Influence of culture upon relationships

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Psychology unit 3 relationships revision
Influence of culture upon relationships
Description- love and attraction
Some aspects of attractiveness are universal such as having large eyes, same
height to weight ratio. However others are influenced by culture for example the
Mursi tribe in Ethiopia see it as attractive if you can fit a clay disc into your
mouth and this is only attractive in this culture. In the Nuba tribe in Sudan it is
attractive to have large scars on your skin and in the Pa dong tribe in Thailand it
is attractive to have a long neck. These traits are specific to certain cultures.
Cunningham studied Asian, Hispanic and white men and found they consistently
rate large eyes, symmetry and a large mouth as attractive and this fits with the
evolutionary explanation as these features indicate youth in a woman so are
evolutionary attractive to men as they indicate fertility. This supports the idea
that men are choosy in short term relationships.
Swami looked at Japanese and British people and found a slight difference in
BMI (body mass index) preference but generally the same range of BMI was
found to be attractive to the same degree across these cultures. This suggests that
culture was a small influence on attractiveness; however genes are the main factor.
Stone found that physical characteristics maybe driven by poverty and not
culture. He gave questionnaires to people in 36 cultures and found that in poorer
countries physical signs of health were more important than natural attraction or
love. This shows that genetic factors influence attractiveness as those features
such as symmetry show a person is surviving well in a poor country suggesting they
have good genes and this supports the evolutionary explanation but also suggests
the role of culture is important as poverty is a factor in controlling what factors
were preferred. However these were issues with the use of questionnaires as some
cultures determine love and attraction differently so the questionnaire may have
generalised to western ideas of love an attraction.
The western view is that individuals meet and fall in love which then in turn leads
to romantic relationships. 14% of American couples would marry if there was no
love compared to 24% in India, 32% in Thailand and 62% in Japan. Other
research has shown that 86% if people believe in love but culture affects its
relative importance in the formation of relationships.

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Psychology unit 3 relationships revision
Spreacher found that Japanese couples valued love as much as the Americans.
This means that there is contradictory evidence so the role of live might be
influenced by other factors as well as culture.
Description- marriage
Arranged marriages are more common in non-western cultures but even in western
cultures, it could be argued that marriages are arranged by social class, economic
status, religion and opportunity. There are some tribes where marriage doesn't
exist.…read more

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Psychology unit 3 relationships revision
Often one study on a group of people is taken to represent the whole country or
culture but there is often more variation within a country than between countries.
This means that findings can be too general and don't include internal differences.…read more


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