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The formation of relationships.

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THE FORMATION OF RELATIONSHIPS. Attraction can be defined as an individual's tendency to evaluate someone in a positive way. Attraction is a multifactorial emotion. That is, several factors have an influence on interpersonal attraction. Four main explanations have been developed to account for why we develop particular relationships. Proximity - this is the single most important predictor in who we will develop relationships with, and is termed the 'propinquity effect'. We develop a certain familiarity with people we see regularly, which is positive, in that it allows us to get to know more about their behaviour. Also, the more frequent the interaction, the less effort has to be made within it. From a sociobiological perspective, it benefits us to socialise and co-operate with others who are close to us, because if we are pleasant, and give favours to others, we are more likely to receive them back. Research into proximity - this includes Segals' 1974 study in which he monitored the friendships made by police cadets, who were made to sit next to each other in alphabetical order of their surnames in the classroom. People whose names were close together in the alphabet, formed relationships with each other, more readily than those who were far apart alphabetically. Festinger (1950) interviewed married students living in apartments, and found they were 10 times more likely to have friends within the same block, (and furthermore, on the same floor), than in other apartments in the local area. ...read more.


In fact, students were rated by researchers for their physical attractiveness, and then partners were picked completely at random. When the dance was over, the students were asked how much they enjoyed their date, and if they wanted to see them again. The overriding determinant as to whether they wanted to see their dance partner again was physical attractiveness. The study was criticised for its lack of ecological validity, the artificiality of the situation, and the narrow focus of the questions asked, and so, two years later, it was repeated. It was modified, so that the students actually got to meet each other before the dance. The notable difference in the studies was that, in the second, the students picked to attend the dance, with someone of similar physical attractiveness to themselves, thus supporting the matching hypothesis. We expect to see couples together that are similar in age, and physical attractiveness. Our expectations are so strong, that when we see a miss-matched couple, we are often shocked or amused. The matching hypothesis was tested by Murstein, who asked people to rate the physical attractiveness of members of married or dating couples. He found significant similarities in the values of physical attractiveness between the rated couples. The matching hypothesis also applies to friendships (including same sex friendships). McMillan et al (1973), observed couples in bars and rated their attractiveness. ...read more.


Women according to this theory, have to be more selective, as (unlike men) they are limited as to how many children they are able to have in a lifetime, and when during that lifetime they are able to conceive. Also, once pregnant, they have at least nine months in which they cannot conceive again, whereas the amount of women a man can get pregnant in that time is more or less limitless. Women tend to choose men who are older than them, and who have a good job, and financial stability. Women are choosier when it comes to emotional and financial stability, because their main drive is to find someone who will be around to protect and provide for the child until it is independent enough to look after itself. Sociobiological theory has been criticised for oversimplifying complex human behaviour. It doesn't take into account cultural differences. For example, it may be possible that men desire attractive women because they are surrounded by media images of such women, and because they learn from an early age that they should be aiming to get into a relationship with that sort of women. Also, sociobiological theory uses hindsight to explain current behaviour patterns, and has no predictive power. You could easily explain any type of behaviour using this theory because it is so broad. If men were more faithful, then you could easily modify the theory, and say that this was the case because men knew that their offspring wouldn't survive, without them around to help take care of it. ...read more.

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