- Created by: Georgina Pellow
- Created on: 25-03-14 11:47
Describe and evaluate two theories of the formatio
There are two theories used to try to explain how and why we form relationships. One of which is the filter model of attraction put forwards by Kerckhoff and Davis 1962 who said that “We filter out potential partners from the field of eligible’”. Research has shown that filters are used to determine who we form a relationship with. These filters include Proximity (physical closeness); this is because we are social animals and need to be with others. Proximity is the best predictor of attraction as where we live and work influences the friends that we make. Festinger studied campus friendship patterns and found that participants were most friendly with those in the room next to theirs and least friendly with those further away, suggesting that proximity does affect the formation of relationships. And Physical attractiveness; according to the ‘Halo effect’ (Dion et al) we think that attractive people will have a more attractive personality and therefore we are rewarded by the kudos of being with an attractive person.
An issue with this theory is that it holds a limited view. This is because biological factors have not been taken into account. Research has shown that men find women much more attractive when in oestrus, due to the release of pheromones.
The second theory is the reward/need/satisfaction theory by Byrne and Clore 1970 who said “We like those who reward us and/or fulfil our needs”. Argyle suggested that there are basic motives or needs, which can be satisfied at least in part, by intimate relationships. The reward/need/satisfaction theory is based on conditioning which is the learning theory’s account of relationship formation through reinforcement. This is because some people rewards us directly, e.g. via sex (operant conditioning) or indirectly by association to pleasant circumstances (classical conditioning).
There is a debate about the importance of rewards. Cate et al asked participants to assess their current relationship in terms of reward level and satisfaction. Results suggested that the reward level was superior to all other factors in determining satisfaction. However, a problem with the reward/need/satisfaction theory is that it only takes into account the receiving rewards, whereas Hayes found that we also gain satisfaction through giving as well as receiving.
However there is research supporting the reward/need/satisfaction theory. Griffit and Guay conducted a study requiring participants to be evaluated on a creative task by an experimenter and then asked about how much they liked the experimenter. The rating was higher when positive evaluation was given by the experimenter suggesting the importance of reward.
The reward/need/satisfaction theory is culturally and gender bias as it doesn't account for the differences in the formation of relationships. Lotte suggested that women in many cultures are more focused on the needs of others suggesting that the theory is not a universal explanation of the formation of relationships and is therefore culturally biased.
There are also methodological problems as most of the studies carried out in this area are lab studies and therefore do not really show the principles of the reward/need/satisfaction theory applies to real life, therefore it lacks mundane realism. However some studies have been conducted on real-life couples, and have tended to show support for the claims of the reward/need/satisfaction theory.
It could be argued that the theories of relationship formation are deterministic as relationships are seen as having a lack of free will. and therefore determined by factors beyond personal control.
Discuss and evaluate one theory of maintenance of
The social learning theory's explanation of the maintenance of relationships was put forward by Thibaut and Kelley. At the centre of this theory is the assumption that all social behaviour is a series of exchanges as individuals need to maximise their costs so we exchange resources with the hope that we will earn a profit in return. Profits include being cared for, companionship and sex while costs include effort, financial investment and time wasted. The social exchange theory emphasises that commitment to a relationship is dependent on the profitability.
This theory has been applied to exchanges between intimate partners. Marelich et al surveyed students in the US, finding that men were more likely to use blatant lies to have sex, while women were more likely to have sex to avoid confrontation, gain partner approval and promote intimacy. These findings show that sexual deception is an important part of the social exchange process, with sex for pleasure and positive outcomes acting as rewards, and unwanted sex and deception consequences as costs.
This has been used to explain why some women stay in abusive relationships. Rusbult and Martz argued that when investments are high (children, financial security) and alternatives are low (nowhere else to live, no money) then the relationship may still be considered a profitable situation showing the importance of profit and loss in a relationship
Support can also be found by looking at how people deal with potential alternatives. Simpson et al asked participants to rate members of the opposite sex in terms of attractiveness; those participants who were already involved in a relationship gave lower ratings. However, social exchange theory does not explain why some people leave relationships despite having no alternative, nor does it suggest how greatly the disparity in comparison levels have to be to become unsatisfactory.
Comparison levels develope providing us with a standard to which our relationships are judged. Our comparison level is a product of our experiences in other relationships together with our general view and expectations from this particular exchange.
