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Discuss the extent to which psychologists have been able to explain love

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Discuss the extent to which psychologists have been able to explain love [24 marks]. Psychologists have described love as invisible packages of feelings, thoughts and behavioural predispositions within an individual (Rubin 1973). However it is not so easy to define what love really is. Love has a multitude of meanings There are two main types of love; companionate and romantic. Companionate love is usually shared between friends and family, whilst passionate tends to be shared between two people mostly of the opposite sex to one another. There is having love for person and than there's being 'in love.' What is the difference between liking someone and loving? Love isn't something that just appears over night. ...read more.


Sternberg proposed a theory to explain love-'triangular theory of love.' His theory consists of three components; intimacy, passion and commitment. The relative strength of each determines the kind of love. E.g. companionate love is low on passion whereas romantic love is low on commitment. Sternberg believed that individuals all have two triangles. One triangle represents what they would want their ideal relationship to be like, often based on their childhood conceptions (books, films, parents). The second triangle being what their current relationship is like. If the two triangles are similar, the better the relationship will be and the happier the person will be. A relationship with intimacy, passion and commitment is believed to be the strongest. ...read more.


The three factor theory of love is simpler. Hatfield and Walster- physiological arousal is labelled as love in presence of an appropriate love object. This is easier to understand but still not a good enough explanation. According to this theory, we love anyone we desire or is infatuated with, which is not true. Most research that has taken place is western and therefore biased to the nation as whole. As you can see, psychologists have tried to explain love and it can be seen as true to an extent. Some models concentrate on differentiating between different types of love, which is useful and does give a greater understanding To define what love truly is however, is far too complicated. Psychologists can only go by what they are told & what they observe physically. In the end, love is love and there are no other words for it. ...read more.

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