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Most people like the smell of oranges. You might say that the distribution of reactions to the smell of oranges leans to the right.

Most people dislike the smell of sewage. You might say that the distribution of reactions to sewage leans to the left.

It's more uncommon to come across examples of things which produce bimodal reactions (i.e., "you either love it or you hate it"). The appreciation of raw oysters, Marmite, durian, or strong-smelling cheeses might be examples.

However, it seems that when it comes to reactions to other people, bimodal seems to be the norm rather than the exception. A mere glance at the political news turns up a few divisive personalities. People who support them really support them, and people who hate them really hate them.

But it's not just famous and outsized celebrity personalities. Your neighbor Shirley might seem nice enough, but I'm sure you can find people in the world who really dislike her. Rick at the office might be difficult and challenging to you, but there are people who love him dearly and see nothing but an angel.

We can speculate about all kinds of causative mechanisms, but right now, I'm just wondering if such a thing has been observed. Are humans always split when evaluating the personality of another human?

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  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to Psychology.SE. You have the makings of an interesting question, but... the question as it stands would seem to me to lead to an opinion based answer. I for example have heard that New York City produces bimodal reactions when applying your definition. You either love New York or you hate it. Personal viewpoints are just that. They could be based on known facts or they could be based on an element of "gut feeling". As for political opinions, I have also heard people who neither hate or love certain politicians. It's a mixed bag all round $\endgroup$ – Chris Rogers Jan 25 at 0:14
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris Rogers — Yeah, anyone can find an anecdotal example anywhere along the x-axis, even in the thin tails. There's probably someone out there who likes the smell of sewage and hates the smell of oranges. That's why we need to see a full statistical distribution! If it turns out to be bimodal, then there is some interesting, underlying systematic cause. Bimodal distributions don't just happen... $\endgroup$ – SlowMagic Jan 26 at 15:16

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