Interpersonal attraction in aversive environments: A problem for the classical conditioning paradigm?

Douglas Kenrick, Gregory A. Johnson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Several studies have found decreased attraction for a stranger rated under aversive conditions, and these studies have been used to support a model that views attraction as a function of generalization of affect. A number of studies, however, have failed to support such a model, not only failing to show decreases in attraction as a function of negative circumstances but often showing the reverse, that is, enhanced attraction under aversive conditions. It is suggested that studies that have supported the affective generalization model may be limited in ecological validity as a function of their use of a "simulated stranger" paradigm and that results from studies in which "real" strangers are rated can be understood within a negative reinforcement model. Original data from a study in which 60 undergraduate females rated both a fellow S and a bogus stranger under conditions of either aversive noise or low-level noise are presented to support such a resolution. (41 ref) (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2006 APA, all rights reserved).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)572-579
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jan 1 1979
Externally publishedYes


  • aversive conditions, interpersonal attraction in stranger ratings, female college students

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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