PSYC 362 Chapter Notes -Net Profit

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PSYC 362 Week 4 Readings
By: Miller, Perlman, Brehm (2007)
Social Exchange
- We stay with partners who provide sufficient profit
- Rewards and costs – we seek interactions that provide maximum reward at minimum cost
oRewards – anything within an interaction that is desirable and welcome and that brings
enjoyment or fulfillment to the recipient
Gratifying experiences and commodities we obtain through our contact with
oCosts – punishing, undesirable experiences
Some of the most important costs of an intimate relationship are psychological
burdens (where is the relationship headed, insecurities, imperfections, ball and
chain feeling)
oNet profit or loss: Outcome = rewards – costs
- Asserts that people want the best possible outcomes
Criteria with which we evaluate the outcomes we receive
1. What we expect from our relationships
oComparison level (CL) –describes the value of the outcomes that we believe we deserve
in our dealings with others
Based on our past experiences
High CL’s – from good experiences in relationships; they feel they
deserve very good outcomes
Low CL’s – have had trouble in relationships; likely to expect less
Represents his or her neutral point on a continuum that ranges from misery to
static delight
You may not be happy if the reward isn’t big enough to meet your expectations
Satisfaction derives from how our outcomes compare to our comparison level
Outcomes – CL = Satisfaction or Dissatisfaction
2. How well could we do elsewhere?
oComparison level for alternatives (CLalt) – could we be doing even better somewhere
Describes the outcomes we can receive by leaving our current relationship and
moving to the best alternative partnerships or situations we have available
CLalt is the lowest level of outcome we will tolerate from our present partners
Even if we are dissatisfied with our current relationship, if we have no other
alternative, we may stay
Determines our dependence on our relationships – if we are doing as well as we
possibly can with our present partners, then we are unlikely to leave them
The greater the gap between our current outcomes and poorer alternatives, the
more dependent we are
Investment also affect the decision to stay or go
i.e. children, furniture, respect of in-laws, love, etc
desirable alternatives will only enhance your CLalt if you are aware of them
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