Similarity Versus Complementarity: Know Thyself

It is a basic fact of life that people feel most comfortable with, and tend to like, others who are similar to themselves in various ways.1 In fact, a very large body of evidence points to two intriguing conclusions regarding the appeal of similarity: (a) almost any kind of similarity will do—similarity with respect to attitudes and values, demographic factors (e.g., age, gender, occupation, or ethnic background), shared interests—almost anything; and (b) such effects are both general and strong. For example, similarity has been found to influence the outcome of employment interviews and performance ratings: In general, the more similar job applicants are to the people who interview them, the more ...

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