Assessing Familiarity and Attraction

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Assessing Familiarity and Attraction
Kayla Irwin and Daisy Antoniuk
PS 250
Alex Sanderson-MacIntyre
February 28, 2013

“Familiarity Does Indeed Promote Attraction in Live Interaction,” by Reis et al., explores the issue of whether familiarity breeds attraction within individuals in live interaction. The study’s purpose was to explore if familiarity did in fact promote liking in live interaction. This study was exploratory, as it sought to find, through two experiments, whether or not attraction increased with the amount of familiarity the participants had with one another. Prior literature reviewed was “Less is more: The lure of ambiguity, or why familiarity breeds contempt,” by Norton et al., (2007). This review explores why familiarity in social interaction promotes dislike among same-sex dyads. This study asked questions of why people who interact with obnoxious individuals tend to have a growing dislike for them, and the more familiar one becomes with a person the more irritation ensues. The literature review appears to be accurate, because people who were loud and obnoxious were more likely to be disliked by people who were interacting with them, and for the loathing to continue to grow over time. Important findings from Reis’ et al., (2011) article found the opposite conclusion to be true, that familiarity does promote attraction. Some omitted findings that could have been included in Reis’ et al., (2011) research was a study on opposite sex couples, whereas this study only focused on same-sex dyads. One of the studies found was by Kleck and Rubenstein (1975) “Physical attractiveness, perceived attitude similarity, and interpersonal attraction in an opposite-sex encounter.” They found that male participants seemed to remember their opposite sex partner better if they were physically attractive. The theoretical framework presented was the mere exposure effect. The mere exposure effect according to Myers, Spencer and Jordan is, “The tendency for novel stimuli to be liked more or rated more positively after the rater has been repeatedly exposed to them,” (pg. 544). It was appropriate for the research question that was addressed of whether familiarity with a person leads to an increase in liking. As the mere exposure effect and familiarity involve face-to-face situations and a repeat stimulus. The article also discussed mutual cyclical growth, which is a process in the development of trust. This study lived up to the guidelines for science, as two experiments were conducted both having a hypothesis being tested. Regarding the methodology of this study, it would be fairly simple to replicate, however opposite sex dyads that could have been studied. From our understanding, this research was done ethically without trade-offs to rigorous scientific practices, and there was no deception involved. For the first study, Reis et al., (2011) hypothesis states that, “ we propose that increasing familiarity in interactive relationships is a considerably more complex process, involving responsive interaction and affective experience, as well as other forms of interpersonal influence. For the second study, Reis et al., (2011) hypothesized, “that greater numbers of chats would be associated with greater attraction…this association would be mediated by perceived knowledge, responsiveness, and comfort/satisfaction as described earlier.” These hypotheses were adequately stated in terms of the mere exposure effect. In terms of prior research, these hypotheses were parallel. In the first study the independent variables were the controlled topics of conversation and the length of time participants had to answer questions. The dependent variable was what the participants would answer in their questionnaires and with whom they had conversations with. In the second study, the independent variable was that participants did not meet face-to-face, thus the factor of physical attractiveness was not involved. They were not allowed to...
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