The Psychology of Everyday Life:Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage


Do views of love vary across cultures?

We can presume that the components of love proposed by Sternberg can be found in all cultures. Intimacy, passion, and commitment are most likely cultural universals. Evidence of this comes from many sources, including cultural anthropology, psychological research, and love poetry from across the world. What does appear to vary across cultures, however, is the emphasis placed on the different components of love and on different types of relationships. In collectivist cultures like those found in Asia and Africa, relationships with family may take priority over relationships with lovers and friends. In individualistic cultures, like those of Northern Europe and North America, friendships and romantic relationships compete with family for priority (and often win). Likewise, the concept of duty (similar to Sternberg’s concept of commitment) is absolutely central to Chinese Confucianism. In contrast, judging by the mountains of romance novels, love songs, and beauty products found in North America, it is the passionate side of love that is prized in this culture.


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