MIT 9 00 - Social Exchange Theory Applied to Romantic Relationships (9 pages)

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Social Exchange Theory Applied to Romantic Relationships



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Social Exchange Theory Applied to Romantic Relationships

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Lecture Notes


Pages:
9
School:
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Course:
9 00 - Introduction to Psychology

Unformatted text preview:

Social Exchange Theory Applied to Romantic Relationships Emily Wang 9 00 Paper III Rewriting the Textbook November 6 2004 While idealistic views of sex in romantic relationships focus on sex as a private act between two equal partners who care about each other it is the unfortunate fact that sexual double standards do exist more obviously in the past but still to some extent today Earlier in this chapter we focused on evolutionary theory as one way of explaining the differences between men and women Another way of trying to explain the discrepencies between the way sex and romantic relationships are viewed by females and males is through applying the idea of social exchange theory to romantic relationships Social exchange theory analyzes interactions between two parties by examining the costs and benefits to each The key point of the theory is that it assumes the two parties are both giving and receiving items of value from each other Under this theory interactions are only likely to continue if both parties feel they coming out of the exchange with more than they are giving up that is if there is a positive amount of profit for both parties involved Baumeister and Vohs 5 Rewards and costs are important concepts that form the basis of most social exchange theories Rewards are exchanged resources that bring pleasure and satisfaction while costs are exhanged resources that are perceived as a loss or punishment The social exchange framework is useful for understanding sexuality within a relational context it focuses on what each partner gives and receives from the other It allows one to analyze why people choose each other as romantic partners in the first place which partner has more influence in the sexual activities the two engage in and whether or not one or both partners might seek sexual activity outside of the relationship Sprecher 32 1 The basis of the social exchange theory as applied to romantic relationships is that sex in a heterosexual community is a



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