Interpersonal Attraction

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  • Created by: Carly
  • Created on: 28-05-12 17:26

Discuss research into interpersonal attraction.

Interpersonal attraction is thought of as the very basis of relationships. It considers what it is that will influence whether or not individuals are attracted to each other, identifying many important factors such as proximity, physical appearance, and similarity of attitudes and social backgrounds. 

Physical closeness provides the opportunity for contact, which is essential for any attraction to take place. Bossard (1932) found that more than half of the 5000 couples that applied to get married in Philadelphia lived only a few minutes walk of each other. This may however be ethnocentric and lack cultural realism as it took place in an American state with American couples and did not consider other cultures. In 1950, Festinger et al compared the friendships formed between students who lived in the halls of residents, he found that people were much more likely to be friends with those on the same floor as them than those to the floor above and below. Living near someone or working together, allows regular contact in a relatively easy environment and so two people can begin to get to know eachother. They may also become familiar with one another, humans crave familiarity and so this may be an important factor in interpersonal attraction.  The idea of proximity being essential however is slightly era dependant as in today’s world proximity is not quite as important as it was when Bossard and Festinger were doing their research as we now have the use of technology. However regular contact, whether face-to-face or through a social networking site, remains essential.

Once two people have become aware of the existence of each other, physical appearance begins to play a role in the attraction. A combination of architectural features and…


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