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J Pers Soc Psychol. 2003 Oct;85(4):709-22.

Interpersonal attraction and personality: what is attractive--self similarity, ideal similarity, complementarity or attachment security?

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Department of Psychology, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.


Little is known about whether personality characteristics influence initial attraction. Because adult attachment differences influence a broad range of relationship processes, the authors examined their role in 3 experimental attraction studies. The authors tested four major attraction hypotheses--self similarity, ideal-self similarity, complementarity, and attachment security--and examined both actual and perceptual factors. Replicated analyses across samples, designs, and manipulations showed that actual security and self similarity predicted attraction. With regard to perceptual factors, ideal similarity, self similarity, and security all were significant predictors. Whereas perceptual ideal and self similarity had incremental predictive power, perceptual security's effects were subsumed by perceptual ideal similarity. Perceptual self similarity fully mediated actual attachment similarity effects, whereas ideal similarity was only a partial mediator.

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