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Initial Attraction

2 February, 2016 - 11:46

Learning Objectives

  1. Summarize the variables that lead to initial attraction between people.
  2. Outline the variables that lead us to perceive someone as physically attractive, and explain why physical attractiveness is so important in liking.
  3. Describe the ways that similarity and complementarity influence our liking for others.
  4. Define the concept of mere exposure, and explain how proximity influences liking.
  5. Explore the relationship between affect and attraction.

When we say that we like or love someone, we are experiencing interpersonal attractionthe strength of our liking or loving for another person. Although interpersonal attraction occurs between friends, family members, and other people in general, and although our analysis can apply to these relationships as well, our primary focus in this chapter will be on romantic attraction, whether in opposite-sex or same-sex relationships. There is a large literature on the variables that lead us to like others in our initial interactions with them, and we’ll review the most important findings here (Sprecher, Wenzel, & Harvey, 2008).