This Is Why We Find People Similar To Us Attractive

It is no secret that we tend to like people similar to us, but why? The answer is more complex than it seems, and researchers have spent a long time trying to figure it out. Today, we’ll explore why we are attracted to people who look like us. How does this work exactly? Well, there are still several studies trying to figure this out but let’s start by identifying some key tips.

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Defining Similarity

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To understand the reason, we have to look at what similarity really is. Believing we have a lot in common with someone is known as perceived similarity, whereas actually having things in common with someone is called actual similarityand both of them are very important.

Mistaken Similarities

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Basically, everyone in the world has experienced this: you assume you’ll have a lot in common with someone you don’t know much about, only to learn you actually don’t. This is because mistakenly believing we have a lot in common with someone makes us more attracted to them. But how does this work?

Less is More

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Studies show that the less information we have about a person, the more actual similarity affects liking. For example, finding someone’s profile online and finding out you have a lot in common with them even though you’ve never talked greatly boosts liking.

First Impressions Are Vital

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When someone is attracted to a stranger, finding out they have common interests greatly increases their attraction because they have nothing else upon which to base their impression. The problem begins when people actually meet these strangers…


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When people actually meet the stranger they are attracted to, actual similarity affects liking much less than when people never meet the stranger. This is because people build an idea of what the stranger really is in their mind, which is usually comprised of mostly positive characteristics.

Research Findings

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Researchers have found several different reasons as to why similarity is so strongly related to liking someone. The first one is known as consensual validation.

Consensual Validation

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Consensual validation means that people who share our attitudes make us more confident in our own attitudes. For example, meeting someone who feels the same way about a specific type of music as you automatically makes them much more attractive.

Cognitive Evaluation

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This explanation states that, when we learn we have something in common with someone, we feel positive about them because we feel positive about ourselves. Sharing positive characteristics with someone boosts our idea of who they are.

The certainty of Being Liked

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It is very common for us to assume that someone who has a lot in common with us is more likely to like us, just as we like them for the same reason. But that doesn’t end there…

Having Fun

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Researchers also found a very simple explanation: hanging out with someone who has a lot in common with you tends to be a lot more fun! Sharing and enjoying your time together greatly boosts your attraction to that person, and in turn, having nothing in common makes having fun very difficult.

Self-Expansion Opportunity

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According to this theory, we gain new knowledge and experiences by spending time with someone who is similar to us. This doesn’t mean that we can’t get the same result by hanging out with dissimilar people, but having things in common makes the process much easier.

The Strongest Factors

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After analyzing all of these factors, researchers decided to put them to the test. They conducted a study where 174 undergrad students interacted with each other in pairs. Researchers gave them fake questionnaires about their partner’s interests, and the results were astounding.

The Results

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The bogus questionnaires were rigged to be either highly similar or dissimilar to their own answers. The results showed that people were more attracted to their partners when they believed they had a lot in common. Afterward, the participants met face to face, which revealed what factor was the most important one when liking someone…

Having Fun Beats All

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After the participants met face to face, their perceptions of similarity based on the real interaction wiped out any effects from the fake information, and the feelings of enjoyment were by far the strongest factor and overrode the effects of consensual validation and certainty of being liked.

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    24 - Argentina.

    She's a journalist and a website developer based in New York.

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