An Experiment on the Effect of First Impressions on Romantic Attraction

For short term relationships, and for initial attraction, physical attractiveness seems to be the main factor for women and men in judging attractiveness to a potential partner (Stambor, 2006). This supports the hypothesis that first impressions, whether manufactured or real, can have an effect on romantic attraction. Due to the fact that this experiment will focus on initial romantic attraction, the impact of the participant’s first impressions of the simulated profiles must also be acknowledged. Individuals’ first impressions of others seem to be reliable, yet inaccurate when dealing with trait judgments. This finding that individuals are aware of their first impressions and that they formulate impressions of personality is further supported, and informs the idea that participants will base their attraction off their first impressions in the form of the simulated profiles. Impression formation can affect attraction or a lack thereof, which supports the hypothesis that compatibility as an initial impression of an individual may affect participants’ attraction to that individual . Though initial impressions seem to affect individuals perceptions of others, this research is important to note in the formation of profiles for this research and analyzing the findings from this experiment. This experiment does not seek to manipulate attraction to the profiles, but rather the manipulate expectations of compatibility and measure, using a post-test survey, how this affects attraction. Therefore, research on attraction is useful in understanding how to measure the desired outcome, but not in the manipulation of the attraction itself. The survey questions present in Dingfelder’s study, will inform the post-test attraction survey questions to be used in this experiment, by including how attractive participants judge profiles to be, how pleasant they are to look at, and if participants were to meet the profiles face to face, how attractive they would judge them to be.

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