Tanja M Gerlach and S K Reinhard (2018)

Personality and romantic attraction

In: Encyclopedia of Personality and Individual Differences, ed. by V. Zeigler-Hill & T. Shackelford (Eds.). Springer, New York.

Romantic attraction is a complex and multifaceted construct. It refers to positive reactions toward a potential romantic partner, usually at initial or early-stage encounters in which no close relationship has been stablished yet. Positive reactions toward a potential partner may include positive thoughts and beliefs (cognitive component), positive feelings and emotions (affective component), a desire to approach the other (motivational component), and also behavioral reactions, such as standing or sitting closer (behavioral component; Wurst and Back 2018). As romantic attraction may motivate further contact with a potential partner, t can constitute a basis on which new romantic relationships form. Thus, choices such as expressing interest in seeing a potential partner again in dating contexts like speed or online dating can be viewed as indicators of romantic interest. Such initial choices should, however, be clearly distinguished from actual partner choice, i.e., opting for a specific individual to pursue and build a romantic relationship.