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Stimulus-Value-Role Model

 

Explanations > Theories > Stimulus-Value-Role Model

Description | Example | So What? | See also | References 

 

Description

We select our friends and close partners through a three-stage model, filtering out those who do not fit at each stage. All elements may well be important throughout the relationship, but their relative importance changes.

In the stimulus stage, we evaluate the other person in terms of physical attributes. A man, for example, may be struck by the beauty of a buxom, blonde woman. We are generally attracted to people of a similar age, appearance and ethnicity.

In the value stage, we compare their values with ours and decide whether we are sufficiently compatible to continue the relationship. In particular, we look at attitudes towards religion, sex, careers, families and gender differences.

In the role stage, we share out the activities to build a working relationship. It helps if preferences for these are complementary (you do this and I’ll do that), although role attitudes need to be similar.

Example

In assessing a candidate athlete, a coach will first look at how well built and muscled the athlete is. Then they will decide whether they can work with the athlete, for example whether they are dedicated enough to persevere in training. Finally, they will get together to form a working relationship.

So what?

Using it

Be ready to fit in with the other person’s changing criteria as the relationship matures. Also watch yourself. You may want to reject them.

Defending

Beware of people who fit too perfectly to your needs.

See also

Filter Theory, Stage Theory

References

Murstein (1970)

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