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Erin Ross (13)
Lecture 4

Lecture 4 - Theories of Mate Selection

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York University
PSYC 3630
Erin Ross

Lecture 4 1 January 24th, 2012 - For exam: know differences between racial/ethnic groups - Not know statistics, but know the general pattern Mate Selection - Long-term commitment focus progress - Opposite-sex mate selection: happiness, fulfillment, long term security, someone to get old with - Bad selection: poor mental health, poor physical health - In N America: individual choice, one based on romantic attachment/love - In other countries: parental choice, status and power - Different selection in different times and in different culture Myths of Mate Selection 1) There is one and only person with whom you should partner in your life (soul mate) a. There are lots of potential prospects available 2) Until you find the perfect person with whom to partner, you should not be satisfied a. Going to be looking for a long time, because no one is perfect 3) You should feel totally confident as a partner before you make a long-term commitment a. Typical reaction to have concerns 4) You should prove your relationship will work before making a long-term commitment a. Good communication/problem solving skills make good relationship b. No guarantee of success no matter how many times you test your relationship 5) You can be happy with anyone you choose as a long-term partner as long as you try hard enough a. Relationship works when having 2 individuals that commit to making relationship work b. Not everyone wants to put in the work/effort 6) Being in love with someone is enough to form a long-term relationship a. Not sufficient 7) Living together before marriage will increase the likelihood of a happy marriage a. Not consistent; people who cohabitate before marriage more likely to be dissatisfied or divorce b. Individuals cohabitate systematically diff from people who don’t cohabitate and go to marriage directly: i. Commitment to long term relationship 8) You should choose someone with characteristics opposite to yours as a long-term partner a. Attractive to each other, but not successful at long-term commitment 9) Choosing long-term partner should be easy a. Ignores the factor of preparation (dating), thoughts, varying possibilities Theories of Mate Selection Psychodynamic theories - Freud: personality determined by age 7-8 - Impact of childhood experiences within one’s family rearing - Lack empirical validity Parent Image Theory - Age 5-6 (oedipal stage of development) = determines our identification with opposite-sex parent o Psycho-identification = unconscious attachment of psychic energy to opposite-sex parent - Men select mates like their mothers (similarities of your partner and your opposite-sex parent) Lecture 4 2 January 24th, 2012 Ideal Parent Theory - we have a “phantasy” of an ideal mate - unconscious ideal mate we hold Needs Theories (in 50s-60s) Complementary Needs Theory - Opposite needs, but complementary to our own - Ex: Nurturing person will seek for mate who needs nurturing - “opposite attracts” Instrumental Needs Theory - Select mate who provide maximum gratification of our needs and minimal penalization of needs - Statistics show the theory doesn’t work well - Simple needs gratification, bond with people who meet your needs Exchange Theories - Can be any type of relationships: friendship, family - Costs and benefits are equal o If costs outweigh benefits, we tend to exit the relationship (particularly when alternative is available) Traditional Exchange Theory
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