Probably the most important emotion in the human experience is love. This includes the emotions that are associated with committing to a person, the feelings of affection and intimacy, and the feelings of attraction and passion.
Love can be a source of stress or joy, depending on the circumstances. Being in love can also change how you see things. For instance, you may feel pressure to do what your partner wants you to do, or you may be able to feel completely dedicated to a person. Love can also be a reason to forgive a person for something they have done. Love can also lead to stress, jealousy, and a whole host of negative emotions.
Love has been a subject of much philosophical and scientific discussion. For example, Paul Ekman, one of the most influential researchers of emotion, has argued that each basic emotion should be unique in its facial expression.
In the 1970s, psychologists began to study love and the way it can affect people. They began by defining love as the attitude one takes towards a person or object. They also realized that love was a broader term that included feelings of affection and protectiveness. A person who loves another person is probably feeling good when the other person is healthy.
Researchers have since identified a number of types of love. One example is storge love, which focuses on a person’s prioritization of similar interests. This type of love also places less emphasis on physical attraction and sex.
Another example is erotic love, which centers on physical attraction and sex. A person in erotic love might be able to feel comfortable breaking up with his or her lover if that person doesn’t reciprocate. There is also a third type of love, called mania, which is characterized by an intense desire to have a particular person or object in one’s life.
While scientists and philosophers have pondered love for centuries, psychologists have only begun to study love as a specific idea in the last 75 years. They have also developed theories describing various types of love, arguing that love is too diverse to be captured by just one emotion.
Some psychologists have argued that love is a biologically driven phenomenon, involving hormones and brain regions that activate when we feel passionate love for someone. Aside from these biological factors, many people have also argued that love is a psychological construct. While psychologists do not agree on the exact nature of love, most agree that it is a powerful and enduring emotion. Aside from physical attraction, love also involves a sense of closeness, commitment, affection, and protectiveness. This type of love is often compared to friendship, but is much stronger.
Other accounts of love have attempted to provide a generalized description of the emotion, but they usually avoid explicitly reductionistic language. One account is the Frankfurt (1999) book Love, and it contains a few general ideas. Some accounts are more complicated, such as the bestowal theory, which posits that love involves the creation of a new value. Others, such as Sternberg’s triangular theory of love, take the concept of love one step further. These accounts conceptualize love as a triangle, with a triangle encompassing intimacy, commitment, and passion.