Interpersonal Communication Research: Advances through Meta-Analysis

By Mike Allen; Raymond W. Preiss et al. | Go to book overview

9
Similarity and Attraction
Kimo Ah Yun

Some posit that the most established and well-known finding in the interpersonal literature is that attitude similarity creates interpersonal attraction (Berscheid & Walster, 1983; Cappella &Palmer, 1990; De Wolfe & Jackson, 1984; Parks & Adelman, 1983). However, others contend that this belief is unfounded (Sunnafrank, 1992) and Bochner (1991) went so far as to pronounce the issue dead. Clearly, extreme differences exist in the perceived effect that attitude similarity has on interpersonal attraction.

Although several narrative accounts have explored the effect that attitude similarity has on interpersonal attraction (Byrne, 1969; Byrne, Clore, & Smeaton, 1986; Byrne & Griffitt, 1973; Simons, Berkowitz, & Mover, 1970), these summaries are limited to historical reviews of the progression of research in this area. As such, these accounts offer little assistance in determining the effect that attitude similarity has on interpersonal attraction.

In an effort to explore the differences in opinion with regard to the effect that attitude similarity has on interpersonal attraction, Communication Monographs invited scholars (Byrne, 1992; Sunnafrank, 1992) holding different views to discuss their ideas. Byrne (1992) maintained in his article that attitude similarity increases interpersonal attraction, whereas Sunnafrank (1992) countered in his article by arguing that the effect of attitude similarity on interpersonal attraction disappears in normal developing relationships. Unfortunately, these articles did little to bridge the gap in ideological differences. In fact, research on the relation between attitude similarity and interpersonal attraction continues without apparent resolve (Tan &Singh, 1995).

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