Abstract and Keywords
The development of relationship science is integral to the development of positive psychology. The scientific study of love is of central importance to relationship science and is, therefore, very important for positive psychology. This chapter focuses primarily on the history and science of romantic love. One historical view is that romantic love, and especially “love marriage,” developed only in the past few centuries. Other scholars (e.g., Hatfield) have argued that passionate love is a human universal, existing across time and cultures. So this issue is open. The study of love divides into naturalistic/biological approaches (such as passionate vs. companionate love, attachment, and the evolution of love) and psychological/social approaches. The latter include prototypes of love, self-expansion theory, triangular theory, and love styles. Measures used to assess these various approaches are discussed briefly. There is much research on love, forcing selective coverage of topics, including communication of love, love styles, cross-cultural aspects of love, love and sexuality, love and happiness/well-being, and a new entry into the variable mix: love and respect. Clinical psychology and even psychoanalysis have recognized the centrality of a successful love relationship for the full development and emotional stability of most people. Love stands at the center of many aspects of human life. It is time that all of psychology, and the funding agencies, fully recognize the centrality and power of love. Until that happens, romantic love is the giant elephant that is unseen in psychology's living room.
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