Netherlands, Nijmegen

Psychology of Fashion and Beauty

when 1 August 2016 - 5 August 2016
language English
duration 1 week
credits 2 ECTS
fee EUR 490

Fashion, celebrity along with beauty are multibillion dollar industries, consequently an examination of the psycho-social processes at work in these areas presents itself as an innovative, exciting and relevant area for psychological investigation.

The aims of this course are to introduce how psychologists have sought to explain beauty and attractiveness, as well as body modification and adornment. This requires the student to understand basic face processing and the various theoretical approaches to beauty as well as up to date integrated theories. The aim is also to encourage you to engage with appearance in a wide sense including facial disfiguration and body issues, cosmetic surgery addiction or the use of the body as “art” and clothing (fashion). By the end of the course you will be expected to have an appreciation of the different types of explanations put forward for dress and adornment including tattooing and piercing, as well as the fashion cycle and how these practices and trends have moved from sub culture to main stream.

The course will consider the different approaches to and explanations for the fashion cycle and process and how this has been accounted for in psycho-social terms both historically and currently and will develop a familiarity with the concept of fashion and dress as non verbal communication and symbolic interaction. The marketing of fashion, and the motivations of the wearer- self worth, role adoption, and even luxury and fake goods purchase will be discussed. Impression management and the study of effects of appearance on others are examined in terms of the ‘beauty halo effect’, be it initial evaluations of strangers or even in a legal setting. Topics will include:

- Defining beauty – history and psychological approaches – cognitive, social, bio-evolutionary and modern integrated theories
- Beauty Halo effect
- First impressions & stereotypes
- Beautiful bodies – shape / dissatisfaction / body dysmorphia
- Looking different – disfigurement & cosmetic surgery addiction
- Cultural and historic differences
- Male body image / the Adonis complex / body building addiction
- Fashion process – origins of fashion; fashion theories; psychology of change
- Adornment, body modification (tattooing, piercing), cosmetics – psychological factors
- Fashion & personality
- Social self, impression management and role adoption, group membership
- Group membership, identity and Fashion as communication
- Luxury products
- Sustainable fashion
- Advertising and celebrity

Course leader

Dr. F.H.J. de Beaumont
BA Hons, BSc Hons, MA, PhD, C Psychol, AFBPsS
Senior Lecturer, Psychology
Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences
Regent's University London

Target group

Suitable for beginners at the bachelors level of psychology as well as of interest to those studying business, management, fashion, media at a higher level who may have no prior knowledge but who feel they would benefit from gaining an understanding of relevant psychological principles. Students who are engaged with sociology, anthropology, an fashion/retail related areas will find this course accessible.

Course aim

After this course you are able to:
- demonstrate an understanding of psychological principles applied to beauty, fashion consumerism.
- demonstrate an understanding of the various psychological theories related to attractiveness/appearance, impression management and body image.
- demonstrate familiarity with some major theories used to understand the fashion cycle/change process and psychological processes such as self esteem, group membership and identity.
- finally through your assessments (in English) you will demonstrate independent learning and research, as well as the ability to communicate your ideas effectively.

Fee info

EUR 490: The course fee includes the registration fee, course materials, access to library and IT facilities, coffee/tea, lunch, and a number of social activities.

10% discount for early bird applicants. The early bird deadline is 1 April 2016.
15% discount for students and PhD candidates from Radboud University and partner universities.
EUR 195: Housing (optional)