Relationships essay - cultural differences

24 mark essay on cultural differences. achieved full marks -> shows that you don't need to write loads for it!!

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How does psychological research support the notion that relationships differ cross-culturally
(24 marks)
Gupta and Singh (1982) investigated the effect of the type of marriage, the duration and gender on
love and liking. This research took place in India which is a collectivist culture, where emphasis is on
the ties and responsibilities to family. They study consisted of 50 married couples, 25 were arranged
marriages and the other 25 were `love'(voluntary) marriages, they had all been married for different
lengths of time. Using Rubin's Linkert 9 point scale, they found that as time passes in `love' marriages,
love and liking decreases but was the opposite in arranged marriages. The results were more
significant in the rating for love rather than liking. Therefore the type of marriage, duration and
gender does play an important role in love and liking in different cultures.
This piece of research does support the idea that relationships differ across cultures because it
investigates different types of marriage and we know that the research from Moghaddam (1993)
shows that in collectivist cultures e.g. China, India and Pakistan marriages are seen as a union
between families rather than individuals. Whereas marriages in individualistic cultures e.g. UK, USA
and Canada are based on love. Gupta and Singh focused on a collectivist culture but also compared it
to another kind of marriage, which allows you to see differences. However not a lot of research has
taken place in this culture so data maybe unreliable as they have little to compare to. An important
aspect in this research is that it look as both love and liking, this is important because the formation of
the relationships are different, in arranged marriages love is not seen as an important factor because
they are encouraged to focus on the needs of the community rather than the desires of their partner.
A negative of this study is that it contains different generations, this may have a direct impact on the
results as different generations may have different concepts on love and liking, therefore this
research could be reductionist because they haven't explored the differences in age. This could
affect the results because formation may have been different to how it was a few years ago e.g. the
use if internet dating in collectivist cultures is becoming increasingly popular.
Dion and Dion (1993) looked at the variation in perception of romantic love in different cultures. The
study consisted of university students from 11 countries, they were asked a simple question `if a
man/women had all the qualities you desired, would you marry them if you didn't love them?'
(Lavine). Results showed that 14% of men and 9% of females said they would marry them even if
they didn't love them. The research was primarily done in individualistic cultures to show that `love' is
considered essential when associated with marriage.
This research shows that the perception of romantic `love' is culturally specific and is perceived and
expressed differently. It's a wide sample and spreads across different countries; this makes the
results more reliable. The contrasting research from Dion & Dion and Gupta & Singh demonstrates
that relationships are culturally specific. Collectivist cultures focus on `we' rather than `me' whereas
individualistic cultures focus on `I' not `we'. Individualistic cultures have more free will and try to find
`true love' by making their own choices. However Dion & Dion don't include collectivist cultures in the
study we don't know of love is essential or not in relationships. This discredits the study when using it
to show differences in relationships across cultures.


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