Introduction “Work and love, that’s all there is” – Freud Finding love is a key developmental event in early adulthood Psychologists and the public use the word “love,” so it must have some meaning Today’s lecture is intended to challenge your preconceptions and help you to establish a working definition of love
Monogamy Only 5% of species, those where both parents needed for child’s survival Pair-bonding: having an emotional attachment to another Oxytocin, vasopressin, dopamine release during sex; feels addicting Good feelings associated with partner (classical conditioning) Tells you “Gee sex with this person feels great” rather than just “Geez sex feels great”
Montane vole Prairie volePair-bond vs. No pair-bond
Sternberg’s Triangular Theory Love is multifaceted, with up to 3 central components1. Passion: intense longing for another person2. Intimacy: feeling connected, enjoying one’s company and support3. Commitment: obligations and responsibilities to one another
Peck’s Criticisms of “Love” Falling in love (passion) ≠ love Excitement related to new, attractive person “We fall in love when we are consciously or unconsciously sexually motivated” The honeymoon always ends Dependency ≠ love “I need him” or “I’d die without her” “What you describe is parasitism, not love” Love is based on choice, not necessity
Love ≠ a feeling Love is an action, characterized by treating someone well Having strong feelings that someone is important or needed doesn’t mean you love them Myth of Romantic love Story that two people are “meant to be,” that it is predetermined “in the stars” If it doesn’t end up working out, people say it wasn’t “true love” after all (hindsight bias) Realistically, there are many suitable partners
Love is… An action, not a feeling Attention A risk of rejection Independence, not dependence Commitment Self-disciplined …hard work
Happy Couples Partner’s know each other’s hopes, quirks, likes, dislikes Secret Weapon: ritualized “repair attempts” to prevent increased negativity Shared, deep sense of meaning 5 : 1 ratio
Love Quotes“I define love thus: The will to extend one’s self forthe purpose of nurturing one’s own or another’sspiritual growth” - M. Scott Peck“Love is the subtlest force in the world” - Mahatma Gandhi“By accident of fortune a man may rule the worldfor a time, but by virtue of love he may rule theworld forever” - Lao-tzu“Love is the only force capable of transforming anenemy into a friend” - Martin Luther King Jr.
“It’s a curious thought, but it is only when you seepeople looking ridiculous, that you realize just howmuch you love them” - Agatha Christie“One of the oldest human needs is havingsomeone to wonder where you are when you don’tcome home at night” - Margaret Mead“Love is a condition in which the happiness ofanother person is essential to your own” - Robert Heinlein“Whoso loves… Believes the impossible” - Elizabeth Barrett Browning
“Love doesn’t have to feel dizzying” - Michael Levine“Love is something like the clouds that were in thesky before the sun came out. You cannot touch theclouds, you know; but you feel the rain and knowhow glad the flowers and the thirsty earth are tohave it after a hot day. You cannot touch loveeither; but you feel the sweetness that it pours intoeverything” - Annie Sullivan“Among those whom I like or admire, I can find nocommon denominator, but among those whom Ilove, I can: all of them make me laugh” - W. H. Auden
“Sympathy constitutes friendship; but in love thereis a sort of antipathy, or opposing passion. Eachstrives to be the other, and both together make upone whole” - Samuel Taylor Coleridge“True love comes quietly, without banners orflashing lights. If you hear bells, get your earschecked. - Erich Segal“Love talked about can be easily turned aside, butlove demonstrated is irresistible” - W. Stanley Mooneyham
Michael Hoerger To cite this lecture: Hoerger, M. (2007, March 28). What is Love? Presented at a PSY 220 lecture at Central Michigan University.