Discuss the various types of Interpersonal Attraction.

According to famous psychologists interpersonal attraction has been an important topic of research in psychology, because humans are social animals and attraction serves an important function in forming a social network.

List of Various Types of Interpersonal Attraction:

Physical Attractiveness.

In the physical attraction one of the most essential factor is influencing attraction is physical attractiveness. The matching hypothesis proposed by sociologist Erving Goffman suggests that people are more likely to forms long standing relationships with those who are equally matched in social attributes, like physical attractiveness, as they are. The study by researchers Walster and Walster supported the matching hypothesis by showing that partners who were similar in terms of physical attractiveness expressed the most liking for each other.

Research on Physical Attractiveness Stereotype.

In the initial stages college students were asked to look at pictures of men and women who either were good-looking, average or homely and to then evaluate their personalities. They have to assume the physically attractive person possessed a host of social desirable personality traits compared to those who were unattractive even at the middle age.

Therefore, from the above findings we are based solely on samples from individualistic culture. The physical attractiveness stereotype also occurs in collectivist cultural, but its content is a bit different.

Attractiveness and Job-related Outcomes.

According to some studies conducted in both individualistic and collectivist culture indicate that that physical attractiveness does have a moderate impact in a variety of job related outcomes, including hiring, salary, etc. We all know that there is the huge impact of the personality at the time of interview and hiring. It was of the study, it was found that there was a significant difference between the starting salaries of good-looking men and those with slow average faces.

The famous psychologist Alan Feingold conducted a Meta analysis of more than ninety studies and comes with the outcome that whether physically attractive and physically unattractive people actually differed in their basic personality traits.


According to Rowland Miller’s “The more we see and interact with a person, the more likely he or she is to become our friend or sexual partner.” As mentioned above, the mere exposure effect, also known as the familiarity principle, states that the more we are exposed to something, the more we come to like it. This applies equally to both objects and people.

The social allergy, effect occurs when a person grows increasingly annoyed by another habits instead of growing more fond of his or her idiosyncrasies over time. Familiarity can also occur without physical exposure. Recent studies show that relationships formed over the Internet resemble those developed face-to-face, in terms of quality and depth.

Proximity as an Intensifier of Sentiments.

Proximity as an intensifier of sentiments is a frequently advanced and commonly accepted notion is that propinquity, or proximity, has a strong influence on one’s friendship choices. The meexposure effect is a psychological phenomenon by which people tend to develop a preference for things merely because they are familiar with them. In social psychology, this effect is sometimes called the familiarity principle.

According to the famous scholar Byrne, clerks in a large department store and members of bomber crew have been found to develop closer relations with those who happen to work next to them than with co-workers a few feet away. There was an interesting finding has been that integrated housing produced increased racial harmony. Deutsch and Collins (1958), for example, concluded on the basis of their data that integrated housing should encourage since such integrating helps eradicate racial prejudice.

Increased Probability of Acquiring Information.

Within the realm of social psychology, the proximity principle accounts for the tendency for individuals to form interpersonal relations with those who are close by. Theodore New-comb first documented this effect through his study of the acquaintance process, which demonstrated how people who interact and live close to each other will be more likely to develop a relationship.

Leon Festinger also illustrates the proximity principle and propinquity (the state of being close to someone or something) by studying the network of attraction within a series of residential housing units at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Both of these studies provide evidence to support the fact that people who encounter each other more frequently tend to develop stronger relationships.

Heider’s Balance Theory.

Balance Theory is a motivational theory of attitude change, proposed by Fritz Heider. It conceptualizes the cognitive consistency motive as a drive toward psychological balance. The consistency motive is the urge to maintain one’s values and beliefs over time.

Heider proposed that “sentiment” or liking relationships are balanced if the affect valence in a system multiplies out to a positive result. Heider drown upon the principles of perceptual organization which were formulated by the Gestalt psychologist. Balance theory is also useful in examining how celebrity endorsement affects consumers attitudes toward products.

If a person likes a celebrity and perceives (due to the endorsement) that said celebrity likes a product, said person will tend to liking the product more, in order to achieve psychological balance.

However, if the person already had a dislike for the product being endorsed by the celebrity, she may like the celebrity less in addition to liking the product more, again to achieve psychological balance. To predict the outcome of a situation using Heider’s Balance Theory, one must weigh the effects of all the potential results, and the one requiring the least amount of effort will be the likely outcome.

The results of the study clearly indicated that the subjects expressed more liking for the girl who had been designated as their discussion partner than they did for the girl who was not. This study suggests, that the factor of proximity, may produce a feeling of unit formation between two people.

Balance Theory is a motivational theory of attitude change proposed by Fritz Heider, which conceptualizes the consistency motive as a drive toward psychological balance. Heider proposed that “sentiment” or liking relationships are balanced if the affect valence in a system multiplies out to a positive result.

