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Byrne's Reinforcement Theory

            The communication theory that I will discuss is known as the Byrne's Reinforcement Theory. I chose this theory because of all the options its seems to have the most relation to my day to day life. In researching this theory I have many ideas and aspects that are very important to building lifelong relationships. In outlining this paper I will discuss the history of the theory, analyze studies pertaining to the theory, and I will show how I perceive the theories to be applicable. In this theory of reinforcement it is evident in every new relationship that we encounter, we look for people to make us feel better about ourselves. In this search we are constantly changing values that we look in new relationships, but through various studies our patterns our search always come down to the theory of reinforcement. In this paper I will explain the reinforcement theory according to Byrne, is that we gravitate to those who show us positive reinforcement in interpersonal relationships. .
             Donn Byrne, a well know psychologist, pioneered this theory. He spent his career studying why some people like and dislike others. A key component of his theory was that of the principal of reinforcement, which identifies why people are attracted to others. This principal says that we are attracted and will look for those who complement or pay dividends to us. These complements range from verbal or praise to tangible items. In following the idea of reinforcement we are also repulsed by those who chastise us. Punishment may take different forms from rude comments to awkward and or bad experiences. "Disagreement raises the unpleasant possibility that we are to some degree stupid, uninformed, immoral, or insane (Byrne, 1961, pg713) Interpersonal attraction is a result of the rewards that others send out during interaction. Nicholas believes that there is a strong relationship between attitude similarity and interpersonal attraction (Nicholas, 1982).

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