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Why Are We Attracted to People Who Resemble Us?

Opinion: What Makes Us Fall for People Like Ourselves?

Have you ever felt an instant connection with someone because you share the same interests, sense of humor or taste in food? According to a recent study, this phenomenon is called the similarity-attraction effect and it’s quite common. However, new research reveals that there’s more to this attraction than just having a few things in common.

The American Psychological Association’s Journal of Personality and Social Psychology published a study by Charles Chu, a Boston University professor, and Brian S. Lowery of Stanford Graduate School of Business. The study found that people who believe they have a deep inner core or “essence” that shapes who they are tend to assume that others who share one similar interest must also share their personality as a whole. Chu’s research suggests that this belief can often lead us to make unwarranted assumptions about people and restrict who we connect with.

Chu conducted four studies to understand what makes us attracted to certain people. In the first study, participants were asked about their views on specific topics, such as abortion and gun ownership. They then had to rate a fictional character, who either agreed or disagreed with them on that topic. The study found that participants who believed in an essential core tended to feel more connected to the character who shared their views.

In the second study, Chu looked at whether this effect persisted even with arbitrary, minimal similarities. Participants were asked to estimate the number of blue dots on a page, and then categorize themselves and the fictional character as over- or under-estimators. Again, the findings held that those who believed in an essential core felt closer to the character who shared their estimation ability.

Chu’s research suggests that we often fill in the blanks of others’ minds with our own sense of self, which can lead us to making incorrect assumptions about people.

Related Facts
– It’s not always the similarities that attract us to people, sometimes it’s the differences, as they offer a different perspective on life.
– People who are too similar to us can sometimes lead to conflicts as they compete for the same resources or try to validate themselves through the other person.
– People who have experienced trauma or difficult life events may seek out people who are not similar to them, as they want to break the cycle of the familiar and have a new experience.

Key Takeaway
While there’s nothing wrong with liking people who share similar interests, it’s important not to assume that one shared interest means the person is exactly like us. People are complex, and we should try to understand and appreciate them for who they are, not just what they like or dislike. It’s good to embrace our similarities, but also appreciate our differences.

The similarity-attraction effect is a common human phenomenon, but it’s not always based on accurate assumptions. Charles Chu’s research suggests that we often assume that people who share similar interests must share our personality as a whole, but this belief can be flawed. It’s important to be open-minded and not restrict ourselves to connecting with people who are similar to us. After all, life is more interesting when we embrace diversity.

Denk Liu
Denk Liu
Denk Liu is an honest person who always tells it like it is. He's also very objective, seeing the situation for what it is and not getting wrapped up in emotion. He's a regular guy - witty and smart but not pretentious. He loves playing video games and watching action movies in his free time.

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