Love & relationships | Psychology homework help

Power of Love and Relationships

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For this assignment, please address each of the items below:

1.   Describe the factors of attraction. What attracts us to one another? Why are we less likely to befriend someone from another culture than someone from a similar background with a similar physical aesthetic? Be sure to identify and describe all six factors in attraction.

2.   Discuss the human need to build bonds and relationships. Do we have an innate need to belong? If so, why? How is this need attached to our emotions, our social bonds, and our fear of deprivation?

3.   Explain the three types of love: companionate, passionate, and compassionate.  What are the differences and similarities among them? What is an example of each type? How does Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love distinguish romantic love, from empty love or infatuation? Please thoroughly address each of the components in Figure 12.1.


Figure 12.1

Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love

Robert Sternberg (1986) divides love into even more distinct categories. In his triangular theory of love, he describes three aspects of love. Each can be thought of as a point on a triangle (see Figure 12.1). Intimacy is one component, described as feelings of closeness or bonds to another person. Intimacy may include sharing of oneself and one’s possessions with another, counting on that person in times of need, and receiving emotional support from and providing emotional support to the other person. We tend to grow in intimacy within a relationship. Intimacy is moderately stable over time. Typically, intimacy is quite important in long-term relationships. We have some control over how much intimacy we have in a relationship though we may not be consciously aware of how much we have.

Figure 12.1: Sternberg’s triangular theory of love

Illustration showing the types of love according to Sternberg's theory. The illustration is made up of one pink triangle. The only label contained within the triangle is "consummate love (intimacy plus passion plus commitment)". The rest of the labels are on the outside of the triangle. The top point is labeled "liking (intimacy alone)." The bottom left point is labeled "infatuation (passion alone)." The left side of the triangle between these points is labeled "romantic love (intimacy plus passion)." The bottom right point is labeled "empty love (commitment alone)." The bottom side of the triangle (between the bottom left and bottom right points) is labeled "fatuous love (passion plus commitment)." The right side of the triangle (between the top point and bottom right point) is labeled "companionate love (intimacy plus commitment)."

Sternberg’s three aspects of love combine to form many different types of love.

From Sternberg, Robert J. (1986). A triangular theory of love. Psychological Review 93(2): 119–135. Copyright © 1986 by the American Psychological Association.

The second and third components of love in the triangular theory are passion and commitment. Passion involves physical attraction to another person or expression of desires and needs. Passion is not necessarily stable in our relationships. Generally, we do not have a great deal of control over passion, though we are often aware of how much passion we are feeling for someone else. The final component is commitment. According to Sternberg, this can be a short-term commitment, the decision to love a particular other person, or a long-term commitment, the decision to stay with someone over the long term. We control the amount of commitment we have in a relationship, and it is important for long-term relationships. Individuals who are securely attached tend to have more intimacy and commitment in relationships, and greater relationship satisfaction (Madey & Rodgers, 2009).

Within the triangular theory of love these three components are combined to describe different kinds of love. For example, infatuated love is a type of love that includes passion but no intimacy or commitment. Companionate love, on the other hand, includes intimacy and commitment but no passion.


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