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Discuss research into psychological explanations of love

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Introduction

Discuss research into psychological explanations of love One explanation of love is the Triangular Theory of Love, propounded by Sternberg, 1986. This theory portrays the idea of three main components of love: passion; intimacy; commitment. These three factors make up a 'triangle', and the more balanced the components are, the more successful the relationship. However, Sternberg claims this is difficult, as often there is one, or even two, components missing. This idea led to the construction of his typologies of love. For example, consummaic love infatuation, companionate love and non love. Sternberg suggested we have two triangles; one which characterises our ideal relationship and another that characterises our current one. The more similar the two triangles are, the more successful the relationship. However, Sternberg spotted a flaw in his theory, it tells you where you are but not how you got there. ...read more.

Middle

Cultural differences were also found, Western cultures put emphasis on passion as being important in the initial stages of love,whilst non - Western cultures put emphasis on commitment. Hatfield and Walster propounded the Three Factor Theory, that love is a label we put on physiological arousal, the three components being: the object; cultural expectations; physiological arousal. This is supported by Dutton and Aron, who conducted the 'Love on a sSupension Bridge' study, where participants who were interviewed on a narrow, wobbly bridge over a cannon showed higher interest in the female interviewer than those who were interviewed on a small bridge over a stream. The second theory is love as an attachment process, proposed by Hazan and Shaver. Bowlby suggested that caregivers' care towards their infants determine their personalities later on in life. ...read more.

Conclusion

This study is supported by Hazan and Shaver, who found that securely attached individuals tended to have long term relationships, whilst insecurely attached individuals tended to have short term relationships. A limitation of this theory is that it focuses on retrospective classification, the individuals were asked to recall their own attachment styles so their memory would have been flawed. However, longitudinal studies, such as that conducted by McCarthy, used attachment styles that were reported at the time and found the same results. A further criticism is that it is correlational not experimental, there is no evidence attachment and relationships is cause and effect. For example, Kagan proposed the Temperament Hypothesis; that infants are born with certain temperaments, for example, being difficult, which would determine the mother child relationship. AO1: 10/12 AO2 11/12 21/24 ...read more.

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