Is love biological or a cultural phenomenon? (2023)

Love is a set of emotions and behaviors characterized by intimacy, passion, and devotion. It includes care, closeness, protection, attraction, affection and trust. Love can vary in intensity and change over time. It is associated with a variety of positive emotions including happiness, enthusiasm, life satisfaction, and euphoria, but it can also trigger negative emotions such as jealousy and stress.

When it comes to love, some people would say that it is one of the most important.human emotions. Despite being one of the most studied behaviors, it remains the least understood. For example, researchers debate whether love is a biological or a cultural phenomenon.

Love is likely influenced by biology and culture. While hormones and biology are important, the way we express and experience love is also influenced by our personal ideas about love.

5 psychological theories of love

How do you know?

What are some of the signs of love? The researchers distinguished between feelings of liking and love for another person.

Zick Rubin Like and Love Scale

According to psychologist Zick Rubin, romantic love consists of three elements:

  • Appendix: The need to be with another person and the desire for physical contact and approval.
  • Tender: Value the other person's happiness and needs as much as your own
  • privacy: Sharing private thoughts, feelings, and desires with the other person

Based on this view of romantic love, Rubin developed two questionnaires to measure these variables, known asRubin Like and Love scale. While people tend to see the people they like as likeable, love is characterized by being devoted, possessive, and trusting in each other.

The difference between liking and loving

types of love

Not all forms of love are created equal, and psychologists have identified several different types of love that people can experience.These types of love include:

  • Amistad: This type of love involves liking someone and sharing some level of intimacy.
  • passion: This is a form of love that often involves intense feelings of attraction without a sense of commitment; it usually occurs early in a relationship and can deepen into more lasting love.
  • passionate love: This type of love is characterized by intense feelings of longing and attraction; often involves an idealization of the other person and the need to maintain constant physical proximity.
  • compassionate/companion love: This form of love is characterized by trust, affection, intimacy and attachment.
  • Unrequited love: This form of love occurs when a person loves another who does not correspond to those feelings.

Robert Sternberg's love triangle theory

More specifically, the psychologistRoberto Sternbergdeveloped his respectedlove triangle theoryin the early 1980s.Much of the research has been based on his work, showing its universality across cultures.

Sternberg divided love into three components: intimacy, passion, and commitment, which work together to produce kinds of love.

Sternberg's love triangle theory
kind of lovecomponents
Romanticintimacy, passion
Lococommitment, passion
accomplishedIntimacy, Compassion, Commitment

Is love biological or cultural?

Some researchers assume that love, like happiness or anger, is a basic human emotion, while others believe that it is a cultural phenomenon, stemming in part from social pressures and expectations.

The research found that romantic love exists in all cultures, suggesting that love has a strong biological component. It is human nature to seek and find love. However, culture can significantly affect the way people think about, experience, and show romantic love.

Is love an emotion?

Psychologists, sociologists and researchers do not agree on the characterization of love. Many say that it is not an emotion as we normally understand it, but an essential physiological drive. Says the psychologist and biologist Enrique Burunat: "Love is a physiological motivation like hunger, thirst, sleep and sexual desire."On the other hand, the American Psychological Association defines it as “a complex emotion”.Still others distinguish between primary and secondary emotions and place love in the latter category, claiming that it arises from a mixture of primary emotions.

how to practice love

There is no one way to practice love. Each relationship is unique and each person brings their own story and needs to it. Some things you can do to show your love to the people you care about are:

  • Be willing to be vulnerable.
  • Be willing to forgive.
  • Do your best and be ready to apologize when you make mistakes.
  • Let them know that you care.
  • Listen to what they have to say.
  • Prioritize time with the other person.
  • Return gestures of love and acts of kindness.
  • Recognize and acknowledge your good qualities.
  • Share things about yourself.
  • Show love.
  • Do it unconditionally.

Does unconditional love make relationships healthy?

love effect

Love, attachment and affection have an important impact on well-being and quality of life. Romantic relationships have been linked to:

  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Reduced risk of dying after a heart attack
  • The best health habits.
  • Greater longevity
  • lower stress level
  • less depression
  • Lower risk of diabetes

Tips to cultivate love

Lasting relationships are characterized by a deep level of trust, commitment, and intimacy. Some things you can do to foster loving relationships are:

  • Try loving-kindness meditation. Loving Kindness Meditation (LKM)It is a technique often used to promote self-acceptance and reduce stress, but it has also been shown to promote a variety of positive emotions and improve interpersonal relationships.LKM involves meditating while thinking about someone you love or care about, focusing on the warm feelings and wishing for their well-being and happiness.
  • Communicate.Everyone has different needs. The best way to ensure that you and your loved one's needs are met is to talk about it. To help another person feel loved, you must communicate that love through words and actions. Some ways to do this are to show them you care, make them feel special, tell them you love them, and do things for them.
  • Dealing with conflicts in a healthy way. Never arguing isn't necessarily a sign of a healthy relationship; more often than not, it means people are avoiding a problem rather than discussing it. Instead of avoiding conflict, focus on problem solving in healthy ways to move the relationship forward in a positive way.

