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The University of Southampton

PSYC1014 Psychology of Attractiveness

Module Overview

In this unit, we explore possible answers to questions such as: What constitutes physical and interpersonal attractiveness? How many types of love are there? Where are the main sources of attraction? What difference does attractiveness make to people's lives? What triggers the start of romantic relationships? Why do people who once loved one another break up? Does evolution dictate the mating strategies that men and women adopt? No single theory can fully answer such questions. Nonetheless, different theories can provide partial or likely answers.

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Broadly survey a wide range of relevant theories crafted within a variety of more general perspectives (social, evolutionary, biological, cultural, intuitive, historical, philosophical)
  • Examine critically how well those theories hold up in the light of findings from scientific research.


Topics covered will include: The Need to Belong Introduction and Need to Belong Determinants of Attraction Evolution Physical Attractiveness Individual Differences in Attraction: Narcissism Midterm exam Cyberspace Romance Love Relationship Development and Maintenance Relationship Dissolution

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

The unit is primarily taught via weekly lectures. These lectures are partly interactive, and students are encouraged to comment on and discuss the material presented. From time to time, students are asked to complete a small homework assignment, to make lecture material real and concrete in their everyday lives.

Independent Study128
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Other. There is no core text for this unit. Instead, readings consist of a collection of journal articles and book chapters. Key readings, lecture slides, videos, announcements, forum boards are all made available on Blackboard.



MethodPercentage contribution
Class Exercise  ( words) 5%
Essay  ( words) 92.5%
Research Participation 2.5%


MethodPercentage contribution
Assessment 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

Linked modules

Pre-requisite: PSYC1016

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