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Discuss research (theories and/ or studies) relating to the formation of relationships.

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Discuss research (theories and/ or studies) relating to the formation of relationships. Physical attractiveness is an important area when considering the formation of relationships. It is the first thing we notice when we meet someone and it is this, which determines whether we decide to get to know him or her further. If we find a person physically attractive it is likely that we will find other things about them attractive also, this is described by brigham as the halo effect. Feigngold considered physical attractiveness and believed it to be more important to men than to women, having analysed results from questionnaires in other studies. However in reality it may have been that women rate physical attractiveness equally as important but were less willing to admit it. Walster et al wanted to prove the importance of physical attractiveness in the formation of relationships, using the 'blind date study'. He found that partners liked the more physically attractive students more than the less attractive students, therefore this would suggest that physical attractiveness is very important in the formation of relationships. However attractiveness is subjective and what is deemed attractive varies between people, and only students were used therefore we cannot generalise it to other settings. ...read more.


Therefore this suggests that not only physical attraction was important but also proximity of the people aided the formation of a relationship and that the more regular the contact the more popular that person will become. Segal supports this theory he studied police cadets who sat in classrooms in alphabetical order and found friendships were formed between those whose surnames were closer together in the alphabet. This presents us with a convincing theory and yet surely this is an obvious statement, and is it necessarily universally the case? Perhaps an alternative explanation for why these cadets formed close relationships with those whom they are closer to in name is that the similarity between them encouraged the development of the relationship and the proximity encourages the relationship to become closer. Had they not all had the desire to enter the police force in common they would not have formed the relationship and therefore it was the similarity that brought them together. Bossard further supports this theory in his research of addresses of couples before they were married and found that most lived within walking distance of one another. However this seems less plausible in the age of Internet dating and chat rooms, wider use of telephones and increased mobility as we have a broader range of methods with which to form relationships and so we are not restricted to our postal area. ...read more.


Thus he developed the law of attraction, which states that the closer, the attitudes of people, the more they agree on and thus the deeper the friendship. However plausible the research may seem it lacks ecological validity, and yet when Byrne conducted field experiments he found bank managers were more generous when they came in to contact with people more similar to themselves. However there are exceptions to this rule, Leonard found that if an individual had a low self-esteem then they were unlikely to like people whom they are similar to. Equally in times of confusion we cling to those who are dissimilar to ourselves. Therefore this suggests that similarity has an important role to play in that we are more relaxed and comfortable in those situations in which the people are similar to ourselves. However, if we feel we are in a situation in which we are unable to cope we desire those most different from ourselves to be close to us in order to feel safe. In conclusion, it is important to note that all three areas are important in the formation of relationships, however, each works in partnership with the others. As a result it is clear that it is the combination of the three which aid the formation of relationships rather one area alone being more significant than the others in the formation and development of a relationship. ...read more.

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