I'm a social psychologist,

interested in the interplay between

emotion, motivation, and social cognition.

Graduate Student, Arizona State University


Function of Happiness and 

Life Satisfaction


Emotion and

Social Cognition

Science of

Mating Motives

and Mate Value

Role of


Social Motives


Family Matters:

Rethinking the Psychology of Human Social Motivation

[SPSP 2020 Outstanding Research Award]

Examining varied sources of data from 27 societies around the world, we found that people generally viewed kin care motives as primary in importance, and mate-seeking motives as relatively low in importance. We address theoretical and empirical reasons why there has been extensive research on mate seeking, and why people prioritize goals related to long-term familial bonds over mating goals.

*Ko, A., Pick, C. M., Kwon, J., Barlev, M., Krems, J. A., Varnum, M. E. W., … & Kenrick, D. T. (in press)

Perspectives on Psychological Science

Functionally Calibrating Life Satisfaction:

The Case of Mating Motives and Self-Perceived Mate Value

We propose that life satisfaction functions to indicate progress toward active, fitness-relevant fundamental goals; the more one perceives oneself moving effectively towards such goals, the more satisfied one should be with one’s life.

*Ko, A., Suh, E. M., Shin, J., & Neuberg, S. L. 

(Manuscript in preparation)


Does Physical Attractiveness Buy Happiness?

Women's Mating Motivation and Happiness

Does physical attractiveness buy happiness? Given the centrality of physical attractiveness in women's mate value, we predicted and found that mating motive salience increases the weight of physical attractiveness in women's happiness. 

*Ko, A., & Suh, E. M. (2019)

Motivation and Emotion



  • Advisor: Steven L. Neuberg

Arizona State University



  • Advisor: Eunkook Mark Suh

Yonsei University

  • Exchange Student (2013)

  • Psychology and Cognitive Science

  • Provost Honors

University of California,

San Diego


Get In Touch

Contact Info

Ahra Ko,

M.A. Yonsei University

Ph.D Student in Social Psychology,
Arizona State University



Steven L. Neuberg



242H, John. W. Schwada Building (SCOB)

Department of Psychology

Arizona State University

P. O. Box 871104

950 S. McAllister Ave.
Tempe, AZ 85287




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