Affect of Love Term Paper

Pages: 17 (5676 words)  ·  Style: APA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 3  ·  File: .docx  ·  Topic: Psychology

Implicit Factors and Love: Change in the Intensity of Love Over Time

Every human needs and desires love (caring support), from the time they are born, until they die. It is a basic tenet of philosophy and psychology that the human psyche needs the love and supportive care of a significant person in their lives, in childhood to build up the ego and in adult life to support it. Most humans desire the companionship and close intimacy of another human with which to share life's positive and negative events, to bolster the spirit and assure one of one's worth. When an individual chooses a life partner one expects the sharing and mutual support to continue for the rest of the two lives, but there are many factors that come into play, either immediately or gradually regarding the maintenance of this mutual relationship. One of the partners may be healthy both physically and mentally, while the other may have explicit or implicit factors in their body, brain, or psyche that hinders the on-going partnership and may eventually corrupt and disrupt it. According to the triangular theory of love by Robert J. Sternberg, for humans, love has three subcategories: Intimacy, Passion, and Commitment.

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When the intensity of passion changes, there must be a reason for such change. Intimacy is affected by the degree of passion at times, and so is commitment. Therefore these three subcategories may all diminish, or just one may diminish, but the chances are, if any one of these diminishes, it will be determined by implicit, rather than explicit factors. If the feeling of love changes over time, then there must be implicit factors that contribute to such alterations. Discovering and identifying these hidden factors will be the goal of this research.

Term Paper on Affect of Love Assignment

Implicit factors in a love relationship are those factors that remain unseen, but are crucial in the on-going connection and affiliation of the two people who are in the relationship. Some external or outwardly visible factors are: the attitude of the individuals (if one or both of them is loving and caring of the other), how the two treat each other (with respect or disdain), and the age of the relationship. These explicit factors are obvious determinants in whether the relationship lasts. Negatively, if one or both have no love or do not care for the other, if one is abusive, or if the relationship is just beginning, whether the relationship between two people will last is still a question. However, even if all of the external factors are negative, there are still implicit factors in a relationship that are just as much or more a determinant than these in whether it lasts.

According to Webster's New World Dictionary, Concise Edition, "Implicit" means "suggested or to be understood though not plainly expressed; implied." It also means "necessarily or naturally involved though not plainly apparent or expressed; inherent." The third meaning is "Without reservation or doubt; absolute (implicitly)."

Some of the implicit factors in determining whether a love lasts are: whether the couples are compatible in the beginning (whether both of them expect the relationship to last), the individuals' philosophies concerning love and life (how they react to influences from without), their mental health (the backgrounds of the individuals), and the functioning of the brains of those individuals (genetics and chemicals present or changing in the brain during all phases of the relationship).

Study by Berg and McQuinn

There have been some studies on the implicit factors that play a part in the longevity of love relationships. One that looks at attraction and exchange in dating relationships that either continue or are discontinued was done by John H. Berg and Ronald D. McQuinn at the University of Mississippi. The group who did the study tried to develop measures that enabled one to assess general feelings about a relationship. The study found social exchange behaviors and symbolism in the resources given to and received from the parties. This group measured these variables longitudinally in 38 dating couples. They measured the variables in the first two weeks and then, again four months later.

The study found that the initial measures were highly predictable of future status of the dating couples, either still together or having broken up. This was true in same-sex couples as well as heterosexual couples. The measures found (1) greater love, (2) more relationship-maintaining behaviors, (3) more favorable evaluations of the dating relationship and (4) greater amounts of self-disclosure during the initial contact in couples that stayed together than in those who broke up. These four measures intensified as the couples continued dating. The individuals involved gave and received from their dating partners more particularistic and symbolic resources. Even though the couples, both those who continued dating and those who broke up, reported showed a decrease in the correlation between the love that members reported, those who continued by increasing reports of reward, equity and liking (Berg, p. 942).

As time went by, those who continued to date, compared with those who broke up, reported increasing love for each other, through self-disclosure, through providing one another with rewards and desired resources and continued to evaluate each other positively. They also continued to engage behavior designed to maintain the relationship, while those who were not to remain together showed the opposite pattern, with less love, less rewards, less positive evaluations of each other and fewer attempts to keep the relationship.

According to Kerckhoff and Davis (1962) and Murstein (1970), couples move through "filters" they set up. There is first of all the physical attractiveness filter, then later filters of similarities in attitude and values and finally whether their roles and behaviors mesh to complement each other (Berg, p. 942).

The point that the study makes is that the first signs of progressively more obvious differences were there and discernible in the beginning. The relationships continued to build on these differences and positives, leading to either increased closeness or to dissolution. First impressions evidently count for more than they are given credit for and the study cautions those interested in scientific studies of close relationships not to conclude that first impressions and initial attraction are not relevant for understanding the development of a close relationship (Berg, p. 951).

Study by Jones, Mirenberg, Pelham and Carvallo

Another factor that may enter into whether people are attracted and remain with a partner is whether that partner is like them. A study in implicit egotism in gravitation toward people resembling themselves was done by John T. Jones, Matthew Mirenberg, Brett W. Pelham and Mauricio Carvallo. Jones and his associates assumed that people are more likely to befriend and marry others in close proximity on the basis of other studies by Bossard in 1932, and by Festinger, Schacter and Back in 1950. Similarity was the factor, however, that Jones honed in on in 2004. They wanted to see if people "are disproportionately attracted to others whose attitudes, values and physical characteristics resemble their own." They had found studies by Byme in 1971, Newcomb in 1961 and Vandenberg in 1972 corroborated this idea and believed that others similar to oneself "activate people's positive, automatic associations about themselves" (Jones, p. 665).

Jones, et al. did seven studies, four of them on whether people tend to marry a person with the same first letter of, or name similar to their own first or last name. Studies five through seven were experiments in whether people chose others to support their implicit egotism. This was done by introducing people whose code numbers resembled their birth dates, whose surnames shared letters with their own surnames and whose jersey number had been paired subliminally, with their own names.

Preliminary studies found that people chose foods, cities to live in, states to live in and careers that resembled their names or birth dates to a disproportionate extent (i.e., people having the birth date of 03/03 were disproportionately represented in Three Forks, Montana. The same principle, they speculated, might explain choices of life partners.

The same principle that explains why Jesse and Jennifer were drawn to Jacksonville might also explain why they would be drawn to one another. The choice of a long-term romantic partner is arguably even more important than the life decisions studied by Pelham et al. (Jones, p. 666).

To do the preliminary name study, the researchers looked at joint bank account names and telephone listings with both names listed. They found surprisingly large numbers of couples who chose partners with the same first three letters of their own name. The largest by far was Michelle and Michael. (2,754 out of 7,860). (Jones, p. 671).

The seven experimental studies chose college students and performed matching experiments on them. For instance, study 5A and 5b garnered participants who wished to meet others for a platonic relationship. The participants were given personality questionnaires, but a standard "personality study" was given to each college students to evaluate for whether they would like that person with the code number of that imaginary student… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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