A beautiful girlfriend of mine was on eHarmony and was matched with an incredibly handsome and successful guy. Although, they were matched on compatibility and I thought they would make an especially good-looking pair, she felt otherwise. She closed him out immediately without a chance for communication. Her thought: he was just out of her league.
According to the matching hypothesis (Walster, Aronson, Abrahams, & Rottman, 1966), each of us walks around with an idea of how socially desirable we are (i.e., how good of a catch we are), and we tend to look for partners who are similar to us in social desirability. The idea is that if we pursue someone similar to us, we have a better chance at a good outcome.
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However, according to recent research with actual online daters, the matching hypothesis may not be entirely supported (Taylor, Fiore, Mendelsohn, & Cheshire, 2011). For example, when initiating contact, both men and women in this study contacted people who were more physically attractive than themselves. Of course, physical attractiveness is just a part of one's self-concept, so researchers conducted 2 more studies.
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Written by Dr. Erina Lee, Senior Research Scientist, for eHarmony. Image courtesy of imagesdisney.com.
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