This assignment will require you to develop a plan for your second major assignment in
this course – the essay. You will need to select one essay topic from the list below, analyse it
in terms of its key components, locate and read at least five relevant journal articles and
then prepare an essay synopsis (essay plan). This plan will indicate how you will address
the topic and what resources and information you will need to locate to address the topic.
This assessment assesses Graduate Qualities 2 (lifelong learning), 3 (effective problem
solver), and 6 (communicates effectively).
Choose ONE of the five topics listed below. This is the topic you will also be writing your
Essay (Assessment 2) on, so make sure you think carefully before making your decision.
- Describe the trait theory of personality. Select one “factor” or “trait” from a prominent
trait theory and discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of someone who strongly
exhibits this trait.
- Jean Piaget proposed a step-wise sequence of mental development during childhood.
Provide an overview of Piaget’s core ideas, discussing the evidence for and against these
- Discuss the factors that affect the likelihood that people will engage in prosocial
behaviour. What is the evidence for these effects, and how might changes in our society
affect the likelihood of people acting pro-socially?
- Describe the main social factors that influence attraction between people. Select one of
these factors and describe the empirical support for its influence.
- Select a psychological disorder that features in the current version of the Diagnostic and
Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Describe this disorder, providing evidence for the
major contributing factors to the onset of the disorder.
Question 4: Describe the main social factors that influence attraction between people. Select one
of these factors and describe the empirical support for its influence
The main social factors that influence attraction between people include; people’s
perception of their own attractiveness, beauty, similarity and reciprocity. The perception of a
people about their attractiveness is also referred to as self esteem (Brown, 2014). Beauty is a
contributor to attraction between people. This quality of people makes them feel the ease and
urge to meet and socialize on many levels (McGinley, et al., 2015). This is why it is important to
have such proximity between people who are attracted to one another (Brown, 2014).
Beauty is defined as the experience of pleasure or satisfaction based on perception. That
is why beauty can only be seen and not felt (Weidenfeld & Leask, 2013). What people see as
beautiful is often a creation of their social setting. It is a form of influence that ends up making
the person to feel that what they see as beautiful is not as beautiful or appealing as they suppose.
Beauty is thus a form of influence that is borne out of what the society considers to be appealing
or not. Beauty is however the greatest contributor to perceptions about attraction (Launay &
Dunbar, 2015). Where there is attraction, beauty is often a factor that is critical and central to the
Beauty is about the traits that make one seem to have a beautiful character and to some
extent, beautiful build and look. It applies to both persons of the male and those of the female
gender (Talamas, Mavor & Perrett, 2016). Despite the variations in perception across various
cultures, beauty remains to be one of the most influential factors in establishing attraction
between people. In such a case, beauty becomes defined by the intrinsic features that a person
possesses and not their outward appearances (Launay & Dunbar, 2015).
There are various stereotypes that are related to beauty. Most people tend to think that
people naturally get attracted to those individuals whom they have certain common features with
(McGinley, et al., 2015). This stereotyping concept involves both men and female, and in this
example, the proponents of this belief argue that the existing high number of integration,
interaction, marriage, and business establishments between people of the same ethnicity proves
that people get attracted to others whom they share certain common (Brown, 2014). In other
words, one does not need to be beautiful or to possess certain features for them to be loved by
There are two major forms of beauty that are in existent at the moment. These are;
augmented beauty and natural beauty. Whereas naturally beauty is acquired naturally and one
may possess it from the time they are born, augmented beauty is acquired artificially (Diessner,
et.al, 2012). To acquire augmented beauty, a person uses various artificial beauty products and
solutions to enhance their appearance by becoming more beautiful than they were previously
(Launay & Dunbar, 2015). Even though both these two types of beauty make one attractive,
there are various concerns about the longevity of augmented beauty.
Vacker & Key (2013) argue that beauty only causes short-term attraction. Similarity in
people’s perception of beauty is really what matters. It is the views they hold about beautiful
place, beautiful hoses, activities and people that male them attracted to one another for long
(Vacker & Key, 2013). Similarity is the state of resemblance between entities. (Mitteness, et al.,
2016). When people share similar feelings, they have a likeness for same places, beliefs, tangible
things and approaches to life (Mitteness, et al., 2016). Similarity is one aspect that traverses all
other concepts in attraction because there is a significant relationship between the concept of
beauty, perception of attractiveness and reciprocity on similarity. Each concept requires that
there be another person sharing a similar opinion as another before a bond can be established
(Brown, 2014). This unites the people on a common ideology or belief.
The importance of being beautiful creates the need for one to put in effort so as to
become beautiful (Talamas, Mavor, &Perrett, 2016). This is because, without beauty, a person
may not be attractive to others. As a result, they may end up feeling dejected and living a lonely
life. Since human beings are social species, it is wise to put in effort to enhance beauty so as to
live a comfortable and soothing life with many admirers as compared to living unfulfilling life as
a result of lowbeauty levels (Weidenfeld & Leask, 2013). Therefore, as Englis, Solomon and
Ashmore (2014) argue, that it is more sensible to put in effort so as to improve a person’s beauty
as compared to leaving it the way it is and undergoing a tough social life.
Many people consider the feeling of attraction to be related to the symmetrical shape of
the person, shape or thing. Many people are attracted to beauty and not value. There is thus the
general feeling that most human beings will often proverbially ‘read a book by its cover.’ This is
a concern among persons who mask their attractive qualities by not being very outgoing and
expressive about their characters.
Brown, J. D. (2014). Self-esteem and self-evaluation: Feeling believes. Psychological
perspectives on the self, 4, 27-58.
Diessner, R., Solom, R. C., Frost, N. K., Parsons, L., & Davidson, J. (2012).Engagement with
beauty: Appreciating natural, artistic, and moral beauty.The Journal of Psychology,
The cultural encoding of beauty types in magazine advertising and music
television.Journal of Advertising, 23(2), 49.
Most to New People?. Plos ONE, 10(6), 1-17
McGinley, S., Zhang, L., Mattila, A., & O’Neill, J. (2015). Attraction to Hospitality Companies:
How Processing Fluency Moderates Value Fit. Journal Of Human Resources In
Hospitality & Tourism, 14(1), 25-44.
Mitteness, C. R., DeJordy, R., Ahuja, M. K., &Sudek, R. (2016). Extending the Role of
Similarity Attraction in Friendship and Advice Networks in Angel
Groups. Entrepreneurship: Theory & Practice, 40(3), 627-655.
Talamas, S. N., Mavor, K. I., &Perrett, D. I. (2016). Blinded by Beauty: Attractiveness Bias and
Accurate Perceptions of Academic Performance. Plos ONE, 11(2), 1-
Vacker, B., & Key, W. R. (2013). Beauty and the beholder: The pursuit of beauty through
commodities.Psychology & Marketing (1986-1998), 10(6), 471.
Weidenfeld, A., &Leask, A. (2013). Exploring the relationship between visitor attractions and
events: definitions and management factors. Current Issues In Tourism, 16(6), 552-569.