subliminal interpersonal attraction

A bit of a killer for notions of personal agency and/or sacred nature of love:

How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count the Js: Implicit Egotism and Interpersonal Attraction

Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2004, Vol. 87, No. 5, 665-683

John T. Jones, Brett W. Pelham, Mauricio Carvallo, Matthew C. Mirenberg

From the perspective of implicit egotism people should gravitate toward others who resemble them because similar others activate people’s positive, automatic associations about themselves. Four archival studies and 3 experiments supported this hypothesis. Studies 1?4 showed that people are disproportionately likely to marry others whose first or last names resemble their own. Studies 5?7 provided experimental support for implicit egotism. Participants were more attracted than usual to people (a) whose arbitrary experimental code numbers resembled their own birthday numbers, (b) whose surnames shared letters with their own surnames, and (c) whose jersey number had been paired, subliminally, with their own names. Discussion focuses on implications for implicit egotism, similarity, and interpersonal attraction.

4 replies on “subliminal interpersonal attraction”

Would be interesting to know the shape of the distribution. For example, maybe most people are influenced by implicit egoism, but some are not.

I assume there must be a distribution – but also i guess more people would argue that they are the kind that aren’t affected than is actually the case

Spooky. The vast majority of couples I know have *exactly* the same surname! Guess this explains it.
On a more serious note, I’d be interested to know whether the effect was stronger in men or women or neither…

Why Susie Sells Seashells by the Seashore

More attacks on the notion of deliberate agency. Again, emphasis in the abstract is mine. Looking at the data the effects are far larger than i expected them to be (but i expected them to be pretty small) Makes me wonder if my motives for liking Sheffi…

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