Describe and evaluate two or more theories for the formation of romantic relationships (8+16 marks)
The similarity theory by Byrne et al 1986 explains the formation of relationships. The essence of this view is that similarity promotes liking. Firstly, you will sort potential partners for dissimilarity, avoiding people who you perceive as a different personality type and attitudes to yourself. Then you chose someone who is most similar to yourself from the remaining. Couples with similar attitudes tend to have longer relationships and the theory states that attitude alignment will take place where on person changes their attitudes to fit in with the other, forming the relationship. This model emphasises similarity of attitude and personality. For example, if two people are serious and hardworking they are more likely to be attracted to eachother than a serious hardworking person and someone whose main interests are having fun and avoiding responsibility. The more similar we are in these terms, the more likely we are to form and maintain a romantic relationship; this makes it easier for communication, potentially less arguing in the relationship and the relationship will be more rewarding. Hill’s longitudinal study supports the similarity theory by looking at 231 couples over a 2 year period and finding that out of the 128 surviving couples, they tended to be most similar in age, IQ, educational and career plans and physical attractiveness. In addition to this, couples that broke up during the 2 years, recorded that their differences played a role in the breakdown of their relationship. However, it is difficult to assess the accuracy of the questionnaires as the information given is retrospective and therefore excuses may be made for the breakups, and furthermore, as the study is based on the sensitive area of relationship breakdowns, social desirability effect may significantly influence their answers, attempting to be viewed in the best light hence causing...
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