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Mate Selection Theories

Individuals and Families in a Diverse Society
by

Sheliza Jamal

on 28 May 2012

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Transcript of Mate Selection Theories

How do we decide who to date and marry? Conclusion Mate Selection Theories What theory would be used to explain an arranged marriage? David Buss, an American anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist summarized several extensive studies on sexual attraction and concluded that individuals select a mate based on who can raise the most successful children.

In other words, mate selection is based on natural selection; women look for a strong man who can be a provider and men look for young, healthy women who will produce healthy children where the primary goal is reproduction. Sociologists suggest that the variations in attraction can be explained using the theory of social homogamy.
Social Homogamy is when individuals are attracted to people from a similar social background. An arranged marriage can be seen as a socially homogamous marriage.

For example, two individuals studying criminology,an Indian woman marrying an Indian man, an African Jew marrying an American Jew.
Ideal Mate theory attempts to explain attraction from a symbolic interactionst perspective. Attraction is based on a person’s unconscious image of the ideal mate formed by their perceptions of the meaning of certain characteristics. "Love at first sight" is therefore possible because everyone has an unconscious ideal with which they compare a person to find him or her attractive or to make the immediate judgment of the person as lovable.

For example, a list of what you want in a mate. I am seeking a tall, dark, handsome male with green eyes. He has to have a stable professional career, play sports, read books and like long walks on the beach. Evolutionary Psychology Social Homogamy Ideal Mate Theory The social exchange theory suggests that attraction is based more on reality than fantasy, and explains that almost everyone finds a mate in his or her society because people are attracted to different qualities in a mate. People identify the resources they have to offer a mate and the resources they would like in a mate. Individuals look for the costs and rewards of a potential mate. For example, is this individual healthy, smart, have a good job, money etc. Another practical example, an older man with a younger woman, an arranged marriage etc. Social Exchange Theory Conflict and Feminist Theorists suggest that a match between an older man and a younger woman ensures that the man has greater resources and that the younger woman will need his resources to acquire an improved lifestyle. Therefore, the age difference is necessary for men to maintain their dominant status in a patriarchal marriage.

For example, an older wealthy professional man marries a young Graduate student. Conflict & Feminist Theory Developmental perspective suggests that individuals are not able to relate to someone else without understanding first who they are and what their roles in life are to have a relationship that lasts. This requires an understanding of what one has to offer another and what one needs from another in return so people are not capable of a fully intimate relationship until the identity crisis of the transition to adulthood is resolved and therefore, committing oneself to intimate relationships before this would result in defining identity through the relationship.

Levinson and Erickson suggest that women are more likely to define themselves through their connections with others therefore they might develop a committed relationship as part of forming their identify. Men, on the other hand, prefer to retain more independence in their relationships until their life structures are established Developmental Theory Market Experience Theory suggests that individuals relate to individuals of an opposite sex and judge a character to determine qualities desired in a mate. The understanding is that individuals date several individuals, effectively to select a made with these desrived traits.

Murstein's Filter Theory explains Market Theory though a filter which begins with a large field of eligible mates, which are filtered down through physical proximity, social homogamy, physical appearance and character traits to the narrowest part of the filter which could lead to marriage with one of those individuals.

For example, online dating, speed dating, The Bachelorette Market Experience
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