October 26, 2005
The Initial Attraction
Relationships with the individuals around us are crucial to ones social existence. Personal accounts by people who have been isolated from the outside world serve as a reminder of our dependence on others. What draws us into these "relationships?" Studies of interpersonal attraction have concluded that people are attracted mostly to those that they find physically attractive and who are geographically close. To understand why we are attracted to certain individuals we must first understand an individual's person perception or the process of forming impressions of others. First impressions often help us to determine whether we are attracted to another individual. Our first impressions of an individual have a great impact on our perception of that person, even though we encounter that person for only a brief period of time. When we perceive a person we account for both the positive and negative characteristics of that individual. Although most people seem to be interested in another individual's positive characteristics, the negative information is usually weighed so heavily that it overrules all the positive information about that person. What makes another person attractive? Researchers have identified five factors that are important in determining whether we are likely to find another person attractive. These factors are physical attractiveness, proximity, competence, mutual attraction or The Initial Attraction 3 liking, similarity or complementarity of interest and beliefs. Physical attractiveness is the most important factor in the early stages of relationships therefore; people are generally more likely to interact with people who they find physically attractive. As Krebs and Adinolfi once stated (1975) "there is a growing body of evidence which shows...