• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4
  5. 5
  6. 6
  7. 7
  8. 8
  9. 9
  10. 10
  • Level: GCSE
  • Subject: Maths
  • Word count: 3287

Offers and Stipulation in Lonely Hearts Advertisements: A Comparison of Gender and Age.

Extracts from this document...



Offers and Stipulation in Lonely Hearts Advertisements: A Comparison of Gender and Age.


Research into gender differences, physical attractiveness, and those looking for partners with similar interests, has been greatly looked into by social psychologists using lonely heart advertisements as data. Discourse analysis of 80 newspaper advertisements were scrutinized to expose differences and similarities among genders into what one stipulates and seeks in lonely hearts adverts. 40 heterosexual female and 40 heterosexual male adverts were analysed. The hypotheses were accepted as the analysis noticed; men under the age of 40 offered more information on appearances than older men, men stipulated partners ages to be younger than them whilst women stipulated ages older than them, and that advertisers seek partners with similarities to themselves.


At some point in their life most people will experience the feeling of loneliness Hayes (1995). Loneliness may be caused by a number of reasons and there are a variety of solutions, one solutions maybe to partake in the placing and reading of lonely heart advertisements, in the hope of finding a companion or partner. When looking for a potential partner we tend to like those we perceive as similar to yourself in factors such as; age, religion, smoking and drinking habits. Brehm, Kassin and Fein (2002) cited in Bernstein et al (2003) assume that this is because we expect people similar to ourselves to think highly of us if we hold the same views. According to Berscheid and Reis (1998) cited in Bernstein et al (2003) in the initial stages of attraction, physical appearance is one of the most important factors. The ‘matching hypothesis’ proposed by Bernstein et al (2003) states that people similar to each other in physical attractiveness are most likely to form long-term relationships.

...read more.


Results and Discussion

From the codingprocess 3 main themes emerged from the transcript to prove or disprove our hypotheses. These themes are; ‘age’, whether participants offer or stipulate age, and if the stipulated age is younger, older or similar to themselves, the second theme is ‘physical attractiveness’, again whether participants offer or stipulate physical attractiveness, the final theme is ‘similarities’, whether participants stipulate that they wish for someone with similarities to themselves, such as; age, attractiveness, beliefs or interests.


This theme was reoccurring throughout all the advertisements. All of the participants offered their exact age, they were not vague as one may think by offering an age range, however we cannot be sure that they are all telling the truth. Age was split into two categories, those under 40, and those 40 and over. The age 40 was chosen because the usual stereotype assumes that someone is middle aged when they reach 40, also out of the 80 participants, approximately half of them happened to be under 40 and the other half 40 and over. The data showed that men under the age of 40 generally seek women of a similar age or older than themselves,

“Romantic male, 32, 5’9”, enjoys walking, country pubs, nights in, dancing, seeks similar female, 45-50, no-ties for love and romance.”

whilst men over 40 seek women younger than themselves.

“Young outlook male, 49, fair/blue, stocky, GSOH, many interests, seeks kind, genuine female, 35-45, for good relationship.

This supports Buss (1988) theory that men chose women younger than themselves and attributes it to the fact that younger women will still be able to reproduce. It is an understanding among some that women age faster than men; perhaps the men in these adverts believe this, so seek someone younger than themselves.

...read more.


However, validity and reliability could be questioned as this is a very subjective approach as two different conclusions could be made about the same subject depending on who was carrying out the analysis. Inter-coder agreement is needed, so another experimenter is necessary to analyse the discourse and compare findings. Hyman (1992) cited in Hayes (1995) has reservations that discourse analyses may result in being “a researcher’s ideas with examples.” Analysing discourse by oneself is difficult when ambiguous words emerge, when one person sees a word they may immediately think of something different to another person. I feel that if another analyser was used then it should be someone with different beliefs and social background, so that the analysis is not dependent on someone’s up-bringing. A local newspaper was used as a source for the lonely hearts. The issue with using local newspaper is that there maybe a chance of recognising a participant, however the particular adverts used do not give detailed information, such as their name or photograph.


Lawes, R. (1999). Marriage: an analysis of discourse. British Journal of Social Psychology, 38, 1-20.

Pawlowski, B., Dunbar, R.I.M. (1998). Withholding age as putative deception in mate search tactics.  Evolution and human behaviour 20: 53-69.

Rajecki, D.W., Bledsoe, S.B. & Rasmussen, J.L. (1991). Successful personal Ads: Gender differences and similarities in offers, stipulations, and outcomes. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 12(4), 457-469.

Smith, J.E., Waldorf, V.A. & Trembath, D. (1990). “Single white male looking for thin, very attractive…” Sex Roles, 23(11/12), 675-685.

Bernstein, D.A., Penner, L.A., Clarke-Stewart, A., Roy, E.J. (2003). Psychology. 6th ed. New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Coyle, A. (2000). Discourse Analysis. In Breakwell, G.M., Hammond, S., & Fife-Schaw, C. Research methods in psychology. London: Blackwell.

Coolican, H. (1999). Research methods and statistics in psychology. 2nd Ed. London: Hodder & Stoughton.

Hayes, N. (1995). Foundations of psychology; An introductory text. London: Routledge.

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Height and Weight of Pupils and other Mayfield High School investigations section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Height and Weight of Pupils and other Mayfield High School investigations essays

  1. Show that different people have different reaction times according to their gender and the ...

    the fastest females are just as fast as the fastest males, however, as the reaction times get slower, the slowest female has a slower reaction time than the slowest male. Females have a bigger range. This graph does not seem to be accurate enough to obtain the lower quartile, the median and the upper quartile from.

  2. Informal vs. formal speech.

    She expresses her interest by animating N to tell her more about that topic. Another example for overlap can be spotted in line 16 where N wants to extend her disgust about her looks on the photo and M takes the turn creating an overlap.

  1. An eating disorder is a serious disruption of a persons eating habits, it some ...

    Holland et al. did a study to find out if this was so. Aims The aim of the study was to find out is anorexia has a genetic basis. It explores the possibility by comparing anorexia in identical twins, and non identical twins.

  2. Control of Fertility

    side-effects, they may continue during this time and for some time afterwards. * Periods, and fertility, can return immediately. * Contraceptive injections do not protect against sexually transmitted infections, so, again, a condom may have to use as well. The Intrauterine Device (IUD)

  1. If Tesco found that they needed to recruit an office supervisor externally, after finding ...

    Unemployment in the United Kingdom has reached its lowest level in twenty years. This is good news for the economy and the prosperity of the workforce, but low employment brings with it the risk of skill shortages. 4b. Regional Unemployment The levels of unemployment in each region change dramatically.

  2. Guesstiamte - investigating whether men or women between the ages of 15-25 are better ...

    1 25< x ?30 0 1 30< x ?35 l 1 2 35< x ?40 ll 2 4 40< x ?45 llll lll 8 12 Analysis Of Frequency polygons The frequency polygon for the line estimates show that women guesstimated more accurately than men.

  1. The purpose of this research paper is to present our findings on how the ...

    where the focus should be on factors such as autonomy and achievement. Males who find it difficult to progress through these two stages of the hierarchy will definitely have difficulty achieving their academic potential and becoming what they are truly capable of (self actualization).

  2. mayfeild statistics

    30 girls); I did the same for the height: Averages I will start off by working out the averages. The three most common ways are to work out the mean, median and mode so I will do this. Mean The mean is worked out by adding all the list of numbers and then dividing it by the quantity.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work