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date: 13 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The purpose of this chapter is to document social science research on love, with an emphasis on social psychological contributions. The chapter begins with the fundamental question: What is love? Laypeople's and social scientists' answers to this question are presented, including Berscheid's (2010) recent model that delineates four basic kinds of love: romantic/passionate love, companionate love, compassionate love, and attachment love. The focus then shifts to measurement of the kinds of love specified in Berscheid's model. Scales that assess beliefs and conceptions of these types of love, as well as those that measure the experience of these kinds of love, are presented. I then turn to research on individual (gender, personality) and cultural differences in conceptions and the experience of the four kinds of love. The final section of the chapter is devoted to the relational implications of conceptions and the experience of love, including the relation between love and relationship satisfaction, the relation between love and commitment, and the role of love in the deterioration and dissolution of relationships. The chapter ends with a discussion of future directions for research on this important topic.

Keywords: romantic love, companionate love, attachment love, compassionate love, gender differences in love, personality differences in love, cultural differences in love, measurement of love

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