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Discuss the influence of culture on romantic relationships

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Discuss the influence of culture on romantic relationships A feature of westernised culture is the urban environment, which has easy geographical and social mobility. This influences voluntary relationships, where there is a large choice of partners and fewer restrictions. In this sense, there may be an illusion of free will, with people thinking they have more choice. In reality they are limited by personal characteristics as well as by the chances of meeting someone they find attractive. On the other hand, non western cultures have fewer large urban centres so they interact with less people on a daily basis. Therefore relationships are linked to factors such as family or economic resources, because of fewer options for partners, where arranged marriage is likely to occur. In societies with reduced mobility (e.g. India) arranged marriages make good sense and seem to work well. ...read more.


For example, lack of equality is rarely the cause of relationship dissatisfaction in collectivist culture, though a western researcher may assume this to be a source of dissatisfaction throughout all relationships in all cultures. Some ethical issues may occur in research such as demand characteristic in Epstein?s research which spouses in arranged marriages claimed to have fallen in love with their partners. Some research on this topic may have high internal validity, researchers assume that the way things are done in their own culture is normal and it can be difficult to avoid cultural bias. The evolutionary approach explains romantic relationships. It suggests that love is adaptive, as it promotes reproduction, so love should be present across all cultures. The influence of culture on romantic relationships vary due to the type of culture (e.g. western/non western or collectivist/individualistic). There is a distinction between collectivist and individualistic cultures. ...read more.


For example, people in some cultures but people may marry for reasons, such as financial support or family connections. Suri women, for example, wear lip plates of varying sizes which indicate how many cattle her family expect to receive for her marriage. In this case, the marriage is for gain. This type of cultural influence may be questioned as it is oversimplified. Oversimplification of cultures into only two variations (Individualistic or collectivist), may be a limitation as cultures tend to be more diverse and distinction may not be reliable as cultures are always changing. For example, Li et al. compared attitudes of collectivist (India/China) cultures with those of individualist (Canada) cultures and found few differences between Canadian and Chinese attitudes. There is also cultural bias in Moghaddam and Gibbons? research, that ethnocentric views affect perspective due to western ideals. It is due to this that researchers who are indigenous to the cultures being studied should be involved to limit the cultural bias. ...read more.

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