Interpersonal attraction and descriptions of the traits of others: Ideal similarity, self similarity, and liking


Journal Article

In two studies, we examined the relationship between perceptions of self similarity, ideal similarity, and liking. In Study 1, a nonexperimental study, we asked subjects for self descriptions, ideal descriptions, and descriptions of a number of liked and not liked peers and used the descriptions to construct indices of self similarity and ideal similarity. We then analyzed the two sorts of similarity as indicators of liking. In particular, we developed measures to assess independently the effects of self similarity and ideal similarity. We found both self and ideal to be indicators of attraction though ideal similarity was a stronger indicator. In addition, we found self-similarity to indicate liking only when self descriptions were close to ideal descriptions. Ideal similarity indicated liking in all cases. In Study 2 we manipulated liking between previously unacquainted female conversation partners and obtained self, ideal, and partner descriptions and constructed similarity indices. The results confirmed those of Study 1. Differences in liking led to larger differences in ideal similarity than in self similarity. Self similarity differences did not appear when self and ideal were different, while ideal similarity differences appeared in all cases. We concluded that the relationship between self similarity and liking is weaker than, and dependent on, the relationship between ideal similarity and liking. We also concluded that when the results of these studies are linked with existing research, the similarity-liking relationship proves to be reciprocal, with similarity predicting liking, accompanying liking, and following liking. Finally we noted that all results are supportive of a consistency interpretation of the relationship between similarity and liking. © 1990.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • LaPrelle, J; Hoyle, RH; Insko, CA; Bernthal, P

Published Date

  • January 1, 1990

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 24 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 216 - 240

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1095-7251

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0092-6566

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0092-6566(90)90018-2

Citation Source

  • Scopus