If we judge the potential profit in a new relationship as exceeding our comparison level, the relationship will be judged as worthwhile, and the other person will be seen as attractive.
The four stage model of long term relationships goes as follows; stage one, sampling, the couple explore the rewards and costs in a variety of relationships; stage two, bargaining, the couple ‘cost out’ the relationship and identify sources of profit and loss; stage three, commitment, the couple settle into a relationship and the exchange of rewards becomes relatively predictable; stage four, institutionalisation, interactions are established and the couple have ‘settled down’.
The comparison level of alternatives includes the individual weighing up a potential increase in rewards from a different partner minus any costs associated with the ending of the current relationship so that a new one may replace the current one if its profit level is significantly higher.
There is cultural bias in equity and exchange. Moghaddam suggests that such ‘economic’ theories only apply to western relationships and even then only to certain short-term relationships among individuals with high mobility. One group of individuals who fit in this description are students in western societies. They are typically very mobile and experience many short-term romantic relationships as there is little time to develop any long-term commitments so, it makes sense to be concerned with give-and-take. However, long-term relationships within less mobile population groups, particularly in non-traditional societies, are more likely to value security than personal profit.
The social exchange theory has been criticised by Duck and Sants. They criticised the theory by saying that it focused too much on the individual’s perspectives and ignoring the social aspects of a relationship, such as how partners communicate and interpret shared events. However, the main criticism focuses on the selfish nature of the theory.
Describe and evaluate one theory of maintenance of
This theory is an extension of the underlying belief in social learning theory that all individuals attempt to maximise their rewards and minimise their costs, with its central assumption that people strive to achieve fairness in their relationships and feel distressed if they perceive unfairness (Messick and Cook). According to the equity theory, any kind of inequity has the potential to create distress.
People who give a great deal in a relationship and get little in return would perceive inequity, and would therefore be dissatisfied in the relationship. However, the same is true of those who receive a great deal and give little in return. This is also an inequitable relationship with the same consequences for both partners, dissatisfaction. The greater the perceived inequity, the greater the dissatisfaction, and the greater the distress.
There is disagreement with the claim that all relationships are based on economics. Clark and Mills distinguished between exchange relationships and communal relationships suggesting that although exchange relationships may involve keeping track of rewards and costs, communal relationships are governed more by a desire to respond to the needs of the partner. Despite this there is still some concern with equity, but partners tend to believe things will balance out in the long run.
Research also suggests that there are gender differences when judging equity within a relationship. Steil and Weltman found that, among married working couples, husbands who earned more than their wives rated their own careers as more important. However, in couples where the woman’s income exceeded the man’s, neither partner rated their career as more important.
It is possible for each partner to contribute and receive very different amounts and for the relationship to remain equitable. What is considered fair in a relationship in terms of input and output is largely a subjective opinion for each partner. Although one partner perceives themself as putting in less than the other, the relationship will still be seen as fair if they get less out of the relationship in relative to their partner.
This is explained in terms of a person's perceived ratio of inputs and outputs, a subjective assessment of the relative inputs of each partner relative to the outcome for that partner. Deciding whether a relationship is equitable therefore involves some fairly complicated mathematics.
An equitable relationship should according to the theory, be one where one partner’s benefits minus their costs equals that of the partner. This means that if we perceive inequity in our relationship, we are motivated to restore it. This can be achieved in several different ways. For example, we may change the amount we put into our relationship, the amount we demand from the relationship, or our perceptions of relative inputs and outputs, in order to restore the appearance of equity. We may also compare our relationship to our investment in the current relationship or whether we should end it and begin a new one.
Stafford and Canary asked over 200 married couples to complete measures of equity and relationship satisfaction. Findings revealed that satisfaction was highest for spouses who perceived their relationship to be equitable, followed by over-benefited partners and lower for under-benefited partners. These findings are consistent with predictions from the equity theory. Couples also completed measures of 5 maintenance strategies (positivity, appearance, assurance, social networks and sharing tasks). The findings suggest that under-benefited husbands report significantly lower levels of three of these compared to equitable or over-benefited husbands.
Discuss two theories of the breakdown of relations
The ending of a relationship can be emotionally demanding and for some it may be a catastrophe, however, for others it may be a relief and a chance to start again. There are several reason that relationships end, these include: conflict, betrayal, bad habits, distance, boredom, lack of communication.
