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Discuss interpersonal attraction

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Discuss interpersonal attraction. Physical attractiveness often has the major influence on initial attraction. Walster et al carried out a blind date involving more than 50 students and found that the more physically attractive a person is, the more liked he/she is. These people tend to have similar features that are often widely agreed to be attractive. Feingold concluded it is due to the halo effect that people attribute positive stereotypical characteristics to physically attractive people and so more attracted to them, thus more likely to start relationship. He illustrated such claim by his research which found that over 70% of his participants agreed that physically attractive people are said to be sexually warmer, more sociable and skilled. ...read more.


Indeed, research has shown it's true. For example, Hunsberger found that students rated attractive teachers as nicer and happier than unattractive ones at the start of school term. Yet even more research suggests that the advantages gained not only to positive personal characteristics being judged but wider into issues like ability to deal with a task. For example, Landy found that the same essays that supposedly written by an attractive student are given a higher grade. These findings have shown the halo effect has led people to attribute positive characters and abilities to physically attractive people and thus support Feingold's findings. Therefore, a reliable application can be drawn: putting effort in looking more attractive in situations such as job interview can help to succeed. ...read more.


However, most of these studies into interpersonal attraction generally lack ecological validity because they are often artificial. For example research into physical attractiveness often requires participants to judge others on pictures (e.g. Cunningham's study). However in real life, we meet to see each other before we start relationships. Therefore these findings may not apply to real life. Also, clearly it has an enormous influence in judging to start a relationship or not when little other information is known. Interpersonal relationships are formed over time as people know each other better. But such process is not recorded down in these studies. So their findings may be limited to only reporting the superficial side of interpersonal attraction. Perhaps there should be more qualitative findings to explain the underlying reasons between individual's interpersonal attractions. ...read more.

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