Can you like someone for no reason? Possibly, but that’s probably not the case. Whether we’re aware of it or not, there are psychological reasons as to why we find someone outstandingly attractive. “The Reward Theory of Attraction” provides us with insight into some of these reasons.
This theory in a nutshell, is based on generosity, proximity, appearance, similar viewpoints and reciprocity. A little hard to understand? Don’t worry, we’ll break it down for you!
1. We like people that reward us by giving us something we value and expecting little in return.
For instance, if someone we like walks past us and gives us a smile and a slight nod of their head, we brighten up almost instantly. We have been “rewarded” with acknowledgement and all we have to do is smile in return. It’s positive reinforcement that we have done something right, and should continue onward.
2. We like people that reward us with convenience, by being geographically close to us.
We are aware that it will cost us less time, money and effort to like someone in our neighbourhood or workplace, compared to someone who lives halfway across the world. Sure, long distance relationships are very much possible, but as humans, we desire instant gratification. At the end of the day, it is much more likely we will get together with someone easily accessible to us compared to a foreign lover in a faraway land.
3. We like people that reward us with something to look at.
We know this sounds shallow, and looks are incredibly subjective, but that doesn’t deny the fact that they play a part in determining who we are attracted to. They may not be Chris Evans or George Clooney, but we may be drawn to the way they dress or their mannerisms because we presume that they possess other desirable traits that we may benefit from. It’s not just about how nice their face is, it’s about how they present themselves.
4. We like people who reward us with common attitudes and beliefs.
This can be done by sharing the same opinions on both serious and whimsical topics. We perceive that by having similar or complementary perspectives, that there is a bond and a mutual attraction. Even if they do have opinions that contrast ours, we will grow fonder of them if we are able to convince them to see from our point of view.
5. We like people who reward us with themselves.
We like to be liked so we like those that like us. Plain and simple. If someone likes us, we tend to have positive feelings about them (because clearly they have great tastes in people haha).
Therefore, the more we feel rewarded with these five aspects, the more we like someone. If we believe that the rewards of being together with this person outweigh the costs by a great margin, we better prepare ourselves… We’re on our way towards developing some serious feelings!