These FAQs are topical and thematic and correspond to audio lectures and lessons on this site. Additional FAQs are added periodically.

Topic: Romantic Relationships

What is PPU?

Partner perceived uniqueness is defined as the capacity of a partner to fulfill relational needs in ways that no other partner can fulfill. Relational needs include companionship, intimacy, security, emotional involvement, and sex.

What is relational transgression?

Relational transgression is defined as the type of occurrence  that typifies the violation of an implicit or explicit relational rule. An explicit rule is one that is specific to a relationship and is an example of excessive drinking or drug abuse or talking to a former girlfriend or boyfriend. An implicit rule tends to be one that is culturally the standard or norm especially in consideration of the expectations for proper relationship conduct. Monogamy is an example of an implicit rule. 

What is the investment model?

The investment model (IM) is defined by four components: satisfaction, investment, quality of alternatives, and community. Rusbult (1980) defined satisfaction as positive feelings toward one’s relationship; investment as intrinsic and extrinsic resources devoted to the relationship; quality of alternatives as perceived attractiveness of possible alternatives; and commitment as the desire to continue a psychological attachment.

What is gender socialization?

Gender socialization is the social expectation of boys and girls to think, behave, and portray themselves in certain ways that are based upon a culture’s norm. Both men and women are placed is socially rigid roles where men are trapped into the ideals of masculinity and where women are expected to embrace more freedom. Boys are not permitted to display emotions or feel sadness while girls are encouraged to deal with their emotions. Dealing with emotions is considered feminine.

What are coping mechanisms?

Coping mechanisms are those strategies people use to resolve both internal and external demands as well as challenges to their psychological resources. Psychological resources may be considered people, things, and other attachments. Relational transgression such as cheating and/or marital infidelity may be used as a coping mechanism. In addition, using a rebound relationship might help a person emotionally distract and emotionally detach from a previous partner. According to Shimek and Bello (2014), men tend to jump into rebound relationships quicker than women.

What is pessimistic outlook?

Pessimistic outlook is related to the incidence of a recent breakup and the feelings of fear of being alone, lack of personal worth, and the threat of failure. For an individual who is emotionally distressed over a breakup and who also longs for reconciliation, it is difficult to consider the possibility of developing feelings for another person and the relationship actually working and leading to long-term fulfillment. The person is perceived as having an anxious attachment that hinders him or her from envisioning the possibility of another romantic connection. The person only envisions reconciliation with the ex-partner, who no longer desires the relationship.

Topic: Parenting Styles

What are the four (4) child rearing styles?

Child rearing styles combine parenting behaviors over a range of situations. there are four styles of child rearing:

Authoritative Child Rearing

Authoritarian Child Rearing

Permissive Child Rearing

Uninvolved Child Rearing

The four child rearing styles are further explored.

Authoritative Child Rearing

Authoritative child rearing is characterized as the most successful approach in terms of: 

High acceptance and involvement

adaptive control techniques

Appropriate autonomy granting

Parents exercise firm but reasonable control, give reasons for their expectations, and design disciplinary encounters as “teaching moments” (Berk, 2014).

Authoritarian Child Rearing

Authoritarian child rearing is characterized as parents appear cold and rejecting and using psychological control, which is the manipulation of children’s verbal expression. It includes:

Low in acceptance and involvement

High in coercive control

Low in autonomy granting

When parents are dissatisfied, they withdraw love and make their attention or affection contingent on the child’s compliance. Parents produce children who are unhappy, low in self-esteem, and anxious (Berk, 2014).

Permissive Child Rearing

Permissive child rearing is characterized as overindulgence. It includes:

Warm and accepting but uninvolved

Overindulgent or inattentive

Little control, no gradual autonomy

Allow children to make their own decisions

Parents allow children to eat meals and go to bed whenever they want. Children do not learn good manners or do household chores. As a result, children tend to be impulsive, disobedient, and rebellious (Berk, 2014).

Uninvolved Child Rearing

Uninvolved child rearing is characterized as emotional detachment. It includes:

Low acceptance and involvement

Little control and general indifference

Parents tend to be emotionally detached, depressed, and overwhelmed by life processes (Berk, 2014).

When extreme, uninvolved parenting is a form of child maltreatment and neglect (Berk, 2014).

What is aggression?

Aggression is developed in childhood. There are two types of aggression. Proactive aggression reflects a child who acts to fulfill a need or desire and will attack another child to achieve that goal (Berk, 2014). Reactive aggression reflects a child who presents a defensive, angry posture in response to a blocked goal or provocation (Berk, 2014). Both proactive and reactive aggression are reflected in:

Physical aggression

Verbal aggression

Relational aggression

For further information, please review these concepts using your basic psychology textbook or resource.

Topic: Mate Value

What is mate value?

