The term attraction can refer to numerous interpersonal factors from liking to love, but it is most commonly used to indicate evaluative judgments of physical attractiveness. Although now prominently featured in journals of many disciplines, the scientific study of attraction is a relative newcomer to psychology. Since its beginnings, however, numerous perceptual cues have been identified that reliably affect perceptions of attractiveness. This entry reviews theoretical approaches to the study of attractiveness and then describes the visual, auditory, and olfactory cues that affect perceived attractiveness.

Theoretical Perspectives

Social Beginnings

The original and long-standing approach to the study of attractiveness was purely social. Classic studies examined the effects of physical proximity and interpersonal similarity to determine which factors affected interpersonal attractiveness and the consequences thereof. Two effects have emerged ...

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