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Relationship Formation
Matching Hypothesis
· If couples have the same level of attractiveness, the are more likely to stay together.
· Studies have found that dating and married couples are usually closely matched in terms of their physical
· If you choose someone who is more attractive than you, disappointment is likely
· Walster- advertised a 'computer dance' for young students where they were paired randomly, 6 months later,
those who had a 2nd date, were rated similar physical attractiveness.
· Walster and Walster- repeat of computer dance- BUT met before the dance and were asked what they were
looking for in a partner, found that students expressed greater liking for those who were similar in psychical
attractiveness level to them.
· Murstein- 'faces study'. Showed photos of real couples to participants along with photos of random couples the
real couples were judged consistently to be more similar to each other.
· Feingold- meta-analysis of 17 studies, statistical significant correlation of 0.49 for interpartner attractiveness.
· Spreecher- 700 student participants, given questionnaire, 'what people prefer from relationships', results showed
that couples matched in factors such as attractiveness were more likely to develop a relationship.
· Has face validity- attractiveness is important when meeting for the first time
· Simplistic- doesn't take complex matching into account, other factors such as status, wealth and personality taken
into account
· Doesn't point out that males value physical attractiveness more than women
· One dimensional- other factors such as proximity are ignored
· Methodological problems reduce validity- bias samples, self report.
Reward, need, satisfaction Theory
· Behaviorist theory- we seek to form a romantic relationship if they are rewarding to us
· There are three ways we learn to want to form a relationship with someone-
· Classical Conditioning- person is associated with a happy warm feeling
· Positive reinforcement- provide you with company, sex and intimacy
· Negative reinforcement- takes away negative feelings of boredom and loneliness
· Aron- investigated brains of 17 people using MRI scans, these people were `in love'. It was found that the
dopamine rich areas of the brain associated with reward were activated more when shown photos of their lover
rather than someone they just liked.
· May and Hamilton- female participants evaluated photos of men while listening to rock music that created a
positive mood or modern music that stimulated a negative mood or with no music at all. Photos were rated more
highly in the condition with positive mood stimulating music.
· Failed to identify that males and females perceive rewards in different ways.
· Both are culturally biased, they are based on Western society where people are able to choose their partner.…read more

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