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Psychology formation of relationships

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Introduction

Psychology ? formation of relationships One theory is ?The Matching Hypothesis? which is a social psychological theory based on relationships, proposed by Goffman in 1952. It suggests that in order for a relationship to be a long and successful, both partners in the relationship must be equally matched in attractiveness. The reason for this is due to fear of rejection, therefore when searching for a life partner the main aim is to select someone who is similarly attractive. Walster et al (1966) carried out a study to test the Matching Hypothesis he did this by advertising a dance during university fresher?s week in the United States. The total number participants were 752, 376 males and 376 females. When signing up for the dance, the judges rated the participants on physical attractiveness, and asked the participants to complete a questionnaire; the results were inserted into a computer database to pair the participants up for the dance. ...read more.

Middle

The short duration between meeting and rating their partner also reduced the chance of rejection. Another theory is the social exchange theory. According to Homans (1961) in terms of relationships, he suggests that we consider the actual rewards and potential rewards in the future aswell as taking into account the costs before deciding whether a relationship is likely to be profitable. Homans, believed that our choices about a relationships are essentially rational economic decisions. this was the first of the economic theories to be developed. It suggested that we see our relationships in the form of costs and rewards. A main principle in this theory is the theory of satiation which suggests that if something is on short supply, we appreciate it more. The Social Exchange theory suggests that people?s feelings about a relationship depend upon a number of factors, such as how they perceive the costs, comparison level, how they perceive the rewards. ...read more.

Conclusion

The theory therefore may be best suited as an explanation of the maintenance of relationships rather than of their formation, because during formations costs are, according to Rusbult, not terribly important. This research has been supported by other researchers with different samples. Therefore adding strength to the Rusbult argument and supporting his theory. Most of the research done has been based on short term relationships, often with samples of students. This may question the validity of this theory. If the results of the research relate to the short term relationships of students they may not be applicable to any long term relationships of non students. The theory therefore is of limited use as the characteristics of long term relationships are different from those of short term ones. This also raises the issue of era bias as the study of Homan was done in the 60s, students may act differently in relationships in the 21st century. This affects the generalizability of this theory. ...read more.

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Marked by teacher Stephanie Duckworth 10/09/2013

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