According to past research, physical attractiveness has been shown to be an important factor in determining the meaning and importance of a relationship. A study carried out on physical attractiveness and stereotyping showed that there existed highly pervasive tendencies directed towards individuals found to be attractive. The participants of the study were allowed to view college yearbook pictures of the people who were meant to evoke a certain stimulus. Each of the persons in the yearbook had been previously been graded as either unattractive, average looking or attractive at the extreme end of the scale(Dion, 1987). Apart from just determining the subject’s physical attractiveness, the participants were also required to estimate how suitable the subject would be for other roles such as being a romantic partner or a parent. From the results that were collected, it was determined that subjects who possessed attractive stimuli were seen to additional social qualities that were desirable among the participants.
However, according to a study conducted by Swami et al (2009), romantic relationships are a part of social relationships that are majorly influenced by cognitions as well as perceptions that significantly deviate from reality as it exists. People tend to have illusions of their romantic partners thereby enhancing the attraction towards them. In his, ‘love is blind bias’ study he suggests that there is a tendency to view a romantic partner as physically attractive, not by general description or acceptance, but by the fact that an individual is attracted to them. This, therefore, causes a variation in attraction and romantic relationships, where a person will find their romantic partner more attractive than another person’s romantic partner. This is based on the sole perception of one another between the two romantic partners (Swami, 2009).
This paper will describe an experimental study of how to analyze physical attractiveness in a romantic relationship. The importance of physical attractiveness in a relationship cannot be understated as it plays a key role in determining the depth of the relationship. The experiment will seek to compare and find the consistency attained in previous research that shows a strong link between the choice of partners and the romantic relationship between them.
The population targeted for the analysis of ‘physical attractiveness in romantic relationships’ were students from the City College of New York. The study will involve a group of 100 males and 100 females. The prerequisite of participation in the experiment is to be in a romantic relationship or must have been in a romantic relationship previously. However, it is noted that some of the individuals targeted for the study may be in possession of information that they consider being too personal to share for purposes of the study. Therefore, they may be reluctant to participate in the study. So as, to solve this bottleneck, the participants will be duly notified that the information collected is private and confidential and that their identities will never be released to any other individual and the information collected will be used only for purposes of the study.
Design and Materials
The method of data collection that is preferred is by the use of a questionnaire. The questionnaire will have several objective questions targeted at the participants. The questionnaires will be structured to have both close ended and open ended questions. The questions will query the participants’ views on their current relationship as well as their past relationships. Furthermore, the participants will be required t rate the attractiveness of their current or former partner using the Estimating physical attractiveness scale (Swami, Stieger, Haubner, Voracek & Furnham, 2009) This rating is made up of five characteristic, which are general physical attractiveness, general facial attractiveness, general size and weight of the body as well as the general shape, figure and height of the body.
This method of data collection is preferred since it can comfortably and adequately accommodate the large number of respondents who are to participate in the study. This method is handy as it saves time. Furthermore, it is a good way of ensuring the confidentiality of the participants. This is advantageous as it puts the respondent at ease and, therefore, willing to give more information without any fear.
Each participant will be given an informative brochure detailing the purpose of the experiment and their role in it. Furthermore, the brochure will detail the privacy and confidentiality of their responses.
Each of the respondents will then be issued with a complete questionnaire that they will be required to fill. The data collected will then be submitted for further analysis. This will facilitate the generation of comprehensive results that show the relationship between partners in a romantic relationship and physical attractiveness.