & the
lower status of women