Featured Saturday, 1 June , 2019Short Link:
For years researchers have been studying what attracts people to each other, and their findings might improve your friend-making skills.
Ariana News Agency-
But sometimes you want to make an effort to befriend a new acquaintance or become a better friend to existing pals. Using tricks and techniques like mirroring, subliminal touching, smiling, and letting that other person talk about themselves can make you appear more likable.
We scoured the psychological research on the science of attraction to find strategies to get people to like you.
This strategy is called “mirroring” and it involves subtly mimicking the other person’s behavior. When talking to someone, try copying their body language, gestures, and facial expressions.
In 1999, New York University researchers documented the “chameleon effect,” which occurs when people unconsciously mimic each other’s behavior, and that mimicry facilitates liking.
Researchers had 78 men and women work on a task with a partner, who was really a confederate working for the researchers. The partners engaged in different levels of mimicry, while researchers secretly videotaped the interactions. At the end of the interaction, the researchers had participants indicate how much they liked those partners.
Sure enough, participants were more likely to say that they liked their partner when their partner had mimicked their behavior.
According to the “mere-exposure effect,” people tend to like things that are familiar to them.
Knowledge of this phenomenon dates back to the 1950s, when MIT researchers discovered that college students who lived closer together in housing projects were more likely to be friends than students who lived farther apart.
This could be because students who live close by can experience more passive, day-to-day interactions with each other, such as greeting each other in the common room or kitchen. Under certain circumstances, those interactions can develop into full-fledged friendships.
People will associate the adjectives you use to describe other people with your personality. This phenomenon is called “spontaneous trait transference.”
One study found that this effect occurred even when people knew certain traits didn’t describe the people who had talked about them.
“Whatever you say about other people influences how people see you,” says Gretchen Rubin, the author of “The Happiness Project.”
If you describe someone else as genuine and kind, people will also associate you with those qualities. The reverse is also true: If you are constantly trashing people behind their backs, your friends will start to associate the negative qualities with you as well.
“Emotional contagion” describes what happens when people are strongly influenced by the moods of other people. According to a research paper from the Ohio University and the University of Hawaii, people can unconsciously feel the emotions of those around them.
If you want to make others feel happy when they’re around you, do your best to communicate positive emotions.
The social-network theory behind this effect is called “triadic closure,” which means that two people are likely to be closer when they have a common friend.
To illustrate this effect, students at the University of British Columbia designed a program that friends people on Facebook at random. They found that people were more likely to accept their friend request as their number of mutual friends increased – from 20% with no mutual friends to close to 80% with more than 11 mutual friends.
The “gain-loss theory” of interpersonal attractiveness suggests that your positive comments will have more of an influence if you deliver them only occasionally.
Social psychologist Susan Fiske proposed the “stereotype content model,” a theory that people judge others based on their warmth and competence.
According to the model, if you can portray yourself as warm – noncompetitive and friendly – people will feel like they can trust you. If you seem competent – for example, if you have high economic or educational status – they’re more inclined to respect you.
Harvard psychologist Amy Cuddy says that, especially in business settings, it’s important to demonstrate warmth first and then competence.
“From an evolutionary perspective,” Cuddy writes in her book “Presence,” “it is more crucial to our survival to know whether a person deserves our trust.”
According to the “pratfall effect,” people will like you more after you make a mistake – but only if they believe you are usually a competent person. Revealing that you aren’t perfect makes you more relatable and vulnerable toward the people around you.
The researcher Elliot Aronson discovered this phenomenon when he studied how simple mistakes can affect perceived attraction. He asked male students from the University of Minnesota to listen to tape recordings of people taking a quiz.
When people did well on the quiz but spilled coffee at the end of the interview, the students rated them higher on likability than when they did well on the quiz and didn’t spill coffee or didn’t do well on the quiz and spilled coffee.
According to a classic study by Theodore Newcomb, people are more attracted to those who are similar to them. This is known as the “similarity-attraction effect.”
In his experiment, Newcomb measured his subjects’ attitudes on controversial topics, such as sex and politics, and then put them in a University of Michigan-owned house to live together.
By the end of their stay, the subjects liked their housemates more when they had similar attitudes about the topics that were measured.
If you’re hoping to get friendly with someone, try to find a point of similarity between you two and highlight it.
This is known as “subliminal touching,” which occurs when you touch a person so subtly that they barely notice. Common examples include tapping someone’s back or touching their arm, which can make them feel more warmly toward you.
In one study, nearly 100 undergraduate women looked at photos of another woman in one of four poses: smiling in an open-body position, smiling in a closed-body position, not smiling in an open-body position, or not smiling in a closed-body position.
Results suggested that the woman in the photo was liked most when she was smiling, regardless of her body position.
People want to be perceived in a way that aligns with their own beliefs about themselves. This phenomenon is described as the “self-verification theory.” We all seek confirmations of our views, positive or negative.
For a series of studies at Stanford University and the University of Arizona, participants with positive and negative perceptions of themselves were asked whether they wanted to interact with people who had positive or negative impressions of them.
The participants with positive self-views preferred people who thought highly of them, while those with negative self-views preferred critics. This could be because people like to interact with those who provide feedback consistent with their known identity.
Other research suggests that, when people’s beliefs about us line up with our own, our relationship with them flows more smoothly. That’s likely because we feel understood, which is an important component of intimacy.
“Self-disclosure” may be one of the best relationship-building techniques.
In a study led by Arthur Aron, at Stony Brook University, college students were paired off and told that they should spend 45 minutes getting to know each other better.
Experimenters provided some student pairs with a series of questions to ask, which got increasingly deep and personal. For example, one of the intermediate questions was “How do you feel about your relationship with your mother?” Other pairs were given small-talk-type questions. One question was “What is your favorite holiday? Why?”
At the end of the experiment, the students who’d asked increasingly personal questions reported feeling much closer to each other than students who’d engaged in small talk.
You can try this technique on your own as you’re getting to know someone. For example, you can build up from asking them about their last trip to the movies to learning about the people who mean the most to them in life. When you learn intimate information about another person, they are likely to feel closer to you and want to confide in you in the future.
According to the “Pygmalion effect,” people treat others in ways that are consistent with their expectations of them and therefore cause the person to behave in a way that confirms those expectations.
In a Harvard Magazine article, Cuddy says, “If you think someone’s a jerk, you’ll behave toward them in a way that elicits jerky behaviors.”
On the other hand, if you expect someone to be friendly toward you, they are more likely to behave in a friendly manner toward you.
Research from Illinois State University and California State University at Los Angeles found that, regardless of whether people were thinking about their ideal friend or romantic partner, having a sense of humor was really important.
Meanwhile, not having a sense of humor, especially at the office, could backfire. One study of 140 Chinese workers between 26 and 35 found that people were less well liked and less popular among their colleagues if they were “morally focused.”
That means they placed a high value on displaying caring, fairness, and other moral traits.
The researchers said that that was because morally focused people were perceived as less humorous by their colleagues.
Harvard researchers recently discovered that talking about yourself may be inherently rewarding, the same way that food, money, and sex are.
In one study, the researchers had participants sit in an fMRI machine and respond to questions about either their own opinions or someone else’s. Participants had been asked to bring a friend or family member to the experiment, who was sitting outside the fMRI machine.
In some cases, participants were told that their responses would be shared with the friend or relative; in other cases, their responses would be kept private.
Results showed that the brain regions associated with motivation and reward were most active when participants were sharing information publicly – but also when they were talking about themselves, even if no one was listening.
In other words, letting someone share a story or two about their life instead of blabbing on about yours could give them more positive memories of your interaction.