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natural selection

the belief that nature selects the best adapted varieties of species to survive and reproduce

sexual selection

a form of natural selection that happens in two ways: (1) members of one sex compete among themselves for opportunities to mate, thereby "out-reproducing" other competitors; and (2) a sex chooses to mate with a specific, more preferable person

evolutionary theory

the evolutionary theory for mate selection purports that we choose mates for the sole purpose of ensuring reproductive success-and thus the success of the species and society

fertility cues

when seeking mates, men will select women who possess certain fertility cues, such as youth, attractiveness, and permissiveness

protector/provider cues

women tend to seek out a mate who possesses protector/provider cues, such as intelligence, physical strength, and ambition

Social exchange theory

this theory centers on the exchange of people's material or symbolic resources, asserting that individuals act out of self-interest to capitalize on the resources they possess


benefits exchanged in a social relationship.


the inverse or opposite of reward. Can be experienced as punishments due to individuals engaging in one behavior or another

matching hypothesis

the premise that most of us want a socially desirable person regardless of our own degree of social desirability

filter theory of mate selection

this theory suggest that individuals use a filtering mechanism that helps them sort out a potential mate from the vast pool of candidates

pool of candidates

eligible relationship partners


refers to geographical closeness; one cannot interact with someone if one is not in the same geographical region


partnering with someone similar in ethnic and racial background, religious upbringing, age, education level, political ideology, socioeconomic status, and values and beliefs


a requirement to marry outside of a particular group. in the U.S., for example, we cannot marry a sibling or, in some states, a first cousin


refers to marrying within one's same group, such as Muslims marrying Muslims, Catholics marrying Catholics, etc


refers to partners who are of different races, religions, or ethnicities

pair bonds

a couple who is emotionally bonded to one another, which characterizes the couple's union


socially prescribed forms of conduct that guide or groom young men and women toward matrimony


socializing for any number of reasons, such as for relaxation and escape from everyday responsibilities or to pursue a relationship to determine whether the partner is a potential spouse or a partner for a life-long relationship

script theory

the idea that individuals use scripts that help us organize the information in our environments

cultural scripts

common guidelines that provide instructions about what behaviors and emotions are expected in certain situations

intrapsychic scripts

sexual scripts that account for individual desires, fantasies, emotions, and intentions while at the same time considering the interpersonal responses of others.

interpersonal scripts

sexual scripts that recognize how different people interact and relate to each other within specific social situations

dating scripts

the models that guide our dating interactions

speed dating

a quick meeting that allows people to meet each other face to face to decide if they share mutual interests and if they are interested in another, more extended, date.

online dating

using the internet as a tool in the process of finding a mate

hooking up

physical or sexual interaction with the absence of commitment or affection

friends with benefits/booty call

a term used to describe one who has regular sex with another, but does not relate to that peson as a boyfriend or girlfriend.

Knapp's relationship escalation model

describes how relationships are initially formed and how they progress over time: initiation, experimenting/exploration, intensification, integrating, and bonding/intimacy

duck's relationship filtering model

similar to the filter model of mate selection, Stephen Duck proposed that when deciding whether to enter into or continue an interpersonal relationship, we have a set of filters through which we sort information: sociological or incidental cue, preinteraction cues, interaction cues, and cognitive cues.

sociological/incidental cue

the first filter of Stephen Duck's system, this relates to the restrictions and limitations placed on one's ability to meet people. these cues speak to one's sociological location or position, or the places where one lives and works

preinteraction cue

these cues provide at-a-glance information that helps us decide whether we would even consider wanting a date with a certain person. outward attractiveness would be an example

interaction cue

these cues allow us to assess whether we want to get to know a person any better. as we interact, we gain a better idea of the extent to which we may want to relate to a person

cognitive cue

if we discover that we want to spend more time with a person, we may then rely on cognitive cues. we get to know another's personality traits, beliefs, goals, and aspirations, as well as the roles they play in life. at this point, after much self-disclosure and time, we decide to pursue a deeper relationship and enter into a committed partnership


this can mean different things to different people. for many, it's until-death-do-us-part component of a couple's relationship. it speaks to relationship longevity, stability, quality, and satisfaction.

personal commitment

refers to the feelings, thoughts, and beliefs we have about a spouse, life mate, or significant other. It's reflected in the sense of connection, liking, fondness, affection, tenderness, warmth, and love that couples feel for each other

moral commitment

moral commitment refers to each person's values and belief systems. before committing to or ending a relationship, individuals consciously weigh what is right and what is wrong, guided by their value/belief/religious framework

structural commitment

those commitments bound by institutions such as marriage

relational transgressions

hurtful words or actions that communicate a devaluation of the partner or the relationship

distress reactions

reactions to a breakup that include such things as physical and emotional pain, loss of interest in sex, and guilt

protest reactions

behaviors and feelings that attempt to reestablish a relationship, such as trying to reinvolve the ex-partner in sexual relations


to live together as if a married couple

common law marriage

a relationship comprised of cohabiting heterosexual partners, but no legal marriage ceremony has taken place; however, the couple holds themselves out to the world that they are husband and wife

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