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Critical Evaluationg Of Psychological Theories Of Interpersonal Attraction

2959 words - 12 pages

Critical Evaluationg of Psychological Theories of Interpersonal Attraction

Interpersonal Attraction suggests as attraction between people, and
although it may not in terms of a romantic relationship scenario as
the phrase suggests, it nethertheless suggests an important attraction
to create a relationship with a particular person. It may by that we
are attracted to a particular person or a social relationship because
we find them pleasant or because we find life alone unpleasant or
unrewarding. Schacter (1959) conducted a study in which female
participants were told that they were going to receive an electric
shock in a following experiment. Half of the subjects were told it
would be painful and the other half were told it would not be
painful. Each group were given the option to wait with another person
or on their own for the experiment. A significantly higher number of
people from the group who expected a painful electric shock waited
with another person. This showed the importance of social
relationships in the reduction of anxiety and the sharing of

However, why is it that we are attracted to some people more than
other people? Wilson (1986) argues that sexual attraction can be
explained through an understanding of ‘survival efficiency’. By way
of ‘bargaining’ between men and women, our relationships have become
defined and characterised. It is in the ‘Interest’ of males to
impregnate as many women as possible because he is capable of
producing many sperm, whereas the women’s best chance of her genes
surviving is to ensure the healthy survival of the relatively few
offspring she is capable of mothering because she can only produce one
egg at a time. This would suggest that women would find status and
wealth attractive in a male whereas a male would find physical
appearance attractive because this is often an

indicator of good health. This has been supported by certain ‘Lonely
Hearts’ advertisement analysis such as Brehm’s (1985) study where
women offer and men ask for attractiveness and in Dunbar’s (1995)
study in which males typically needed physical attractiveness in their
partners and offered resources such as wealth and status. Other
psychologists such as Ridley (1993) have also shared this
socio-biological theory that individuals only exist to pass on their
genes to the next generation. However, this suggests that there is no
free will or self awareness in choosing social relationship partners
and is heavily deterministic. In much of the research, it also
presumes heterosexuality and this can be seen in particular in
Dunbar’s and Brehm’s studies and in turn supports gender stereotypes
which is an ethical concern. This means that the opinion of males
behaviour to seek out many sexual partners is supported and explains
away this...

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