Duck classified two categories as the cause of behaviour that causes the breakdown of a relationship, these are predisposing personal factors e.g. arguing and bad habits and precipitating factors e.g. distance and working hours.
Duck said that there were three reasons for the breakdown of a relationship. Lack of skills being one, as without interpersonal skills relationships are unsatisfying, if you do not have social skills you may be a poor conversationalist etc. so are likely to be unrewarding in interactions with other. A relationship can break down if one is perceived as uninterested. The second is lack of stimulation as we look for rewards in relationships e.g. stimulation, without which the relationship can break down. We expect relationships to change and develop so when they don’t it’s seen as sufficient justification to end it. And the third is maintenance difficulties as when the relationship becomes strained due to not seeing enough of each other, for example, university.
Relationships may sometimes fail because of extra marital affairs. Boekhout et al found in undergraduates that men justified infidelity through sexual reasons whereas women justified it through emotional reasons. This shows that extramarital affairs may be caused by a perceived lack of skills and/or stimulation.
Long distance relationships are more common that we think. In our society people do move and do become separated from friends and family as well as partners so it is useful to understand management strategies people use. However, Holt and Stone found that there’s no decrease in relationship satisfaction as long as you see each other regularly.
There are gender differences in the breakdown of relationships. Women are more likely to stress unhappiness and incompatibility as reasons for breakdown while men are particularly upset by sexual withholding.
Rollie and Duck but forward the model of breakdown that is split into six sections, breakdown is where one partner becomes distress or dissatisfied with the relationship, intrapsychic processes is where the partner may brood in their partners faults expressing their dissatisfaction in other ways for example through a diary, dyadic processes is where people confront the partners discussing their feelings of uncertainty, anxiety etc. and the future, social processes is where partners will seek their friends and family or support telling their side of the story which can result in help to mend the disputes on an involvement in speeding up breakdown, grave dressing process is where people reinterpret their view of their partner, a rebellious nature may now be irresponsibility, resurrection process is where each partner prepares themselves for new relationships by redefining themselves and building on past mistakes and experience.
The breakdown model is supported by observations of real-life break-ups. Tashira surveyed undergraduates who had recently broken up with a partner reporting that they experienced emotional distress and personal growth as well as gaining new insights into themselves and a clearer idea of future partners. Through grave dressing and resurrection people were able to move on and get on with their lives.
It has been found that there are implications for intervention. Communication is important and by paying attention to each other, what they discuss and the way in which they do we gain insight into the stage they’re at and interventions that are appropriate. For example, couples coping enhancement training (CCET) aim to sensitise couples to issues of equity and respect within the relationship and to improve communication.
There are ethical issues in breakdown research. This area of research can leave participants vulnerable to distress and a lack of privacy as well as confidentiality. For example, a woman in an abusive relationship may fear the consequences if the abusive partner discovers her participation in the research meaning the researcher must decide between pursuing information or ending the research to prevent any further harm.
Discuss the relationship between sexual selection
Psychologists try to explain human behaviour, some of which try to explain human behaviours as being evolutionary adaptations designed to enhance survival.
Due to intersexual selection and mate competition, males usually compete with each other for the attention of the opposite sex, they can then mate and pass on their genes so, traits that led to the success are passed on. It can be noted that mate choice involves the preferences of one sex for members of the opposite sex who possess certain qualities, for example women preferring tall men. These preferences determine the areas in which the other sex must compete, for example, peacocks and plumage, humans and wealth. These indicators reveal traits that can be passed on to offspring as well as information on the protection and support the mate can provide. We are ‘pre-programmed’ to focus on these indicators so therefore increasing willingness to mate with individuals who possess them.
The rationale behind sexual selection is that random mating is essentially stupid mating. As genetic quality of a mate determines the genetic quality of any offspring it pays to be choosy. Joining with an attractive, high quality mate offspring will be of higher quality and an individual's genes are more likely to be passed on, unlike low quality mates who are unattractive and unhealthy.
Short-term mating preferences suggest that men have evolved a desire for casual sex, ideally early on in the relationship meaning that in their lifetime they may have impregnated a large number of women and therefore passing on more copies of his genes. However, women who have had sex with the same number of men will only produce one offspring. The less time a man spends with a woman, the larger the number of women that can be impregnated. Men appear to lower their standards and show a decrease in attraction following sex.
