Social Psychology is a sub-branch of Psychology which investigates the relationship between people and the factors that affect these relationships. According to Social Psychology, one of the factors of attraction is “Proximity Effect”. Proximity Effect is related to the time that people spend together. A lot of research found out that there is a positive correlation between the amount of time spent together and the attraction between people. For example, students who sit next to each other are more likely to become friends in a class. We can see the power of physical proximity in our relationships as well. Another research found a similar result: Festinger, Schachter, and Back (1950) made a research about the students who study in university and stay in a dormitory at the same time. They realized that the students whose rooms are next to each other are more likely become friends than students whose rooms are on different floors. The continuation and prevalence of this proximity revealed “The Mere Exposure Effect” in the research field.
The Mere Exposure Effect is simply a psychological phenomenon whereby people feel a preference for people or things simply because they are familiar. For example, babies smile at the people who smile at them more.
In another research, Pew (2006) indicates that 38% of people who are married or have a long-term relationship become acquainted with each other in the same job, school, sports center or church. According to this research, the attraction between people increases with the increase in encounters between them. Therefore, we can see the importance of Mere Exposure Effect in the decisions of people.
One of the most powerful explanations of this effect is the evolutionary perspective. The evolutionary perspective claims that the preferences of people towards objects and conditions depend on the familiarity. With all these examples and explanations we can say that Proximity Effect and The Mere Exposure Effect have an influence on the preference of people towards people, objects, and conditions. As a consequence of this influence, Neuromarketing research about products and consumers bring a new perspective to the research field of Proximity and The Mere Exposure Effect.
Author: Sevim EYÜPOĞLU