Why Other People Find Us (Un)Likeable

“I like this guy!” Similar expressions are used by everybody, even though we might not fully understand their meaning. Since childhood we associate likeability with pleasant encounters and positive situations. It entails understanding, attraction, affinity, agreeability; more than a mere emotion, likeability is an attribute that facilitates social relations. But what is it really? Why do we define people as likeable even when we are fully aware of their many shortcomings? Is there a neurological basis that explains the brain mechanisms underlying (un)likeability? Why is likeability necessary for people being together?

Andrea Stracciari formerly worked as head neurologist at the Sant’Orsola-Malpighi University Polyclinic in Bologna and taught Neurology and Behaviour at the University of Bologna.