Describe and discuss 2 psychological factors that influence the development of the interpersonal relationships using empirical evidence According to (Berschield, 1985), relationships make life meaningful whether they are good or bad. When a person is asked “what is necessary for your happiness? ” most would reply the close relationships they have with their partners, friends and family. She noted that human beings are the most social of social animals.
The reason for our survival as a species is the ability to know whether another creature or human being is good for us. She argues “The matters of interpersonal attraction are quite literally of life and death importance”. In determining our future relationships psychologists believe there are 5 different factors that should be taken into consideration proximity, exposure and familiarity, physical attractiveness, similarity and reciprocal liking, with research we can determine whether there is any truth behind these theories.
Physical attractiveness is a subject that has been extensively researched in its own right and as an aspect of similarity. In society we tend to attribute good looks to someone’s being more intelligent or more successful therefore we attribute a person’s success in life, not to their personality but to their physical attractiveness. The matching hypothesis (also known as the matching phenomenon) is derived from the discipline of social psychology and was first proposed by Elaine Hatfield and her colleagues in 1966.
This theory suggests reasons why a person might become attracted to someone. It claims that people form successful bonds or committed relationships with someone that is equally attractive. And if a partner lacks a certain level of attractiveness, there must be a compensating quality to offer, for instance women tend to overlook physical attractiveness for men that possess a certain amount of wealth and status. A study into determining attraction was labelled the “computer dance study”.
(Walster et al. – 1966. ) Walster advertised a “computer Match dance”. 752 student participants were rated on physical attractiveness by four independent judges, as a measure of social desirability. Participants were told to fill out questionnaires for the purpose of computer matching based on similarity. Instead the participants were matched randomly, except no man was paired with a woman taller than himself.
During the intermission the participants were asked to fill out questionnaires on what they thought of their partner, and whether they would ask them for further dates. The study showed that the participants valued attractiveness above other qualities in determining whether they liked that person, and would therefore be open to further dates. This research shows that there is a certain level of determinism in the way we choose a partner and that we would judge physical attractiveness above anything else to be the main factor in our choices.