However, long-term mate preferences suggest that both sexes invest heavily in any offspring, resulting in a higher level of choosiness in sexual selection. Women are choosey do to their biology which is why men who can provide for both her and the child as well as protect them both, show qualities of a good parent and are compatible are more attractive. However, men are attracted to women due to their signals or fertility showing their reproductive value.
Buss explored what men and women look for in marriage partners. The study involved 37 cultures with women desiring mates with good financial support/prospects while men placed importance on attractiveness and youth. This supports the idea that there are sex differences in human mate preferences.
There have been some issues with the methodology of the research. Buss’ study of mate choice may be lacking in some validity as it gives us an indication of expressed preferences rather than being a reflection of what actually happens in real life. However, there are real life studies that support these mate choice hypotheses, Buss confirmed that men do choose younger women.
There are sex differences in sexual selection. Men and women experimenters approached strangers on a college campus, complementing attractiveness and asking either; to go on a date, go to their apartment to have sex. 0% of women agreed to have sex while 75% of men did. This provides compelling evidence that men have evolved psychological mechanisms to ensure success in short term mating.
Fertility has been shown to be important in sexual selection. Females near the most fertile point of their menstrual cycle are more attractive to males as they give out visual and chemical signals encouraging males to mate. Researches in a recent US study confirmed this by calculating the tips earned by lap dancers at varying stages of their cycle, those in the fertile phone earned almost twice as much as those not.
Discuss sex differences in parental investment
Parental investment is defined as ‘any investment by a parent in an offspring that increases the chance that the offspring will survive at the expense of that parent’s ability to invest in any other offspring (alive or yet to be born) - Trivers 1972
At the heart of Trivers theory is the fact that in most species males and females does not invest equally. Females initially invest more as female gametes (eggs) are less numerous and more costly to produce than male gametes (sperm)
By expending a relatively large part of their reproductive effort on courtship and mating, males of most species can afford to devote rather little, in comparison to females, to parental care (Daly and Wilson 1978).
The investment made by females is considerably greater than that made by males. For example, the female produces far fewer gametes over the course of her lifetime than the male produces. The greater investment made by females may also be explained in terms of parental certainty. Because a characteristic of human reproduction is internal fertilisation, this means that unlike males, who cannot be certain that they are the father, females can be certain they are the true parent of their child.
In common with other mammals, human females breastfeed their young, and so are more burdened by the extended period of childcare that results from the prolonged immaturity of human infants being born before other mammals for the smaller skull size. Human mothers therefore not only make the greater parental contribution of resources (through pregnancy), but also make the larger postnatal contribution as well.
The expense of childrearing means that females want to ensure good quality offspring so they won't waste their efforts, therefore they will marry a man with good resources and shop around for good genes through extramarital affairs. Although accurate data for mistake paternity are elusive, there is some evidence of this from a magazine survey of UK women. From the results Baker and Bellis estimated that as many as 14% of the population were products of extramarital mating.
The benefits that women can obtain from cuckoldry include receiving additional social support from another male and perhaps higher quality gene for her children. However, for the woman cuckolding her partner is not without risk of abandonment and the use of mate-retention strategies by the current partner (Daly and Wilson).
There are several reasons that the minimum obligatory investment made by males is considerably less than that of females, including the fact that a woman can produce only a limited number of offspring, whereas a male can potentially father an unlimited number. Similarly, whereas the female must carry the developing embryo inside her for 9 months and then wean the child for years afterwards, the human male can simply walk away having achieved the task of fertilization. Therefore, indiscriminate mating could cost a woman a great deal in terms of time and resources, whereas indiscriminate mating tends to be much less costly for a man (Goetz and Shackelford 2009).
When males do invest parentally , they are under pressure to protect themselves from the possibility of cuckoldry (i.e. investing in the offspring that are not their own). Because human males make a considerable investment in their children, they have a greater concern than females about the fidelity into their mates (Miller 1998). As a result, they try to ensure that their care is not misdirected towards non-relatives.
The possibility of sexual infidelity posed different adaptive problems for males and females. A man whose mate was unfaithful risked investing in offspring that were not his own, whereas a woman whose mate was unfaithful risked the diversion of resources away from her and the family. Sexual jealousy, therefore, may have evolved as a solution to these problems (Buss 1995).Men are more jealous of the sexual act (to avoid cuckoldry) while women are more jealous of the shift in emotional focus (and consequent loss of resources).
