Loyola University Chicago

Department of Psychology


Natalie Hallinger

Training Track: Applied Social
Lab: Self and Social Interaction Lab  
Advisor: Tracy DeHart, Ph.D. 
Office: Coffey Hall LL22
Webpage: LinkedIn


I investigate intrinsic motivation and decision-making processes. My research looks at how the ideal self (the best version of yourself that you'd like to be) influences interpersonal attraction, relationships, and other generalized choices. 

Masters Thesis Title

The Influence of Ideal Similarity on the Relation Between Self-discrepancy and Attraction 

Masters Thesis Abstract

Some research indicates that individuals with high self-discrepancy (distance between the actual self and the ideal self) are more prone to interpersonal attraction than those with low self-discrepancy and that perceived ideal similarity (how closely a target individual resembles your own ideal self) strongly influences attraction. To test the hypothesis that ideal similarity moderates the relationship between self-discrepancy and attraction, manufactured Facebook profiles were used to manipulate perceived ideal similarity of target before having participants rate the target on measures of liking and respect. This study surveyed 232 college students; 111 from a mid-sized, private Midwestern university and 121 from other US universities recruited through Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (M-Turk). The experimental manipulation of ideal similarity was marginally significant for the private university sample, but was not significant for the M-Turk sample. Despite controlling for sample source, the main regression analysis of the effect of ideal similarity on the influence of self-discrepancy on ratings of liking and respect was not significant either. However, post-hoc regression analyses revealed that though self-discrepancy did not appear to directly influence liking or respect, ideal similarity did have a significant, positive influence on both liking and respect. 

Masters Thesis Committee

Tracy DeHart, Victor Ottati, and R. Scott Tindale