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The matching hypothesis

In romantic relationships, people pair w/those
similar in physical attractiveness.

Walster et al.'s matching hypothesis of attraction
explains why people who are similar end up together.

1. the more socially desirable a person (attractiveness, social status, intelligence etc.)
the more desirable they'd expect a dating/marriage partner to…

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Evaluation of the matching hypothesis

Complex matching ­
Although the m. hypothesis holds people pair w/those of similar `social
desirability', over time people now match based on physical attractiveness
However, people may compensate for a lack of attractiveness w/a positive personality,
status, money etc. this is termed `complex matching'…

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The maintenance of romantic relationships

Social exchange theory

social behaviour is viewed as a series of exchanges between people.

Each person attempts to:
maximize their rewards + minimize costs.

Rewards are exchanges that are pleasurable/gratifying. eg. company, sex.

Costs are exchanges that result in a loss or punishment e.g. loss…

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1. People maximize rewards + minimize negative experiences in any relationship.

2. rewards are negotiated to ensure fairness. e.g. through favours and privileges.

3. Inequitable/unfair relationships produce dissatisfaction.

4. If the 'loser' feels there's a chance to restore fairness + is motivated to save the
relationship, he/she will attempt to…

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'Commitment' describes the likelihood a relationship will persist.
It's strengthened by satisfaction in a relationship and weakened by potential alternative

Rusbult suggests investment increases commitment.


is a product of the outcomes of a relationship (rewards cost)

Outcomes are compared to a personal standard of acceptable outcomes.
If outcomes…

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Evaluation of Rusbult's investment model

Research support

Le + Agnew's metaanalysis highlighted the model's relevance for Ps from different
ethnicities and both homo+heterosexual relationships. However, the 3 components of
commitment (likelihood of remaining in a relationship) differed for different groups.

Commitment in abusive relationships

Rusbult + Martz applied the model…

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The breakdown of romantic relationships

Breakup may be very emotionally demanding.
For some, it's a catastrophe, for others it provides an opportunity for a new start.

A relationship may end although both partners with it to continue or develop (e.g. lovers
separated by parents, geography).

A model of relationship breakdown…


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