Discuss the influence of childhood on adult relati
Our childhood provides us with many different experiences that shape how we interact with the world when we are older, including parent-child relationships and our interaction with peers that predispose us towards particular types of relationships.
Shaver et al (1988) claims that what we experience as romantic love in adulthood is an integration of three behavioural systems acquired in infancy. The first - attachment; is related to the concept of the internal working model developed by Bowlby (1969), suggesting that later relationships are a continuation of early attachment styles as the behaviour of the primary attachment figure promotes the internal working model, leading an infant to expect the same in later relationships. The second - caregiving; involves the knowledge about how one cares for another by modelling behaviour on the primary attachment figure, while the final system is the sexuality system, which is learned in relation to early attachment e.g. individuals with an insecure avoidant attachment are more likely to see sex without love as pleasurable.
Even though the relationship between attachment style and later adult relationships has been supported by a number of studies there are concerns about the stability of attachment types. It’s possible that an individual's attachment type is determined by their current relationship for example, being secure in a happy marriage. Kirkpatrick and Hazan (1994) found that relationship break-ups were associated with a shift from secure to insecure attachments, supporting that significant relationship experiences may alter attachment organisation as attachment theory demonstrates.
Childhood abuse can also have effects on later relationships; physical abuse has negative effects on adult psychological functioning. Springer et al (2007) found individuals who had experienced physical abuse in childhood are more likely to suffer with depression, anger and anxiety while sexual abuse has been associated with psychological impairment in adult life as victims experience difficulty in forming healthy relationships in adulthood. This is reinforced by research conducted by Van der Kolk and Fisler (1994) who found that those that experienced childhood abuse had difficulty forming attachments, instead developing disorganised attachments leading to problems in regulating emotions as they feel isolated and feel a lack of trust towards others.
Research to support the claim that abused children have a difficult time developing adult relationships comes from Berenson and Anderson. They found that adult women who experienced childhood abuse displayed negative reactions towards partners who reminded them of their abusive parent. It was concluded that this transference would result in these women using inappropriate behavioural patterns in their interpersonal relationships.
Interaction with peers can also have an impact on later relationships through childhood friendships and adolescent friendships. Qualter and Munn (2005) have shown that children learn from experiences with other children as they can determine the way in which a child thinks about themselves resulting in internalisation, so that the child will develop a sense of their own value affecting their approach to adult relationships. While Nangle et al (2003) claims that children’s friendships are the basis for important adult relationships characterised by affection, a sense of alliance and intimacy as well as the sharing of secrets promoting trust, acceptance and understanding, important for later romantic relationships.
However, there are gender differences in childhood friendships. Richard and Schneider (2005) found that girls have more intimate relationships than boys; Erwin (1993) found that boy’s relationships tend to be more competitive due to a greater emphasis on competitive play activities contrasting with girls who are more likely to engage in cooperation and sharing activities. Although, sex differences in the experience of childhood relationships have been over emphasised and the many similarities tend to be overlooked.
Adolescent relationships serve a number of purposes making them different to childhood friendships as they help to separate a child from their parents by shifting the attachment focus to their peers allowing them to redirect intense interpersonal feelings towards romantic partners therefore, gaining emotional and physical intimacy.
Madsen (2001) tested the effects of dating behaviour on 15-17½ year olds and 20-21 year olds finding that low dating frequency predicted higher quality young adult relationships while heavy dating predicted poorer quality suggesting that dating can help adult relationships but too much can be maladaptive.
However, research shows that there is a potential for negative effects in later adult relationships. Neeman et al (1995) found that romantic involvement in early to middle adolescence was associated with decreased academic achievement. Although, in late adolescence romantic involvement was no longer related with these negative outcomes. This therefore suggests that it is the timing of romantic relationships in adolescence that determines what influence, if any, they will have.
Research from non-human species also provides insight. Suomi and Harlow studied monkeys who had adult contact but inadequate peer contact finding that the monkeys showed inappropriate social and sexual behaviour in adulthood. However, studies like this cannot be done with human children as social deprivation results in ethical issues.
Furthermore, research conducted into the development of adult relationships can be seen as deterministic. Research indicates that early experiences have fixed effects; children who are insecurely attached at the age of 1 will experience emotionally unsatisfactory relationships as adults. However, this isn’t always the case as other researchers have found that many participants experienced happy adult relationships despite insecure attachments during childhood, suggesting that adult relationships are not predetermined.
