What Is Interpersonal Attraction in Social Psychology?


Vincent White

Interpersonal attraction is a term used in social psychology to describe the force that draws people towards each other. It is an integral part of human relationships and interactions, and it influences the way we communicate, form bonds, and build trust with others. In this article, we will explore the concept of interpersonal attraction and its various dimensions.

Physical Attraction

One of the most common forms of interpersonal attraction is physical attraction. People are often drawn to others based on their appearance, which includes features like height, weight, facial symmetry, and overall attractiveness. This type of attraction is not just limited to romantic relationships but also plays a crucial role in friendships and social interactions.

The Halo Effect

The halo effect is a cognitive bias that affects our perception of people based on their physical appearance. It refers to the tendency to judge individuals who are physically attractive as more intelligent, competent, trustworthy, and likable than those who are less attractive. This bias can influence our initial impressions of someone and can even impact our decision-making processes.


Another important dimension of interpersonal attraction is similarity. People tend to be attracted to others who share similar attitudes, values, beliefs, interests, and backgrounds. Research has shown that similarity can lead to greater rapport between individuals and can increase the likelihood of forming long-lasting relationships.

The Mere Exposure Effect

The mere exposure effect refers to the phenomenon where people tend to develop a preference for things simply because they are familiar with them. In terms of interpersonal attraction, this means that we may be more likely to form bonds with individuals whom we encounter frequently or have had repeated positive interactions with.


Reciprocity is another crucial factor in interpersonal attraction. It refers to the idea that people tend to like those who express liking towards them or reciprocate their behavior. This can be seen in situations where individuals are more likely to form positive relationships with those who show them kindness, support, and validation.

The Social Exchange Theory

The social exchange theory suggests that people are motivated by self-interest in their interactions with others. According to this theory, individuals engage in relationships that offer them benefits and minimize costs. Reciprocity plays a significant role in this process, as people are more likely to engage in relationships where the benefits outweigh the costs.


Interpersonal attraction is a complex and multifaceted concept that influences our relationships and interactions with others. Physical attraction, similarity, and reciprocity are just some of the dimensions that contribute to this phenomenon. By understanding the various factors that influence interpersonal attraction, we can enhance our communication skills, build stronger connections with others, and improve the quality of our relationships.