Murstein*s Filter Theory

Ch.7 : Mate Selection
Theories of Attraction
 Proximity:
- likely to fall for people who live and work nearby, same cultural events, same
social places.
 Ideal Mate Theory –
- Symbolic Interactionism – Attraction is based on individual’s unconscious
image of the ideal mate formed from his or her perceptions.
- Perceptions are formed from positive or negative experiences with people from
their family, neighbourhood, childhood etc.
 Buss’Thoughts:
- determined that women are attracted to men who are healthy, intelligent, welleducated , hard working and ambitious because this indicates they will be
successful providers.
- Men are attracted to physically appealing, young and healthy women-shiny
hair, full lips, shapely figure – female beauty in all cultures.
- Men are attracted to younger women. Average age difference in Canada for
marriages is 2-3 years.
 Evolutionary Psychology and Attraction:
- Branch of anthropology: explains that the origins of sexual attraction in the 21st
century can be traced back to our prehistoric ancestors. Sexual attraction is an
unconscious choice.
 Social Homogamy:
- People are attracted to others of the same social background
Murstein’s Filter Theory
Bernard Murstein explained the relationship among dating, social homogamy,
and social exchange as a multi-step process. He uses the analogy of ‘sifting’
to suggest that individuals pass their dates through a series of ‘filters’ to
screen out unacceptable marriage partners. This process of filtering leads
an individual to only let one acceptable partner through, which ultimately
leads to marriage.
Field of Eligibles
 Who is out there, the general population.
Propinquity Filter
 Who is close to us. An available group to choose from. (proximity)
Attraction Filter (Physical attraction/Personality)
 Judgment based on appearance and individual characteristics
Homogamy Filter (Age, Race, Education, SocioEconomic Class, Religion)
 Judgment based on how similar these factors are to the individual.
Compatibility Filter (Temperment,
Attitudes and Values, Needs, Roles, Habits)
 Judgment based on similarities of these more intangible qualities
Trial Filter (Cohabitation,
 Statement of commitment here. Test of the compatibility of all
previous filters.
Decision Filter
 Final decision is made here to see if individual is the right choice.