The above graph shows how the averaged ratings for each respective partner in each couple correspond with eachother. It shows that, overall, females were rated more highly than males, yet the two jointed lines share a similar fluctuation pattern, suggesting that there may exist a relationship between the two sets of data. Scattergraph to Illustrate the Correlation between Averaged Ratings of Male and Female Photographs Whilst the trendline on the scattergraph above indicates a slight negative correlation due to the slight slope up from right to left, the data points of this graph are not uniformly scattered about the trendline.
This indicates that the very small negative correlation given by the line (negative gradient of equation of trendline) may not be significant. To establish significance a statistical test will have to be carried out. Inferential Statistics- Spearman’s Rank Correlation [Spearman’s rho] This method of inferential statistics was used as it is most appropriate for the data type. i. e. correlatory data, related pair of scores which are scored on a scale with equal intervals, i.
e. ordinal data.The value for rho was calculated using the graphing package, Autograph. This gave the value for rho =-0. 078 (to 2 significant figures.
) The statistical level of significance for a two-tailed test at p<0. 05 and N=20 is 0. 447. As the observed value of rho is less than the critical value, the experimental hypothesis must be rejected and the null hypothesis accepted; i. e. the apparent correlation shown is not significant, equivalent to stating that ‘there is no correlation between the variables’.
Discussion Explanation of FindingsMy findings do not support the Matching Hypothesis, as the scattergraph indicated a very weak negative correlation between the two sets of ratings, which following statistical analysis was found to be insignificant, leading me to accept the null hypothesis: i. e. that ‘There is no correlation between attractiveness ratings of separated photographs of married or engaged couples.
‘ From the table of averaged results it can also be seen that the male of each pair was consistently rated as being of a lower level of attractiveness than his partner. A reason for this could be due to the sample: which was composed of a female majority.(there are differences between male and female perceptions of attractiveness) Relationship to Background Research My findings are contradictory to much of the research described in the introduction, suggesting that the Matching Hypothesis may not be true in certain situations, and there are therefore other factors which determine whether two people will be attracted to eachother or not.
Reasons why Murstein’s and Silverman’s findings are refuted by my results could be due to social norms shifts that have occurred within the last 30 + years, e.g. differing emphasis placed on attractiveness to other qualities when choosing a partner-likely catalysed by having greater social freedoms.
As it was found that males were universally rated as less attractive than their partners, (this could either be significant or due to methodological issues) this may reflect a sociobiological difference in mate selection, perhaps a greater emphasis on physical attractiveness in females and more stress on a man’s ability to provide resources.There is also evidence for alternate variants of the Matching Hypothesis which may operate alongside the attractiveness variant, i. e. matching high attractiveness for low intelligence. For example, Alvarez et al. (2004) propose that humans ‘mate assortatively’ ; that facial resemblance is often an important factor in mate selection, however there always remains a trade-off between other factors; as in those ‘reward factors’ as described in the introduction.”Evidence for assortative mating among humans seems well established.
Human’s mate assortatively regarding age, IQ, height, weight, nationality, educational and occupational level, physical and personality characters” (Alvarez et al. ,2004) It therefore seems inappropriate to reduce attributions of attractiveness to just one reward factor when many others are also important in mate selection in such a complex organism. Limitations and ModificationsThe limitations of this investigation may be a crucial factor in explaining why, despite a replication of a study which gained positive results, failed to lend support to the Matching Hypothesis. Firstly, the sample size was small (N=20) and thus impossible to generalise findings to the population. Also, the sample consisted solely of 16-17 year old students which is significant in that such a limited sample is extremely likely to skew the results to fit the opinions of this segment of the population rather than being representative of the whole population, which was the aim.
The sample was also skewed in favour of females, the number of females participating being almost twice as many as the number of males. This obviously is a confounding factor because the two genders will have different ideas of what constitutes attractiveness. Relating to the subject of this study, younger people may find older people (the people in the photos being 5-30 years the participants’ senior) less attractive generally.To rectify these problems, a larger study would have to be carried out, using a larger sample, within which, if possible, participants would be selected randomly. Further faults of the investigation lie in the methodology. The platform by which the people were rated (2D-photographs) is unreliable, firstly because the sizes, contrast and facial expressions of each photograph was different, but also because, in reality a dynamic 3D picture is available when we are internally determining someone else’s attractiveness.
This could only be completely resolved by conducting a field experiment, as in Silverman’s field study, so that participants could gain a more externally valid picture of that person’s attractiveness. Implications and Suggestions for Future Research My findings indicate that many factors are in operation as regards to the perceived levels of attractiveness in potential partners. This could have real-life implications re: social networks e. g. speed dating, online dating sites, whereby agencies profit by matching people together.Such agencies could review their methods to see whether displaying specific personality details as well as pictures leads to better matching success.
Regarding further research into this topic, I would investigate how knowing more about people in stimulus photographs affects participants’ perceptions of their attractiveness. If I were to carry out another fait-accompli matching study, I would aim to do so in a naturalistic setting, as a field experiment.Resourceshttp://www.
, Rolls, G. Essential AS & A2 Psychology for AQA A (2006) Hodder Arnold