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Matching Hypothesis

(Walster 1966)

Understand and
evaluate 2 theories of
relationship formation


Page 2

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Matching Hypothesis
Based on two
ii) Couples who are matched
i) or equally desirable will
have long happy
If someone is more socially relationships compared
desirable i.e. physical to couples who are
attractiveness, social standing + mismatched
intelligence the more desirable
they will expect a date or marriage

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Matching Hypothesis:

Cues of desirability

Physical attractiveness

Own attractiveness

Murstein (1972)
Positive correlations
M own + partners rating 0.50
F own + partners rating 0.45
Independent judges 0.30


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Supporting Evidence
Walster 1966

Blind date study
(computer dating
752 m and f students
told - matched by personality + aptitude
but matched at random except M taller than F
Secretly rated for physical attractiveness as collected tickets
Spent several hours together
Later separated, rate strength of desire to…

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But Murstein's study lacks
mundane realism because
they are lab/field studies and
don't show matching by
similarity in the real world.
However the following studies
using real couples do provide
support for the matching
High reliability

Matching in the Real World
Studies consistently find
Matching effect when
committed, engaged…

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Evaluations its not the whole picture
Complex matching
Hatfield & Sprecher (2009)
Lack of attractiveness compensated for
by money, status, personality
Gender differences
Takeuchi (2006)
Physical attractiveness valued more by
men than women as older man often has
higher status, money, power

Role of third party
Xiaohe & Whyte (1990)…

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Strengths of Matching Hypothesis

Research not gender specific
Aronson et al (1966) found that physical attractiveness was still
a priority when seeking a partner. This suggests the findings of
the matching hypothesis are universal and apply to any gender.

Silverman's research
high in ecological validity
By using a natural environment…

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Weaknesses of the Matching Hypothesis
Experimenter Bias
Weakness of Silverman's research is experimenter bias. The
researcher could have been influenced by the 'halo effect'
because they saw both partners together. Therefore we should
treat the results with caution.

Physical attraction is an oversimplification as a sole explanation
because it…

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Free Will v Determinism
Humans have a sense of free will
in that they can choose between
several courses of action .
However the social approach as all
other approaches in psychology
aims to identify the causes of
behaviour or what determines our
behaviour. In this sense all
approaches in…

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Celebrity Couples Matching Exercise


Using one side of A4 summarise The Law
of Attraction and The Matching Hypothesis
Provide two studies in support, two studies
against if possible and evaluate the methods
used. You could also comment on some issues
and debates.





helped so much thank you

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