The Aims of this experiment was to see if there is a similarity between levels of physical appearance between couples. The method used in this experiment was very similar to that of Murstein’s matching hypothesis, using 10photos of couples split in two so there was 10 males and 10females 20 participants were asked to rank the males in order of 1-10, and the rank the females in order of 1-10 without knowing which male was coupled with which female. The results of this method were recorded by means of Spearman’s rank correlation.
The Rho of this experiment was 0. 2727273, for the results to be statistically significant the Rho had to be equal to or greater than 0. 564. As this experiment was below this it was statistically infrequent and the null hypothesis was accepted. In conclusion the hypothesis of this experiment was rejected as results were statistically infrequent, this shows from the results that there is in fact no similarities in levels of physical appearance amongst couples in long term relationships.
‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’ suggests that people are as attractive as a person sees them. So for instance a person may be seen as attractive to certain people but not attractive to others. How attractive people find each other forms the basis of my research Research has already been carried out on this area and different conclusions have been drawn upon, examples of these are; Goffman (1952) proposed the “Matching Hypothesis”, which stated that individuals were more likely to have long lasting relationships if they were of the same attractiveness as each other.
The reasons why this is the case could be that, as human instinct is to reproduce, evolution will have conditioned one to form a relationship with an individual who is most likely to reproduce with them and, generally, this would be an individual of the same physical attractiveness. Many researchers have tested this theory: Walster (1966) used a “computer dance” as the basis for his research. He got 4 independent judges to rate the attractiveness of 752 students who signed up to this dating service.
The students were then matched up at random with the only condition that a man wasn’t matched up with a woman who was taller than him. Each person was then asked to rate their partner and it was found that the more attractive individuals were the best date that doesn’t support the Matching Hypothesis. Walster & Walster (1969) developed an experiment that was a follow up to this. The experiment allowed the participants to meet and interact beforehand, providing more ecological validity, and went on to support the Matching Hypothesis as the individuals preferred each other if they were of the same attractiveness.
Murstein (1972) collected photographs of couples that were married or engaged and had participants rate each person in the photograph separately. His findings showed that generally the two people were rated as the same that, again, supports the Matching Hypothesis. The methodology of this research is used as a template for the research to be done for testing the hypothesis. There is also other research that suggests that people tend to be attracted to those with similar interests and personality traits.
This research does not support the research that suggests people in long-term relationships are of similar levels of physical attractiveness. Kandel (1978) showed us that demographic behaviour has effects on relationships and that individuals tend to be more attracted to people who are similar to themselves (class, political views etc) but have certain qualities that the individual does not have, but could gain from (talents, admiration etc).
Burgess & Wallin (1958) found that there was a positive correlation between personality type and happiness of a marriage in a longitudinal study they carried out, but they also found that, in some circumstances, personalities would change in long-term relationships to match that of the other individual. Moreland & Beach (1992) carried out a study with male workers that showed that, as they became more familiar with females they worked with, they also became more attracted to them, almost without noticing their physical attractiveness.
This research shows that people tend to become more and more attracted to people as they get to know them better, but there is always the argument that the person would not approach the other person if they felt they were either far more attractive than themselves or if they viewed them as much less attractive. This then opens the question. Do people get together with people of the same levels of physical appearance as themselves? It is thought that all humans would go for the more attractive individual available but would be worried that this person would then accept a better offer and leave.
Therefore people go for people on the same level as themselves. This is supported by (Walster and Walster, 1969). This aim of this study is to discover whether or not people in long-term relationships are of similar levels of physical appearance. My hypothesis suggests that people in long-term relationships will be of similar levels of physical appearance, reasons for choosing a directional hypothesis is that given the research conducted by Walster and Walster and Murstein it would suggest that there would be a positive correlation and my hypothesis would be correct.