Have you ever wondered what makes people attractive to each other? It’s a question that has puzzled scientists and researchers for years. But now, a team of scientists from Boston University may have found the key to unlocking the secrets of attraction.
Led by Charles Chu, an assistant professor of management and organizations at BU Questrom School of Business, the team conducted a series of studies to investigate the conditions that influence attraction and repulsion between individuals. Their research highlighted the significance of a phenomenon known as the similarity-attraction effect, which suggests that people tend to like others who share similar interests, likes, and dislikes.
One notable finding from the studies is the role of self-essentialist reasoning in attraction. Self-essentialist reasoning refers to the belief that individuals possess a deep inner core or essence that shapes their identity. The research showed that when someone perceives themselves to have an essence driving their interests, they assume the same is true for others. As a result, upon meeting someone with even one matching interest, they immediately feel a connection and assume they will have more in common, including a shared worldview.
Chu explained, “People who have a stronger belief in their own essence are more likely to be attracted to similar others, regardless of whether the similarities are significant or minimal.”
While this research provides valuable insights into the mechanisms of attraction, it also suggests that our inclination to connect with others based on a few shared interests may limit our options for potential partners. Chu warns that we may find ourselves disliking people due to a few choices they make, when in reality, they may be highly compatible with us in other ways.
The study emphasizes the complexity of individuals and the limitations of our understanding of others’ thoughts and emotions. Chu concludes that we often fill in the gaps of others’ minds with our own sense of self, leading to unwarranted assumptions.
The findings of this groundbreaking research were published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, a publication by the American Psychological Association.