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Critically evaluate psychological explanation of love

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Critically evaluate psychological explanation of Love. The Triangular theory by Sternberg states that love contains 3 components: Passion, intimacy and commitment. Passion is the drive that leads to physical and romantic attraction or even sex. Intimacy is the feeling of closeness between the 2 partners which may involve the mutual understanding and emotional support. Commitment is the decision made to stay with this partner and give up relationships with other potential partners. These 3 components combine in different ways to form 7 types of love. The most perfect, yet the hardest to achieve, is the consummate love. It contains a balance of these 3 components. However, where there are 1 or 2 components largely/totally missing, different types of love occur. ...read more.


Couples can discuss and analyse their diff views towards these components and so come up with their own distinction which allow them to pinpoint areas where change/ compromise is needed. Therefore this theory's usefulness is limited when explaining one's love but is greatly increased in terms of the practical application for couples. Hazan and Shaver claimed that love should be the outcome of the early attachment style experienced during childhood. These attachments include those that are secure and insecure (i.e. avoidant or resistant). The fact that adults have different kinds of romantic relationships is because of their diff experiences in infants. For example their caregiver's behaviours in dealing relationships would make the infant to expect the same relationship with others in the future from their internal working model (Bowlby). ...read more.


These detail qualitative data have suggested early attachment leads people to have diff level of performance and so diff relationships, thus support the theory. However, Hazan & Shavers' study is correlational, which means it cannot be claimed that early attachment and later love style is cause and effect. It is possible both are caused by something else. Kagan argued that it is the innate temperamental characteristics which determine the quality of infants-mother relationship, thus attachment style. These temperaments affect relationships throughout life and explain why there is continuity of love style. Therefore love styles could be due to inheritance rather than childhood experience, contradicting Hazan & Shavers' view. Nevertheless, no matter whose theory is more accurate, they both suggested early attachment can have important influence on later relationships and so parents should have enough support for infants to ensure they are securely attached. ...read more.

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