Why do we like familiarity



  • 1 Familiar things make us feel safe

    Familiar things make us feel safe since we assume that we are less likely to get harmed by them.

  • 2 Familiar things help humans survive

    According to evolutionary psychologists, the preference of familiarity helps people survive because the fact that they survived the exposure to a certain object makes it more likely that they will survive it again.

  • 3 Fear of the unknown

    Many people prefer to stick to what they know, even if it's not that good, than to take the risk of exploring something new. The fear of the unknown is one of the reasons why we like familiar things.

  • 4 More exposure effect

    The more exposure effect is a theory that says that things and people become more likable when we get exposed to them for some time.

  • 5 Easier for the brain to process

    In other theory, it's suggested that familiar things put less load on the brain as they are easier for the brain to process. The ease of processing gives us a pleasant feeling when we encounter those things. (See also Why do we find symmetrical faces attractive)

  • 6 We feel more relaxed and at ease

    When we get exposed to familiar things we feel more relaxed because we can easily expect the behavior of those things. Uncertainty can lead to tension.

  • 7 Familiar things might be associated with good memories

    A person who is used to eating a certain kind of food might have associated this food with good emotions. In such a case, this person might fear taking the risk of trying something new as it might taste bad.

  • 8 Because of our egos

    According to one theory, people get attracted to those who are like them because they do like themselves. Our egos can make us think that people who are like us are good.

  • 9 We prefer the shorter path

    Humans are lazy by nature and they usually pick the short path over the long one. Familiar things can seem like a short cut since we won't have to learn anything new to use them (See also why we want everything fast). 

  • 10 Decision making might not be easy

    The decision making process is considered unpleasant for many people, which is one reason why some people prefer to go for whatever is familiar instead of going through the pain of making a decision.

  • 11 To avoid regret

    Some people prefer familiar things because they help them avoid regret. By choosing something that they are already familiar with those people can avoid making a bad decision.