Does Familiarity Shade Attractiveness?

According to Hogg and Cooper (2007), "what attracts one person to another is partly a function of socially shared norms, along with idiosyncratic preferences derived from people’s learning histories" (p. 220).  The attractiveness between people can change over time when familiarity increases.  People may become either more or less physically attractive as others get to know them better because such  familiarity allows people’s personalities being exposed.

An empirical study showed that “judgments of physical attractiveness of an opposite-sex individual can change after one learns about the personality of that individual” (Lewandowski, Aron, & Gee, 2007, p. 581).  After receiving desirable trait information about a person in relationship, one may find the person more physically attractive.  On the other hand, undesirable trait information can make a person less attractive. In a relationship of love and romance, “desirability of personality traits leads to greater desirability of the target as a friend, which then leads to greater desirability of the target as a dating partner, which then leads to the target being evaluated as more physically attractive” (Lewandowski, Aron, & Gee, 2007, p. 581). Therefore a person can become either more or less physically attractive if his  or her personality alters the desirability of the other person in relationship.


Hogg, M. A., & Cooper, J. (Eds.). (2007). The sage handbook of social psychology: Concise student edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Lewandowski, G. r., Aron, A., & Gee, J. (2007). Personality goes a long way: The malleability of opposite-sex physical attractiveness. Personal Relationships, 14(4), 571-585. doi:10.1111/j.1475-6811.2007.00172.x

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