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Article Analysis Essay

In The part of me that you bring out: Ideal similarity and the Michelangelo phenomenon, Rusbult, Kubacka, Kumashiro and Finkel (2009) explore the effects of close relationships and ideal similarity to growth and pursuit of ideal self. The authors also explore how ideal similarity of partner traits promotes the Michelangelo phenomenon and contributes to relationship well-being. The authors explain that ideal self relates to a person’s individual aspirations and goals.

Although ideal self has previously been investigated as an intrapersonal activity, this research suggests that pursuit of ideal self is also greatly influenced by close personal relationships. Ideal similarity is defined as the occurrence and degree to which a partner possesses elements of a person’s ideal self. On the other hand, the Michelangelo phenomenon is explained to be the phenomenon where in a person shapes the personality of another person. Hypothesis of the Study

Rusbult, Kubacka, Kumashiro and Finkel (2009) theorize that ideal similarity directly affects positive affirmation, influencing a person to move toward personal goals in their efforts to achieve relationship harmony. They also theorize that ideal similarity promotes relationship well-being through the Michelangelo phenomenon. Real World Application This study explains that the pursuit of ideal self is not a wholly intrapersonal pursuit. External factors, in this case close relationships, affect the process of growth.

As such relationships where in ideal similarities exist between partners promotes personal growth and improved relationships, the opposite can also be claimed. The importance of forming relationships where ideal similarities exist is therefore highlighted in this study. Because this study establishes that close personal relationships plays a role in shaping a person’s pursuit of their ideal, it also emphasizes the need to form relationships with person’s whose personality traits align with one’s ideal.

Study Methodology The research was formed by a four-part study that analyzed couple relationship through self-report and friend-report questionnaires, reactions to video taped conversations and a an 8-day daily dairy. Throughout the studies the independent variable was the study of partnerships between committed individuals. Study 1 focused on newly committed individuals while Study 2 focused on individuals who have been committed, either married or living together, for a long period of time.

Study 2 also included the interview of friends of the couple. The dependent variable that was being measured was the amount of affirmation individuals in the committed relationships received from their partners. Study Findings Based on Study 1, it was affirmed that ideal similarity has an observable effect on affirmations and growth toward ideal self. Study 2 revealed that the greater amount of affirmations received between individuals with ideal similarity, the couples experience greater adjustment and better relationships.

Study Limitations Early in the discussion of the paper, the authors remind the reader that this study was first in studying the effects of ideal similarity on the Michelangelo phenomenon. Although the study shows that close relationships influence individuals, there is little to show that it is ideal similarity and not actual similarity that causes the positive affirmations.

Also, most of the research conducted was done through questionnaire form, which does not present an in-depth study of the effects of ideal similarities. Reference List Rusbult, C. E. , Kubacka, K. E. , Kumashiro, M. and Finkel, E. J. (2009). “The part of me that you bring out: Ideal similarity and the Michelangelo phenomenon”. Journal of Psychology and Personal Sociology 96(1), p. 61-82. American Psychological Association.


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