Mate value is determined by one’s perception of his or her own attractiveness relative to others and access to high value mates (Starratt et al., 2017). Assessment of attractiveness is based upon a global measure of attractiveness as a potential mate (Starratt et al., 2017). Mate value is often reflected in stereotypes: blondes are preferred to brunettes; light-skinned blacks are preferred to darker-skinned blacks. Mate value may predict infidelity intention. There are six factors of mate value: agreeableness/commitment, resource potential, physical prowess, surgency, and physical attractiveness (Starratt et al., 2017).

What is mate switching?

Mate switching is defined as the breaking up with one partner and re-mating with another (Buss, Goetz, Duntley, Asao, & Conroy-Beam, 2017). Mate switching involves monitoring the current relationship to determine benefits achieved and costs expected; evaluating potential alternatives;, engaging in extra-pair infidelity; deploying exit strategies; and switching to a new partner when the cost-benefit ration is advantageous (Buss et al., 2017).  

Reasons why people mate switch: Partners mate switch when they perceive their current partner as declining in value; when they have increased in value through their ow efforts; and when there is the presence of a higher value mate. Women may mate switch because of inadequate financial support, emotional dissatisfaction with their current partner, and out of a desire to cultivate a backup mate.

What is backup mate hypothesis?

The backup mate hypothesis is the cultivation of replacement mates. Partners may cultivate three potential replacement mates resulting from feelings of emotional disengagement, instigating affairs and sexual encounters, and using the backup mate for mate insurance. An affair allows for the assessment of an alternative mate. 

What are the costs of mate switching?

The costs of mate switching include a damaged reputation, loss of social support, withdrawal of financial support, revenge porn, loss of economic investment for children. Remating is part of the mate switching process (Buss et al., 2017).

What is mate replaceability?

Mate replaceability is the notion that guides a decision to substitute one mate for another.  Desirable opportunities offer a better benefit and investment.  Mate value qualities have changed over time and the partner desires special, more unique qualities in a higher value mate.  One is substitutable when common attributes are shared between the current partner and the alternative. when partners sense they are losing ground, they pursue becoming irreplaceable.

Topic: Mate Retention

What is a high value mate?

Mate value is based upon a comparison of characteristics of the person and the characteristics of a potential alternative partner. A high value mate is subjective and based upon what the person believes his or her mate value to be in comparison to others on the mating market. A woman’s mate value relative to other women on the mating market might be a predictor of male mate retention behaviors. There are two mating markets: sex market and marriage market. Mate value predicts mate retention.

What is mate retention?

Mate retention is the use of mate retention tactics to thwart partner defection. Mate retention includes behaviors that may be benefit-provisioning or cost-inflicting. Benefit-provisioning behaviors are usually designed for higher mate value partners. Benefit-provisioning might include providing more material resources and dedication of all efforts to retaining the relationship. Cost-inflicting behaviors are typically designed for lower mate value partners. Cost-inflicting behaviors include decreasing the partner’s self-esteem, reducing social support system, and rendering the possibility of alternatives impossible (Miner et al., 2009).

What are mate retention tactics?

Mate retention tactics include four strategies taken from the Mate Retention Inventory Short Form (Buss et al., 2008). They include: Vigilance: Partners may snoop through their partner’s belongings. Monopolization of time: Partners may insist that their partners spend all their time with them. Emotional manipulation: Partners may suggest that their significant others are dependent upon them. Derogation of competitors: Partners may point out the flaws of a potential alternative. Jealousy is considered a mate retention tactic.

Men mated to high value mates:

Men mated to higher value mates perform benefit-provisioning mate retention if they have the material resources. Men value youthfulness and attractiveness. Men may use cost-inflicting to prevent infidelity, but cost-inflicting behaviors may backfire on a woman who is interested in cultivating backup mates. Benefit-provisioning for a higher value mate will also include gifts, compliments, essentially validation.

Women mated to high value mates:

Women mated to higher value mates tend to devote more mate retention tactics, especially if the man has a good job, higher income, and higher status hierarchy. They are less likely to use cost-inflicting behaviors. They may, however, use additional mate retention tactics such as direct guarding, which is defined as not taking a partner around other potential partners. An additional mate retention tactic might be public signals of possession in which the partner puts her arms around her partner.

Lower value mates:

Men and women with lower value mates typically use cost-inflicting mate retention behaviors. Lower mate value mates tend to be replaceable.

A man partnered to a lower value mate will replace the partner with a higher value mate. Partners are willing to risk losing a lower value mate and will allocate efforts to cost-inflicting behaviors. The potential of obtaining a higher value partner outweighs the deficiencies in the lower value mate.

Women partnered with a lower value mate may use cost-inflicting behaviors such as insults or infidelity or simply exit or defect from the relationship. The benefits of exiting outweigh retaining the relationship or pursuing any mate retention efforts.

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