A group of scientists from Boston University have discovered why people are attracted to one another. According to a report by SciTechDaily, the researchers found that having similar interests plays a significant role in human attraction.
Scientists have studied a phenomenon called the similarity-attraction effect, which states that we tend to like people who are similar to us and who share our interests which generally include our likes and dislikes.
Charles Chu who is an assistant professor at the BU Questrom School of Business, conducted a series of studies to understand the factors that determine whether we feel attracted to or repelled by each other.
The research revealed that one important factor in attraction is something psychologists call self-essentialist reasoning. This is when people imagine that they have a deep inner core or essence that shapes who they are.
When someone believes in this essence, they assume that others have a similar inner core. If they meet someone who shares one interest, they immediately feel a connection because they assume they have more in common, including a similar worldview.
“I found that both with pretty meaningful dimensions of similarity as well as with arbitrary, minimal similarities, people who are higher in their belief that they have an essence are more likely to be attracted to these similar others as opposed to dissimilar others,” said Chu.
“If we had to come up with an image of our sense of self, it would be this nugget, an almost magical core inside that emanates out and causes what we can see and observe about people and ourselves. We argue that believing people have an underlying essence allows us to assume or infer that when we see someone who shares a single characteristic, they must share my entire deeply rooted essence, as well.”
However, Chu’s research also suggests that relying solely on shared interests to connect with others may limit our options for partners. We might find ourselves disliking someone based on a few of their choices when in reality, they could be compatible with us in many other ways.
“We are all so complex,” Chu told SciTechDaily. “But we only have full insight into our own thoughts and feelings, and the minds of others are often a mystery to us. What this work suggests is that we often fill in the blanks of others’ minds with our own sense of self and that can sometimes lead us into some unwarranted assumptions.”