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Table of Contents: Beauty, Evolution, Psychology, and Science

Physical Beauty Involves More than Good Looks Studies have concentrated on the perception of physical beauty. Three recent studies by university researchers suggest that perception of physical attractiveness can be affected by our knowledge of a person's qualities.

Melanie Klein: Beauty and Envy Linda Robbins: Many different reasons have been put forward as to why there is such an obsessive preoccupation with beauty in modern cultures. Most focus on social factors such as male domination of women or competition between women. This article outlines some possible individual unconscious factors. Melanie Klein was a psychoanalyst who thought that the obsessive preoccupation some women have with beauty has its origins in earliest infancy and a little girl's envious relationship to the beauty of her own mother.

Botticelli, The Birth of VenusThe Psychoanalytic Conception of Beauty Donald Kuspit: This interesting article outlines a psychoanalytic theory of aesthetics, exploring the relationship between beauty and ugliness, with reference to Botticelli, Titian, Rubens, Goya, and Picasso as well as 20th century psychoanalysts such as Freud, Klein, Segal, Meltzer, Rickman and others. Though a bit difficult you will find it well worth the effort.

Neurological Basis for Romantic Love No one would question that beauty and romantic love, while different, have a profound relationship with one another. Romantic love can certainly turn the average into 'the most beautiful in the world.' Neuroscientists are now beginning to find out what the chemical correlates of romantic love are and what sectors of the brain are involved.

Beauty, Fashion and the Coolidge Effect Understanding the 'Coolidge Effect' can help to make sense of the desire for "newness" and "uniqueness" in fashion.

Form and Symmetry Christy Turlington credits the symmetry of her lips for much of her success. Proportion and symmetry in an object seem to be nearly always essential to our visual perception and experience of that object as being beautiful.

Beauty and Imitation: The Theory of Rene Girard Kasey West: Rene Girard's theory of mimetic desire offers some useful insights into the psychological power of beauty in culture.

Theory of Beauty Beauty has a simple biological purpose and that is to attract for purposes of sex. The biological purpose of sex is not fun but reproduction.

Modern Standards of Beauty: Nature or Nurture? An Evolutionary Perspective Jennifer Goehring: In modern America for the sake of an arbitrary standard of beauty we still witness an alarming rate of anorexia and bulimia. From Evolution's Voyage

The Science of Attraction Rob Elder:Poets have swooned over it since the invention of the written word. From Hybrid Vigor of Emory University

Art and Sexual Selection Denis Dutton: Lovers of evolutionary psychology have marveled in the last few years on the capacity of this discipline to throw new light on aspects of human life. From The John Hopkins University Press recommends the following books from


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Awakening BeautyAnthony Napoleon, the author of Awakening Beauty: An Illustrated Look at Mankind's Love and Hatred of Beauty, is a psychologist who has spent many years studying beauty and its impact upon both individuals and society. He has worked with both cosmetic surgery patients and beauty pageant contestants as well as conducting original research into the field. Awakening Beauty is an unprecedented exposé on the subject of beauty. It is both entertaining and thought provoking, a combination that is as unique as it is telling about the author's approach to the subject of this book. The reader is taken backstage into the worlds of beauty pageants, plastic surgery, trophy wives, murderous rage, wardrobe, makeup, Bill Clinton, the events of September Eleven and other provocative topics where beauty has had its effect. Awakening Beauty invites the reader into a world that is as interesting as it is frightening. Readers are transformed as the author shepherds them from their world into his unique perspective and expertise on beauty. Awakening Beauty includes over one hundred tantalizing photographs and illustrations. Awakening Beauty is a compendium of some of the most interesting facts in print. The subject matter of the book along with the author's unique approach to it makes this book a "must read." Get ready to re-think everything you thought you knew about beautiful women and physical attractiveness.

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