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Motivational Behavior - Essay Example

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The matching hypothesis states that people chose partners that have similar levels of physical attractiveness. Levels of interpersonal attraction are similar in couples that are in long-term romantic relationships. The researcher sought to test the matching hypothesis in this study…
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Motivational Behavior

Download file to see previous pages... A weak positive correlation was found to be significant (P=0.05, observed rho value=0.44, critical rho value=0.36, null hypothesis denied). The outcome of the study showed that people seek a partner that has a similar level of physical attractiveness as themselves.
Interpersonal attraction is a fundamental component of human relationships. Psychologists and researchers have proposed many different theories in order to explain the role of physical attractiveness in intimate relationships. One view is the genetic similarity theory proposed by Rushton, Russell and Wells (1984). They posited that a person is more attracted to strangers that resemble themselves than those who are dissimilar in appearance. This would lead to offspring with not only the individual's genes but also genes like themselves (Rushton, Russell & Wells, 1984). Their research suggested that individuals are more attracted to genetically similar people.
The matching hypothesis also proposed that people don't seek the most attractive mate, but instead are attracted to individuals that match themselves in terms of physical attractiveness. This compromise is necessary due to a fear of rejection from a more desirable partner and in order to achieve a balance between partners.
Walster et al. (1966) tested this hypothesis with the "computer dance experiment". They proposed that when making dating and mating choices, people will choose someone of their own level of social desirability. Individuals will be influenced by both the desirability of the potential partner and the belief of the likelihood of obtaining a date with the partner (Walster et al., 1966). In the experiment, 752 students were randomly allocated partners to a dance. The participants were given an attractiveness rating based on a panel of judges. They were informed that a computer had determined their ideal partner. The experimenters found that whether a person liked their partner was closely related to physical attractiveness. This was the most important factor in liking, above qualities such as intelligence and personality (Walster et al., 1966). Though these findings did not support the matching hypothesis, Walster et al. (1969) conducted a follow up study to further test this hypothesis. The researchers repeated the dance and this time, the students were able to choose their partners. The matching hypothesis was confirmed as the students chose partners roughly the same attractiveness as themselves. The researchers explained that the participants attempted to avoid rejection and increase the possibility of finding a partner with a long-term commitment (Walster et al., 1969).

Silverman (1971) conducted another experiment to test the Matching Hypothesis. He carried out an observational study on real-life couples in public settings. Observers independently rated the couples on a 5-point scale and discovered a high correlation between attractiveness ratings of both members of each couple (Silverman, 1971). In addition to this, the researcher found that there was a high correlation between similar levels of attractiveness and the happier the couple's rating in degrees of physical intimacy (Silverman, 1971).

Another experiment by Murstein (1972) tested stimulus-value-role theory of marital choice. The researcher ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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