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Theories of Attraction and Mate Selection

Activity 3: Understanding the Theories of Attraction and Mate Selection (Knowledge/Understanding)

Titi Odunlami

on 24 April 2013

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Transcript of Theories of Attraction and Mate Selection

Theories of Attraction & Mate Selection Natural Selection Sternberg’s Love Triangle Social Homogamy Time and Place Complimentary Needs Theory Theory of Propinquity Filter Theory This theory is based on evolutionary psychology, founded by Charles Darwin. It explains that what we find attractive is prehistorically determined. The best or the most advantageous physical traits are found to be attractive. People would prefer to marry more attractive people because the more attractive, the more likely you are to survive. It becomes competitive to attain the most attractive mate. Sternberg came up with the theory that love has three faces:
Passion- a strong feeling of sexual desire for another
Intimacy- each individual shares them with another and becomes willing to meet the other’s psychological needs
Commitment- as the rewards of relationship grow, partner is more likely to maintain the relationship

Relationships with various proportions of passion, intimacy, and commitment could be depicted by the varying lengths of the sides. Social Homogamy is based on sociologists who believe that individuals are attracted to people from a similar social background of their own. Their attractiveness rating is influenced by similar social positions and physical sameness Theory of Propinquity explains how psychologists believe that people get married to people they know. Whether they were high school sweethearts, work acquaintances, or they attend the same church. The more often you see someone, the more likely you are to form a relationship –friendship or intimate. It seems as though as we meet people, we become familiar with them and find things we like about them. Time and Place Theory explains that we meet many potential partners over the course of our life, but we marry the person we dating when the “time is right.” Society influences people to get married at a certain time in life. Many people have certain factors as to when they feel it is the right time to marry. For example, some people prefer to finish their post secondary education before they rush into marriage. Others want to establish a career and become financially stable. Finally, many people want to determine where they plan on living for their future before rushing into marriage. This theory explains how opposites attract and also work together. People are attracted to qualities, skills or resources in others that they do not possess. Once a couple, they tend to have complimentary characteristics. For example, one might be more dominant, while the other is submissive. One might be loud and outgoing while the other is shy and meek. People will marry those whom they think will complement their psychological needs. Theorists Kerkhoff and Davis believe that as time passes, and exclusiveness increases, we go through a screening process. This process involves us finding our potential partners based on a series of selection filters including, age, appearance, status, personality, and beliefs. The more important the filter is, the more effort and filtration. Relationships go through stages whereby different criteria are used at successive stages. It starts with social background and moves to internal values, then to personality traits. Women prefer to mate with men who would be good fathers and who would stay around to be good providers
Men prefer to mate with women who could bear healthy babies and who could feed their children to grow up into strong adults. This theory is great for men and women who plan to have children in the future Theoretical Perspective – This theory could be related to the Functionalism theory because a society is organized to perform its required functions effectively. A man and a woman’s “function” in marriage are to bear as many children as possible, to maintain population. Theoretical Perspective – This theory mainly links to Social Exchange Theory. Social Exchange Theory explains the social factors that influence how an individual interacts within a relationship. They maximize their benefits, and minimize their costs. Sternberg’s love triangle shows the different types of love that could be created from this triangle. For example, compassionate love would have more to do with intimacy and commitment, while empty love would have more to do with only passion. This theory is great for couples who feel like they’re falling “head over heels in love” Theoretical Perspective – This theory links to Symbolic Interactionism. Individuals choose how they will act based on theory perceptions of themselves and others. Even though couples may come from different background they’re socialized in the same environment, giving them similar aspects in their social background. This theory is great for couples who are interracial, but grew up in the same society and for those who prefer to marry an individual that is their own race Theoretical Perspective – This theory could be related to the Developmental Theory. This theory describes the patterns of growth and change throughout the human life span. With finding the perfect person to marry, people must have developed with their soul mate and faced different role expectations that they and their soul mate have accomplished to help them develop. This theory is great for couples that met at church, work, university or lived around each other Theoretical Perspective – This theory is related to the Functionalism theory. As stated earlier, this sociological theory attempts to explain how a society is organized to perform its required functions effectively. At a certain age, society influences young adults to get married at a certain age to fulfill their function. This way, society works together as a whole. This theory is great for people who do not believe that they must rush into a marriage to be happy Theoretical Perspective – This theory can relate to Systems Theory. Systems theory attempts to explain how groups of individuals interact as a system. A set of different parts will work together and influence one another in a relatively stable way over time. The set of different parts is related to the different skills, qualities and resources that both individuals possess. Once a couple, they will combine together to make a system. This theory is great for people who are seeking what they don’t have in a partner, so once a couple, they will feel complete. Theoretical Perspective – This theory can relate to Feminist Theory. This theoretical perspective explains the impact of sex and gender on behaviour of individuals. It is known that men and women think and work differently. For example, men often seek female partners initially on looks. Other compatibility factors are considered much later in the relationship. Women might think the same way, or might seek partners on their intelligence and status in society. This theory is great for people who know exactly what they want in a partner By: Titi Odunlami
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