The gain-loss theory of attraction is a psychological theory that explains how people’s liking or disliking for others changes over time. It was proposed by Elliot Aronson and Darwyn Linder in 1965.

According to this theory, people are more attracted to those who increase their liking over time than those who are consistently positive or negative. For example, if someone initially dislikes you but later likes you, you will like them more than if they always liked you. On the other hand, if someone initially likes you but later dislikes you, you will dislike them more than if they always disliked you.

The theory suggests that the change of opinion has more impact on attraction than the level of opinion. This is because the change of opinion creates a sense of uncertainty and curiosity, which makes the person more interesting and attractive. The change of opinion also implies that the person cares about you and values your feedback, which makes them more likable.

The gain-loss theory of attraction has been tested and supported by several experiments. For example, Aronson and Linder conducted a study where participants interacted with a confederate who expressed either positive, negative, or mixed opinions about them. The results showed that participants liked the confederate more when they switched from negative to positive opinions than when they were consistently positive. They also liked the confederate less when they switched from positive to negative opinions than when they were consistently negative.

The gain-loss theory of attraction can help us understand why some relationships become stronger or weaker over time. It can also help us improve our social skills by showing us how to increase our attractiveness by expressing genuine interest and appreciation for others.