For example: a Person who likes an Other person will be balanced by the same valence attitude on behalf of the other. Symbolically, P (+) > O and P < (+) O results in psychological balance.

Therefore, one may summaries this section by starting that actual proximity is probably correlated with attraction because proximity allows one to obtain an increased amount of information about the other person and to experience rewards or punishment from the other and there is some suggestive evidence that proximity in and the itself, may facilitate attraction as a by-product of the individuals desire for cognitive consistency.


The notion of “birds of a feather flock together” points out that similarity is a crucial determinant of interpersonal attraction. Studies about attraction indicate that people are strongly attracted to look-a-likes in physical and social appearance (“like attracts like”). This similarity is in the broadest sense: similarity in bone-structure, characteristics, life goals, ethnicity and appearance. The more these points match, the happier people are in a relationship.

The look alike effect plays an important role called self-affirmation. A person typically enjoys receiving confirmation of every aspect of his or her life, ideas, attitudes and personal characteristics and it seems that people are looking for an image of themselves to spend their life with.

One of the basic principles of interpersonal attraction is the rule of similarity: similarity is attractive. It is this underlying principle that applies to both friendships and romantic relationships.

Similarity in Different Aspects.

Findings suggest that interpersonal similarity and attraction are multidimensional constructs, in which people are attracted to others who are similar to them in demographics, physical appearance, attitudes, interpersonal style, social and cultural background, personality, interests and activities preferences, and communication and social skills.

Such perception is either self-serving (friendship) or relationship-serving (romantic relationship). Theodore Newcomb (1963)pointed out that people tend to change perceived similarity to obtain balance in a relationship.

Physical Appearance.

The matching hypothesis proposed by sociologist Erving Goffman suggests that people are more likely to form long standing relationships with those who are equally matched in social attributes, like physical attractiveness, as they are. The study by researchers Walster and Walster supported the matching hypothesis by showing that partners who were similar in terms of physical attractiveness expressed the most liking for each other.

Another study also found evidence that supported the matching hypothesis: photos of dating and engaged couples were rated in terms of attractiveness, and a definite tendency was found for couples of similar attractiveness to date or engage. Several studies support this evidence of similar facial attractiveness. Penton-Voak, Perrett, and Peirce (1999) found that subjects rated the pictures with their own face morphed into it as more attractive.

DeBruine (2002) demonstrated in her research how subjects entrusted more money to their opponents in a game play, when the opponents were presented as similar to them. Little, Burt, & Perrett (2006) examined similarity in sight for married couples and found that the couples were assessed at the same age and level of attractiveness.


According to the law of attraction by Byrne (1971: When you want to attract something into your life, make sure your actions don’t contradict your desires. Think about what you have asked for, and make sure that your actions are mirroring what you expect to receive, and that they’re not contradicting what you’ve asked for. Act as if you are receiving it.

Do exactly what you would do if you were receiving it today, and take actions in your life to reflect that powerful expectation. Make room to receive your desires, and as you do, you are sending out that powerful signal of expectation. In inter-group comparisons, high attitude similarity would lead to homogeneity among in-group members, promoting social interaction and achieving high group performance in different task.

According to Simons, Berkowtiz and Moyer 1970 attitudinal similarity and attraction are linearly related, attraction may not contribute significantly to attitude changes.

Social and Cultural Background.

Byrne, Clore and Worchel suggested people with similar economic status are likely to be attracted to each other. It also found that people prefer their romantic partners to be similar in certain demographic characteristics, including religious background, etc:


People are inclined to desire romantic partners who are similar to themselves on agreeableness, conscientiousness, extroversion, emotional stability, openness to experience and attachment style.

Interests and Activities.

The judgment of attraction claimed that high self-monitoring people were influenced more by activity preference similarity than attitude similarity on initial attraction, while low self-monitoring people were influenced more on initial attraction.

Social Skills.

According to the post-conversation measures of social attraction, tactical similarity was very much related with the partner satisfaction and global competence ratings, but was uncorrelated with the opinion change and perceived persuasiveness measures.

Effects of Similarity on Interpersonal Attraction.

Similarity has effects on starting a relationship by attraction, to know each other. The similarity resulted in a significant increase in initial attraction to the target person and high attitude dissimilarity resulted in a decrease of initial attraction. Similarity also promotes relationship commitment.


In complementary studies show that complementary interaction between two partners increases their attractiveness to each other. The model of complementary explains whether birds of a feather flock together or opposites attract. Mathes and Moore 1985 found that people are more attracted to peers approximating to their ideal self than to those, who did not.

Principles of Similarity or Complementary.

Principles of similarity and complimentary seem to be contradictory on the surface. Both principle states that friendly people would prefer friendly people in their circle. The importance of similarity and complementary may depend on the stage of the relationship.

Enable registration in settings - general
Compare items
  • Total (0)