A psychological phenomenon whereby people feel a preference for people or things simply because they are familiar. Also known as the exposure effect and the familiarity principle. This is interesting because it has no basis in logic. Just because we see a stranger occasionally does not make them any more trustworthy…we just feel like they are because we “know” them.
Example: Even if he has never met either of them, a person is more likely to feel an affinity with someone he passes on his street occasionally than for a complete stranger.
Here is a fascinating exercise where you can see this effect demonstrated first hand with yourself as the test subject! http://http-server.carleton.ca/~warrent/2100/exposure%20effect.html
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jul 2010