This section will cover the topic that I explored, what is known and what is not known about it based on the two articles, the findings of the researches, and their implications.
I explored a topic about attraction and intimate relationships. I explored how intimate partners are attracted to each other and the leading factors that dictate intimate attraction. The topic entails what partners look for when they are about to enter into an intimate relationship. It also entails the relationship between relationship quality and perceived similarity and psychological benefits. In this case, the topic looks at how relationship quality influences perceived similarity and psychologically affects the perceiver.
What is known about the Topic
A lot is known about attraction and intimate relationships. Based on the first article I explored, attraction is driven by people’s perceptions of their partners. The article is based on the attraction-similarity model, which posits that people expect and perceive that their partners are similar to them (Morry et al., 2010). For instance, if a person perceives that their partner has effective problem-solving skills, they act so that their partner’s behaviors are similar to theirs. In short, since they want to be attracted to them, they act in a similar manner with them. The article further notes that the perceptions of similarity that the perceiver have affected their psychological consequences. Since they want to be similar to their partners, their psychology is affected, and they start behaving like their partners.
The second article explored the personality characteristics affecting physical attraction during the first year of an intimate relationship. Based on the paper, behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and psychological factors influence the attraction of partners towards each other. It reveals that attraction is based on how people perceive their partners, just like the first article. For example, how they perceive their behaviors are, their emotional reactions, how they think, and the makeup of their minds. People are attracted to each other because of what they see in them. These are the personality characteristics they possess. However, personality characteristics’ emotional and behavioral aspects play the most significant role in attraction between intimate partners (Karandashev & Fata, 2014). It means that people are attracted to each other, not largely because of physical looks but because of their behavior and emotional capacities.
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What is not known about the Topic
The first article posits that high relationship quality increases similarity perception. However, it also asserts that it is unknown whether the opposite is true (Morry et al., 2010). It is unknown if high similarity perception causes high relationship quality and suggests that there is a need for further research. Another novel thing is the similarity of dating partners in terms of direct comparison factors- for instance, the similarity in loyalty between two partners. According to the second article, the cognitive aspect plays a crucial role in women’s attraction than in men. However, it is unknown why women are more considerate of men’s cognitive characteristics than how men are considerate towards women when dating. This sets a foundation for further research.
The first study studied perceptions of similarity between dating partners and university students of the same gender in the first article. The findings were that similarity perception is greater between dating partners than between one partner and a university student of the same gender. The second study studied the relationship between perceived similarity, relationship quality, and trait relevancy. It found out that relationship quality increases the similarity perception of moderately relevant traits that high or low relevant traits. Overall, the research indicated that higher relationship quality leads to increased perceived similarity, which leads to psychological benefits.
The second research found that personality characteristics, such as behavioral, cognitive, emotional, and psychological factors, predict physical attraction in women and men. However, it found that emotional and behavioral aspects are more prevalent in physical attraction than other dimensions. Also, the cognitive aspect was found to affect women more than men. The results indicated that people are attracted to their romantic partners, mainly following how they behave and the emotions they display and feel towards them. Although the cognitive aspect also plays a minor role in physical attraction, emotional and behavioral take the lead. Overall, the research indicated that emotional and behavioral dimensions largely drive physical attraction between intimate partners and cognitive dimensions to a small extent.
In the first article, one implication is that people should focus on the positive side of relationships for maximum benefit. As the findings indicate, high relationship quality, which equates to the positive side of the relationship, has psychological benefits for a perceiver. The perceiver perceives greater similarity, which helps them focus on the positive attributes, and hence, has a positive mind. Based on the article’s conclusion, a counselor should focus on the positive aspects when counseling partners. It is likely to make the relationship work than when they focus on the negative aspects.
Based on the second article, the major implication is that people should mind their behavior and emotions while finding an attraction to partners. The research revealed that behavior and emotions play a crucial role in physical attraction. This implies that many people consider how a person behaves and react to circumstances before establishing a romantic relationship with them. Hence, people should be mindful of their behavior, emotions, and cognition.
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Strengths and Weaknesses
The major strength of the first article is that it conducted its research through three studies to test the same hypothesis. This made its conclusion firm and valid. Besides, the researchers were able to compare the three studies and conclude firmly. Its greatest weakness is that it was based on university students being the dominant participants. It poses a challenge of replicating the findings to other demographics such as older adults. Hence the findings may not apply to other demographics.
In the second article, the leading strength is that its design helped it gain a deep understanding of the hypotheses. It applied longitudinal and cross-sectional designs, where longitudinal gave them more time to study the objectives deeply. However, its sample size was relatively small, forming its major weakness. The sample size was 46 participants, which may be insufficient in generalizing a whole population.
The methods used in both articles helped address the topics. In the first article, participants involved dating partners, which enhanced the validity of the findings because they responded from an intimate perspective. The research also included participants who had dated their partners for quite a while so as to investigate the study from a long-lasting relation perspective. Since the topic was about relationship quality and similarity perception, they were able to find the results from people with experience and who have stayed in relationships long enough to develop a relationship quality.
The second research utilized longitudinal and cross-sectional methods. The methods were sufficient in allowing respondents to rate their partners’ attractiveness features. The eight-week longitudinal study gave them time to spot any differences in personality characteristics their partners recorded. Hence, this method was effective in tracking changes in physical attraction in romantic partners.
Karandashev, V., & Fata, B. (2014). Change in physical attraction in early romantic relationships. Interpersonal: An International Journal on Personal Relationships, 8(2), 257-267. https://doi.org/10.5964/ijpr.v8i2.167 Morry, M. M., Kito, M., & Ortiz, L. (2010). The attraction-similarity model and dating couples: Projection, perceived similarity, and psychological benefits. Personal Relationships, 1