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Attraction and Formation of Relationships

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Attraction and Formation of Relationships. As is common in many areas of psychology, theories about interpersonal attraction are based on numerous studies. A similarity found in the majority of these studies is that they all try to quantify attraction in terms of the values of what we have to offer of which we receive. To do so is to apply objectivity on our emotions towards others and as we all know, our actions and emotions are not always objective. They can often be irrational and unrelated to what we might loose or gain. In my opinion this automatically compromises the validity of such studies. Clore and Bryne (1974) provide us with a simple study from which to start. ...read more.


Other factors must be taken into account such as the rewards we may be able to offer them, and the likelihood that our rewards will be valued equally. Social exchange theory dictates that people are more likely to become romantically involved with those who are closely matched in their ability to reward one another. For example studies have shown that people with a similar attractiveness (average or good looking etc) rating tend to choose corresponding partners. According to the theory this is because we will always strive to find the perfect partner but will eventually settle for a 'value-match', the most rewarding we partner could realistically hope to find. Brown (1986) ...read more.


According to the 'reward cost principle' (Aropnson (1980)) we are attracted to people who seem to like us. This may be in a number of forms such as; complimentarily, or based on a person agreeing with our beliefs, ideas and attitudes. This is attributed to the belief that when a person is in agreement with us, they back up and support what we believe. They provide us with a reward; reinforcement. Another general criticism is the fact that many of these studies are based on the initial contact between two people. The point at which two people are strangers may indeed be a good indicator of attraction but we must accept that attraction can change or evolve over time. Studies into this area have mainly concentrated on attraction between younger people, and heterosexual people. What we must also consider is the attraction between older people and amongst homosexual people. ...read more.

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