The Formation of Relationships
AO1) The Matching Hypothesis:
(i) Couples will be of similar levels of attractiveness
(ii) Those of higher attractiveness will have higher expectations of attractiveness in their potential partner.
(iii) Couples who are well-matched in their attractiveness are more likely to be happier and in a stable relationship than those who are mismatched.
-Murstein says physical attractiveness is major as it is a more reliable way to make a quick judgement on someone. Humans try to avoid rejection by someone more attractive than us.
AO2) Murstein (1972) - Participants were made to rate people out of 10 for attractiveness. Some of these people were in relationships together, others were not. Murstein found that the real couples were consistently judged to be more similar to each other in attractiveness than the pairs of people put together randomly.
This supports the matching hypothesis because the people in relationships were rated similarly in attractiveness and the matching hypothesis states that people in relationships will have similar levels of attractiveness.
- Subjectivity. These participants were asked to judge the people out of ten for attractiveness on what they personally thought. This would vary between people as people have different opinions on what is seen as attractive. Therefore the results of this study would be purely based on what these individuals thought of their attractiveness which might not be the same for the rest of the population. Levels of attractiveness is hard to measure accurately.
Silverman (1971) - Couples were observed in a natural environment e.g. park, restaurant by other participants who were then asked to judge them on their physical attractiveness and how happy they appeared to be. Silverman found that the more similar their attractiveness was rated, the happier they were also judged to be.
This supports the matching hypothesis because the couples' similarity of attractivness and happiness correlated showing that the more similar you are in attractiveness, the more happier and stable relationship you will have than those who are mismatched for attractiveness.
- Natural study. The study was carried out in a natural environment and therefore the behaviour observed is more likely to be that of their true nature, compared to under laboratory conditions where participants may perform demand characteristics or the setting may be unrealistic. This means this study's results are more valid and can be more relied upon.
Feingold (1988) - (meta-analysis of 17 studies) found couples were similar in physical attractiveness than friends.
This supports the matching hypothesis because the couples were high in similar attractiveness that suggests that it was an influencing factor when they became a couple compared to friends who are not together and hence, are not similar in attractiveness.
ISSUES, DEBATES, APPROACHES: Ignores cultural differences between people in relationships, includng arranged marriages etc.
AO1) The Filter Model:
(i) Social/demographic variables - people mix with other people in their area, not the large abundant amount outside. These people have similar educational and social background, including religion…