Discuss the influence of culture on romantic relat
Culture is the beliefs and customs of a social group which binds it together and distinguish it from other groups.
Western cultures are often described as individualistic as people within the culture make their own decisions and take responsibility for their own lives, meaning relationships tend to be voluntary and temporary. Whereas Non-western cultures tend to be collectivist as individuals within the culture are part of a group or a family and a social group where decisions are formed by obligations to others, meaning the relationships are described as obligatory and permanent.
Western cultures are characterised by a high degree of choice in personal relationships with a greater ‘pool’ of potential relationships. On the other-hand, Non-western cultures have less choice about who they interact with on a daily basis as interactions with strangers is rare, and relationships are frequently tied to other factors, such as family or economic resources.
In some societies non-voluntary marriages seem to work well. Myers et al. studied individuals in India living in arranged marriages. There were no differences in marital satisfaction found when compared to individuals in non-arranged marriages in the US, which suggests that voluntary relationships aren’t necessarily better.
In some rapidly developing cultures such as China, there has been an increase in ‘love matches’. Xiaohe and Whyte conducted a study of women in China, finding that those who had married for love felt better about their marriages regardless of duration than women who experience arranged marriages.
Western cultures are described as individualist due to their focus on the individual rather than the group whereas Non-western cultures are described as collectivist and are encouraged to be interdependent. The cultural attitudes of individualist cultures, where individual interests are more highly regarded than group goals and interests, are consistent with the formation of romantic relationships that are based on freedom of choice, whereas collectivism leads to relationships that might have more to do with the concerns of the family or group (Moghaddam et al.).
Although we might expect relationships based on love to produce more compatible partners, this may not necessarily be the case. It may be that parents are in a better position to judge compatibility in the long-term, whereas young people may be ‘blinded by love’ and overlook areas of personal incompatibility that will become apparent later. However, contrary to this traditional view, Xiaohe and Whyte’s study found that freedom of mate choice appeared to promote marital stability rather than instability.
Levine et al. investigated love as a basis for marriage in 11 countries. Respondents were asked whether they would be willing to marry someone who had all the qualities they desired in a marriage partner but whom they did not love. The US respondents expressed a reluctance to marry in the absence of love (14% said that they might). However the figures from collectivist cultures such as India (24%) and Thailand (34%) were higher, suggesting a higher proportion of people in these cultures were prepared to marry in the absence of love.
Research suggests that attitudes toward love and romantic relationships generally may be better explained by the greater urbanisation and mobility found in Western cultures rather than Western/Non-western cultural differences. For example, there has been a sharp increase in divorce rates in India over the recent years despite India generally being regarded as a traditional, collectivist culture. Most of those being divorced are members of India’s thriving urban middle class, suggesting that their aspirations and attitudes to relationships are radically different to those of their parents and grandparents.
Seepersad et al suggested that young adults in Western cultures would experience a greater degree of loneliness because of a high desire for romantic relationships, compared to young adults from Non-western cultures. Seepersad’s study revealed that in a sample of 227 US and Korean students, US students reported significantly higher levels of romantic loneliness than Koreans when they were not in a romantic relationship. These results suggested that there was a strong emphasis on the importance of romantic relationships in Western cultures that may unduly amplify an individual's’ feelings of loneliness. It also showed that Korean students relied more heavily on their families to fulfil their social network needs, while American students relied on friends and significant others.
There are problems with research into cultural differences in relationships as they may be limited by the research method adopted. If any aspect of the methodology is interpreted differently in one culture than in another, then it creates a cultural bias that can invalidate any conclusion on a cross-cultural study. For example, measures of ‘love’ or ‘satisfaction’ that have been developed in Western cultures may not be valid in other cultures, suggesting that there are cultural differences in relationships.
For romantic love to be an evolved adaptation, it should be experienced everywhere by human groups. Research has shown that romantic love is not exclusive to Western cultures. For example, Jankowiak and Fischer searched for evidence of romantic love in a sample of Non-western tribal societies finding clear evidence of romantic love in 90% of the 166 cultures studied. Evidence also comes from Bartes and Zeki, who claim to have discovered a ‘functionally specialised system’, which lights up during fMRI scans of the brain of people who claim to be in love.