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We actively seek individuals who are most like ourselves (attractive wise). This comprimise is necessary because of fear of rejection from a more attractive person.

MURSTEIN  found evidence that supported the matching hypothesis.

  • Photos of 197 couples in various statuses of relationships, were rated in terms of attractiveness by 8 judges.
  • Each person was photographed seperately. The judges didn't know which photographs went together within romantic partnerships.
  • The ratings from the judges supported the matching hypothesis -there was a definite tendency for engaged or married couples to be rated similarly.
  • (individual differences and photographs)

BROWN argued for the matching hypothesis, but maintained that it results from a learned sense of what is 'fitting' - we just adjust our expectation of a partner in line with what we believe we have to offer others, instead of a fear of rejection. 

GOFFMAN suggested that people aspire to be in a relationship with a partnner who is socially desirable, but that this aspiration is balanced against the perceived probability of attaining it.

HUSTON argued that the evidence for the matching hypothessis didn't come from matching but instead the tendency of people to avoid rejection hence choose someone similarly attractive to themselves, to avoid being rejected y someone more attractive than themselves.


  • 752 participants (half male, half female), rated on physical attractiveness by 4 independent judges as a measure of social desirability.
  • Pts asked to complete a questionnaire to rate similarity. Pts randomly paired (no man paired with a taller woman). During the dance, pts asked to rate their date. 
  • The more attractive students were favoured as dates over the less attractive students…


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