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Describe and evaluate the theories of attraction and relationship formation.

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Introduction

Describe and evaluate the theories of attraction and relationship formation (24 Marks) The matching hypothesis (Walster et al. 1996) states that people are attracted to others of a similar level of attractiveness to their own. We are likely to seek out people similar to ourselves in other attributes such as intelligence etc. There are many possible reasons for our attraction to physically attractive people; there is also the potential cost of rejection from someone who doesn't see us as physically attractive. Self -esteem also affects this process e.g. people feeling low in self- esteem is more likely to target someone who's less likely to reject them. Murstein (72) provides supporting evidence for this, in the study; photos of faces of 'steady or engaged' couples were compared with random couples who were just paired for a photo. The results were that real couples were constantly judged to be more similar to each other in physical attractiveness than random pairs. ...read more.

Middle

The best chance of her genes surviving her genes surviving into the next generation is for her to ensure the healthy survival of the relatively few offspring that she is capable of producing during her reproductive lifetime. This is why the term 'next of kin' is used to describe the notion that the survival on individual's genes is ensured by helping of a close relative. 86% of people said that they would be prepared to donate a kidney to their offspring. (Fellner et al, 81) Dunbar (1995) found that 'lonely hearts' ads supported this: women seek resources and offer attractiveness whereas the reverse is true for males. There is an overemphasis on reproduction with the sociobiological theory. IT presumes that sexual attraction and behaviour is about reproduction. For many people, most sexual unions are not focused on bearing children. Many people now choose to be childless. This theory cannot explain homosexual relationships. There's also a lack of relevance to the modern world, it is stated that this theory doesn't suit modern relationships in today's societies. ...read more.

Conclusion

tend to be liked most. Positive non verbal signals such as smiling are signs of liking and are very important. Research supporting the theory that we learn to associate positive feelings with people which reward us was carried out by Veitch and Griffit (1976), participants were placed in a waiting room where they listened to either good or bad news with a stranger present. When they were asked to rate the stranger the degree of liking was related to the kind of news they'd been listening to. Further research evidence includes 'need satisfaction' (Argle, 1994) There are seven basic motives or needs, each can be satisfied at least in part by interpersonal relationships: Biological, dependency, affiliation, dominance, sex, aggression, and self- esteem. This however presents a one sided picture, omitting the behaivour of other people. Hayes (85) pointed out there's as much value in giving rewards to another person as being rewarded oneself. Participants are usually concerned with fairness & equality in a relationship rather than a need to maximize their own benefits. A limitation of this theory is that relationships in non- western cultures show little concern for reinforcement (Hill 70). ...read more.

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