Describe and Evaluate Two or More Theories of the Formation of Romantic Relationships

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Describe and evaluate two or more theories of the formation of romantic relationships (8+16)

One theory put forward for the formation of romantic relationships was by Murstein – called the Matching Hypothesis. Murstein argued that we all desire the best looking person; however we accept that this may not happen, so we go for people with a similar attractiveness to ourselves. It makes us far less likely to suffer rejection. So, in theory, Murstein’s argument is fundamentally based on physical attractiveness and does not take into account personality. Murstein says that self esteem can also affect this process. If someone suffers from a low self esteem, they are more likely to go for someone who is not as good looking as them to try and boost their esteem. This also works in reverse, if someone has a high self esteem they will go for someone who they believe is ‘out of their league’ as they feel they have the confidence to make them their partner. Murstein also carried out research to support his theory. He studied 99 couples who were dating and compared them with randomly paired couples. He found that the real couples were consistently rated as more alike in levels of attractiveness.

Murstein’s theory can be credited as it offers an explanation of how people with low self esteem find relationships – something that hasn’t been account for in many other theories of the formation of romantic relationships. Murstein also has further research that supported his findings which was carried out by Silverman. He rated dating couples in a bar in similar levels of attractiveness. However we have to account for Silverman’s study that the two people in the bar may have just been friends, just because there was a girl and a boy doesn’t automatically mean that they are in a relationship. Also, Silverman’s study is culturally bias – dates in bars may not happen in all countries and therefore it would be difficult to generalise the findings. Also, both Murstein’s and...
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