What is this?

This is the blog for the Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast, a monthly science show that covers the most interesting and cutting edge research on the psychology of attraction and relationships.

The podcast is produced by Dr. Rob Burriss, a research fellow at Northumbria University in Newcastle, UK.

If you prefer to read rather than listen, you can find a text version of the podcast here.

Sunday, 26 April 2009

May 2009: I'm ovulating - let's boogie!

How our feelings of attraction can be influenced by brain chemicals. Also, one night stand or long-term relationship: do the things we want from a partner change as we get older? We also discover how wearing sexy clothes makes our face more attractive. Plus, when is a woman most likely to agree to a dance or give out her phone number?

Download the MP3

Care to dance? New research by Nicolas Guéguen shows that women are more likely to agree to boogie with a man if they are near ovulation.

The articles covered in the show:

Theodoridou, A., Rowe, A. C., Penton-Voak, I. S., & Rogers, P. J. (2009). Oxytocin and social perception: oxytocin increases perceived facial trustworthiness and attractiveness. Hormones and Behavior. Read summary

Bleske-Rechek, A. L., Vanden-Heuvel, B., & Vander-Wyst, M. (2009). Age variation in mating strategies and mate preferences: beliefs versus reality. Evolutionary Psychology, 7(2), 179-205. Read article

Lõhmus, M., Sundström, L. F., & Björklund, M. (2009). Dress for success: human facial expressions are important signals of emotions. Annales Zoologici Fennici, 46(1), 75-80. Read article

Guéguen, N. (2009). Menstrual cycle phases and female receptivity to a courtship solicitation: an evaluation in a nightclub. Evolution and Human Behavior. Read summary

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

April 2009: Attractive avatars make you feel better-looking IRL

In the first episode of the Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast we find out why women who are breastfeeding prefer a man with a higher pitched voice. Also, is this the real life, or is this just fantasy? How the appearance of your avatar in your favourite online game can affect your behaviour, even when you return to the real world. Plus, can we ignore facial beauty? We take a look at new research that shows nothing attracts attention like, well, attractiveness.

Download the MP3


The characteristics of the avatar you pick in World of Warcraft might rub off on your real-world personality.

You can also hear examples of the voices Apicella and Feinberg used in their study in their data supplement.

The articles covered in the show:

Apicella, C. L. & Feinberg, D. R. 2009 Voice pitch alters mate-choice-relevant perception in hunter-gatherers. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences 276, 1077-1082. Read summary

Yee, N., Bailenson, J. N. & Ducheneaut, N. 2009 The Proteus effect: implications of transformed digital self-representation on online and offline behavior. Communication Research 36, 285-312. Read summary

Sui, J. & Liu, C. H. 2009 Can beauty be ignored? Effects of facial attractiveness on covert attention. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review 16, 276-81. Read summary

Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast

This is the blog for the Psychology of Attractiveness Podcast, a brand new science podcast that highlights the most interesting and cutting edge findings from the field of attractiveness psychology. Every month I'll unmask the science of beauty, covering all aspects of human attractiveness, from faces and bodies to personality and behaviour, and examine how these traits can impact upon our feelings of jealousy, lust and love.

As well as posting the episode MP3s, I'll also provide links to the studies covered in the show so you can follow up the research after you're done listening. If you'd like to get in touch, please feel free to leave a comment on the blog or email podcast [at-sign] robertburriss.com