chapter 8 social exchange theory (exam 1)

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what is the basic concept of the social exchange theory?
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human social relationships can be understood as revolving around the human exchange of resources valued by the participants
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what is the focus of social exchange theory?
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the dynamics of relationships
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what are the dynamics of relationships
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1. how they are formed 2. how they are maintained 3. how they dissolved
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who are the historians/theorists of the social exchange theory?
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smith, homans, nye, frazer, Malinowski & Levi Strauss
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early anthropologist
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explored the relationship between social norms and individual behavior
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what did Adam Smith contribute
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taught that people tend to act rationally in ways to maximize their profit economically
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what did Malinowski and Levi-Strauss contribute
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demonstrated how cultures engage in the exchange of various goods and service as a central aspect of their social life
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what did Frazer (1919) contribute
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concluded that many social structures result from economic needs of the individuals within the systems
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what did George Homans contribute
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adapted the principles of behaviorism –> reinforcement and punishment drove human behavior –> sociology should pay more attention to those dynamics instead of social structure
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who is considered to be the most influential scholar in bringing exchange theory to general sociology
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George Homans
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what did Ivan Nye (1978/1979) contribute
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summarized concepts –> exchange model could be applied to large numbers of research questions in family science
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assumptions of social exchange theory
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1. people are motivated by self-interest 2. individuals are constrained by their choices 3. humans are rational beings 4. social relationships are also characterized by interdependence
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rewards
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persons physical, social, and psychological world that is pleasurable
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examples of rewards
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1. satisfaction or gratification 2. status or relationship 3. anything a person would choose without added benefits 4. varies from one person to the next e.g. Johnny receives praise from his parents for his good grades
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costs
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anything that a person does not like
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examples of costs
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things included status, relationships, or feelings
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factors that discourage an activity
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1. anything someone dislikes or finds disgusting, or demeaning (e.g. Johnny dislikes studying but chooses to anyways) 2. sacrificed rewards; consisting of feelings, positions, money, and services (e.g. Johnny studies instead of going to the game)
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profit
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refers to any outcome regarding rewards and costs
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example of gaining the most rewards with the fewest costs
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people try to maximize profits and minimize the cost in our relationships and interactions everyday **most rewards have some costs attached and have to be weighed and considered**
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comparison level
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evaluation of our profit against what we feel is deserved ; comparing the rewards and costs to judge our feelings on what we think would be a fair outcome (e.g. people look at others in similar positions and compare what we are experiencing to them; we also expect our rewards to be similar)
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levels of alternatives
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1. comparing outcomes with alternative relationships, statuses, etc. 2. when person outcome is below the comparison level, the theory predicts that you will attempt to leave your situation for better ones
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example of levels of alternatives
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when a married man meets another attractive woman, however, he decides that divorce is expensive and not worth the cost of change
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reciprocity
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social expectation that people should help those who have helped them, and should not injure those who have helped them
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what is an important norm for an effective society society because society could not function without it
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reciprocity
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proverbial
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\”you scratch my back and i’ll scratch yours\” (reciprocity)
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autonomy
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ability to control own life and choose own rewards/costs
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security
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seeking economic security provides freedom from want
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ambiguity
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boredom with over-predictability combined with our fear of the unknown
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equality
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research consistently finds higher levels of interaction (exchange) between equals
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mate selection
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someone will choose a person that has similar traits as them
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what do women seek
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older, taller, good income potential
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what do men seek
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beauty
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extramarital sex
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a short term reward is seen more powerful than a potential long-term cost of the activity
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there would be fewer affairs
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if people could anticipate all the possible negative outcomes or costs
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research applications using social exchange theory
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exchange has been useful in analyzing the mate selection process, divorce, and a few other family dynamics
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research applications using social exchange theory: what does \”marriage market\” refer to
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the idea that people are making choices for a companion based on what the other person has to offer
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single people list rewards they want from a relationship…
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what costs they are willing to incur, and what they have to offer a possible mate

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