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A Replication of the Study by Murstein Investigating the Matching Hypothesis

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A Replication of a Study by Murstein Investigating the Matching Hypothesis. Abstract The aim of this investigation was to provide support for the Matching Hypothesis via the replication of an earlier study by Murstein. The basic premise of this hypothesis, in its strongest form, is that 'people will be attracted by others who are the same or very similar in levels of attractiveness. The data collection method employed was a visual questionnaire and correlational analysis was used to analyse the data. The data was collected from an opportunity sample of sixth form students. 20 students (13 female and 7 male) were asked to rate 20 individual photographs (50% female, 50% male)in terms of physical attractiveness on a scale of 1-10 (10=highly attractive). These 20 photos were in actuality 10 photos of married or engaged couples which had been cut in half. The correlation was not significant at p<0.05 as the observed value of rho= -0.078 and critical value= 0.447. This would suggest that matched physical attractiveness is not necessarily such an all defining variable in how people select partners. Rather, there may be a multitude of factors in operation; intelligence, ability to supply resources etc. In this report, 'relationship' refers to a romantic heterosexual bond between adults and 'attraction' to the process of being drawn to a potential sexual partner. In the study 'couple' refers to two people that are married or engaged. Introduction Why are some types of people attracted to other types of people? It is a fairly simple-sounding question, but if the answer was definitively known then perhaps it would be easier for more people to find their soul mate. Like many other areas of human psychology, there exists an abundance of factors influencing preferences and choices; many of which can be explained in both biological and psychological terms. Using a concept called Reward Theory, Clore & Byrne (1974) assert that we are attracted to others whose "presence for us is rewarding." ...read more.


the researcher did not look at the response sheets as the participants were completing them. Participants were asked to record their gender on the sheet simply to give numbers of each gender partaking. All participants were debriefed to deal with the minimal deception incurred in this study. Since the people in the stimulus photographs consented to having their pictures printed in a nationwide publication, it was assumed that they give their consent for their image to be in the public domain. Materials Stimulus material: 2 a4-sized cards each with 10 slightly larger than passport-sized photographs taken from women's weekly magazines. The articles from which the photos were taken clearly stated that the couples were married or engaged. One card contained the female photos, arranged in rows and labelled A to J. The other card had male photos, labelled in the same way. These 20 photos were originally 10 photos of couples and these had been separated so that the participants could rate each half of the couples hopefully without guessing the aim of the experiment. The face and neck of each person had been cut out of each picture so that clothes and background were not included, as subliminally, colour preferences could have influenced the participants' judgements. The 20 separated photos were then mixed up (after having recorded who the couples were, of course) and arranged in rows onto each card, glued on, labelled and laminated. [Included in the appendices.] A double-sided response sheet for each participant to record their ratings of the photographs. [Also in the appendices.] Standardised Procedure 1 Standardised instructions are read aloud to the participant. (see appendices for a specimen) 2) If the participant does not want to continue, thank them for their time, if they do, proceed. 3) Ask if they have any questions regarding the procedure. 4) If they do, respond to their questions, but do not disclose the true aim of the experiment. ...read more.


to skew the results to fit the opinions of this segment of the population rather than being representative of the whole population, which was the aim. The sample was also skewed in favour of females, the number of females participating being almost twice as many as the number of males. This obviously is a confounding factor because the two genders will have different ideas of what constitutes attractiveness. Relating to the subject of this study, younger people may find older people (the people in the photos being 5-30 years the participants' senior) less attractive generally. To rectify these problems, a larger study would have to be carried out, using a larger sample, within which, if possible, participants would be selected randomly. Further faults of the investigation lie in the methodology. The platform by which the people were rated (2D-photographs) is unreliable, firstly because the sizes, contrast and facial expressions of each photograph was different, but also because, in reality a dynamic 3D picture is available when we are internally determining someone else's attractiveness. This could only be completely resolved by conducting a field experiment, as in Silverman's field study, so that participants could gain a more externally valid picture of that person's attractiveness. Implications and Suggestions for Future Research My findings indicate that many factors are in operation as regards to the perceived levels of attractiveness in potential partners. This could have real-life implications re: social networks e.g. speed dating, online dating sites, whereby agencies profit by matching people together. Such agencies could review their methods to see whether displaying specific personality details as well as pictures leads to better matching success. Regarding further research into this topic, I would investigate how knowing more about people in stimulus photographs affects participants' perceptions of their attractiveness. If I were to carry out another fait-accompli matching study, I would aim to do so in a naturalistic setting, as a field experiment. Resources and References Utilised Resources (not quoted in the text) http://www.hss.iitb.ac.in/courses/Interpersonal%20Attraction.pdf Gross, R., Rolls, G. ...read more.

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