What are the five love languages?

possible dangers

As Shakespeare said, love never went well. No relationship is perfect, so there will always be problems, conflicts, misunderstandings, and disappointments that can lead to heartbreak or heartbreak.

So while love is associated with a variety of positive emotions, it can also be accompanied by a variety of negative feelings. Some of the potential pitfalls of experiencing love are:

  • Distress
  • Depression
  • increased stress
  • jealousy
  • obsession
  • possessiveness
  • sadness

While people inevitably experience some negative emotions related to love, it can become problematic when these negative feelings outweigh the positive ones or begin to interfere with a person's ability to function normally.relationship counselingIt can be useful in situations where couples need help dealing with misunderstandings, stress, or emotional problems.

The best online couples counseling programs

love story

Only recently has love become a subject of science. In the past, the study of love "was left to the creative writer to show us the conditions necessary for love," he says.Sigmund Freud. "As a result, it becomes inevitable that science will become involved with the same materials that artists have delighted humanity with for millennia," he added.

Research on love has increased enormously since Freud's pronouncements. But the early explorations of the nature and reasons for love drew significant criticism. In the 1970s, US Senator William Proxmire criticized researchers studying love, ridiculing the work as a waste of taxpayer money.

Despite initial resistance, research has shown the importance of love in both child development and adult health.

13 fuentes

Verywell Mind only uses quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts in our articles. read ourpublishing processto learn more about how we verify our content and keep it accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

  1. Langeslag SJ, van Strien JW.Regulation of romantic feelings of love: biases, strategies and one. 2016;11(8):e0161087. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0161087

  2. Karandaschew V.A cultural perspective on romantic love.ORPC.2015;5(4):1-21.doi:10.9707/2307-0919.1135

  3. Rubín Z.Lovers and other strangers: the development of intimacy in dating and relationships: experimental studies of self-disclosure among strangers at bus stops and airport departure lounges may provide clues to the development of intimate relationships.american scientist.1974;62(2):182-190.

    1. P. Sorokowski, A. Sorokowska, M. Karwowski et al.Universality of the Triangular Theory of Love: Adaptation and Psychometric Properties of the Triangular Love Scale in 25 Countries.J Sex Res. 2021;58(1):106-115. doi:10.1080/00224499.2020.1787318
  4. Burunat E.Love is not an emotion..Psychology. 2016;07(14):1883. doi:10.4236/psych.2016.714173

  5. American Psychological Association.APA Dictionary of Psychology.

  6. Wong CW, Kwok CS, Narain A, et al.Marital status and risk of cardiovascular disease: systematic review and meta-analysis.Herz. 2018;104(23):1937–1948. doi:10.1136/heartjnl-2018-313005

  7. Robards J, Evandrou M, Falkingham J, Vlacantoni A.marital status, health and mortality.maturity. 2012;73(4):295–299. doi:10.1016/j.maturitas.2012.08.007

  8. Teo AR, Choi H, Valenstein M.Social relationships and depression: ten-year follow-up of a nationally representative one. 2013;8(4):e62396. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062396

  9. Roberson PNE, Fincham F.Is Relationship Quality Related to Diabetes Risk and Control?: It Depends What You Look At.Family Health Syst.2018;36(3):315-326. doi:10.1037/fsh0000336

  10. Ele X, Shi W, Han X, Wang N, Zhang N, Wang X.The interventional effects of lovingkindness meditation on positive emotions and interpersonal interactions.neuropsychiatric disorder. 2015;11:1273-1277. doi:10.2147/NDT.S79607

  11. freud s.freudian reader.New York: WW Norton & Company; 1995.

  12. Winston R., Chicot R.The importance of early attachment for children's mental health and long-term resilience.London J primary care(Abington). 2016;8(1):12-14. doi:10.1080/17571472.2015.1133012

Is love biological or a cultural phenomenon? (1)

Vonkendra cherry
Kendra Cherry, MS, is an author and educational consultant focused on helping students learn about psychology.

See Our Editorial Process

Meet our panel of judges

share comments

Was this page helpful

Thank you for your comments!

What is your opinion?

Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Nathanial Hackett

Last Updated: 02/24/2023

Views: 5596

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (72 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Nathanial Hackett

Birthday: 1997-10-09

Address: Apt. 935 264 Abshire Canyon, South Nerissachester, NM 01800

Phone: +9752624861224

Job: Forward Technology Assistant

Hobby: Listening to music, Shopping, Vacation, Baton twirling, Flower arranging, Blacksmithing, Do it yourself

Introduction: My name is Nathanial Hackett, I am a lovely, curious, smiling, lively, thoughtful, courageous, lively person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.