Describe and Evaluate Two Theories of the Formation of Relationships

Topics: Interpersonal relationship, Sociology, Bias Pages: 3 (1009 words) Published: November 7, 2010
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Describe and evaluate two theories of the formation of relationships One theory is ‘The Matching Hypothesis’ which is a social psychological theory based on relationships, proposed by Goffman in 1952. It suggests that in order for a relationship to be a long and successful one; both partners in the relationship must be equally matched in attractiveness. The reason for this is due to fear of rejection, therefore when searching for a potential life partner the primary drive is to select someone who is similarly attractive. Walster et al (1966) carried out a study to test the Matching Hypothesis he did this by advertising a “computer dance” during College fresher’s week in the United States. The total number participants were 752, 376 males and 376 females. When signing up for the dance, the judges rated the participants on physical attractiveness, and asked to complete a questionnaire; the results were inserted into a computer database to pair the participants up for the dance. However, the real purpose of the questionnaire was to use later in the research to assess similarity. Instead, the participants were paired randomly; however, it was made sure that the men were all taller than their female dates. The participants completed a second questionnaire during the dance about their partners. The results found that the more attractive the date they were more likely to liked by their date than less attractive dates. This does not prove the Matching hypothesis as the experiment concluded that the physical attractiveness was the most important factor. However, the study lacks ecological validity because interaction was very brief between participants, hence any judgement was likely to have been of superficial characteristics. The short duration between meeting and rating their partner also reduced the chance of rejection. Finally, because only students were used as participants, the sample is not representative of the whole population....
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