CHANGE, SIMILARITY, AND SELECTIVITY: THE IMPACT OF ATTITUDE ALIGNMENT ON ATTRACTION

Publication Year:
2014
Usage 45
Abstract Views 45
Repository URL:
https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/etd/584
Author(s):
Reid, Chelsea
Tags:
attitude alignment; attraction; attitude similarity; selectivity; Psychology; Social and Behavioral Sciences
thesis / dissertation description
Would you like a stranger more who shifts his/her attitudes to more closely align with yours? How would you feel if he/she aligned with everyone as opposed to just you? In Experiment 1, participants discussed with a partner disagreed upon social issues and received false feedback about whether the partner engaged in attitude alignment (shifted his/her attitude toward the participant’s attitude) following discussion. Participants also received false feedback about proportion of similarity (25%, 50%, or 75%) to the partner. Participants reported greater attraction toward partners who engaged in attitude alignment and who were more similar. However, similarity only predicted attraction in the absence of attitude alignment. Additionally, partner attitude alignment led to participant attitude alignment, and perceived reasoning ability marginally mediated the attitude alignment-attraction relationship. Similar to Experiment 1, participants in Experiment 2 received attitude alignment feedback, but they also received feedback about whether the partner engaged in attitude alignment with no others besides the participant (selective) or with many others besides the participant (unselective). Participants reported greater attraction toward partners who engaged in attitude alignment with them regardless of the partners’ attitude alignment with others. Perceived reasoning ability again mediated the attitude alignment-attraction relationship, and appeared to be more important in explaining this relation than cognitive evaluation or inferred attraction. Finally, participants reported greater trust and respect for partners who engaged in attitude alignment, but were no more willing to help those partners. This work extends our understanding of attitude alignment and its potential to affect interpersonal relationships, and it considers the influence of judgments about individuals outside of the dyad (i.e., alignment with others relative to alignment with the self).