On falling in love in conformance with the romantic ideal

Abstract

Eighty-five subjects (single, married, and divorced) completed an anonymous questionnaire describing their attitudes toward, and experiences with, romantic love. Included in the questionnaire was a description of the romantic “ideal,” and subjects were asked to rate how closely their most and least intense experiences of love conformed to this paradigm case. Approximately equal numbers of subjects indicated that their most intense experience either did (N=34) or did not (N=33) conform closely to the romantic ideal. The conformity did not vary as a function of age, sex, or marital status. There was a small but significant (.31) correlation between favorable attitudes toward the romantic ideal and having an experience that conformed to that ideal. The circumstances most frequently mentioned as conducive to falling romantically in love were the appearance of the loved one and a chance meeting. The results are discussed in terms of the social role of romantic love.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

References

  1. Averill, J. R. An analysis of psychophysiological symbolism and its influence on theories of emotion.Journal for the Theory of Social Behavior 1974,4 147–190.

    Google Scholar 

  2. Averill, J. R. Emotion and anxiety: Sociocultural, biological, and psychological determinants. In M. Zuckerman & C. D. Spielberger (Eds.),Emotions and anxiety: New concepts, methods, and applications New York: LEA-John Wiley, 1976.

    Google Scholar 

  3. Berscheid, E., & Walster, E. Physical attractiveness. In L. Berkowitz (Ed.),Advances in experimental social psychology (Vol. 7). New York: Academic Press, 1974.

    Google Scholar 

  4. Burgess, E. W., & Wallin, P.Engagement and marriage. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1953.

    Google Scholar 

  5. Draper, N. R., & Smith, H.Applied regression analysis. New York: Wiley, 1966.

    Google Scholar 

  6. Eysenck, H. J.The scientific study of personality. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1952.

    Google Scholar 

  7. Finn, J. D.General model for multivariate analysis. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1974.

    Google Scholar 

  8. Greenfield, S. M. Love and marriage in modern America: A functional analysis.Sociological Quarterly 1965,6 361–377.

    Google Scholar 

  9. Huston, T. L. (Ed.),Foundations of interpersonal attraction. New York: Academic Press, 1974.

    Google Scholar 

  10. Jung, C. G.Psychological types. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, 1933.

    Google Scholar 

  11. Kilpatrick, W., The demythologizing of love.Adolescence 1974,9 25–30.

    Google Scholar 

  12. Knox, D. H., Jr., & Sporakowski, M. J. Attitudes of college students toward love.Journal of Marriage and the Family 1968,30 638–642.

    Google Scholar 

  13. Money, J., & Ehrhardt, A. A.,Man & woman, boy & girl. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1972.

    Google Scholar 

  14. Murstein, B. I.Love, sex, and marriage through the ages. New York: Springer, 1974.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Otto, H. A. (Ed.),Love today New York: Association Press, 1972.

    Google Scholar 

  16. Peters, R. S. Emotions and the category of passivity.Aristotelian Society Proceedings 1962,62 117–134.

    Google Scholar 

  17. Rubin, Z.Liking and loving. New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1973.

    Google Scholar 

  18. Schafer, R.A new language for psychoanalysis. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1976.

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to James R. Averill.

Additional information

This research was supported, in part, by a grant (MH 22299) from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Averill, J.R., Boothroyd, P. On falling in love in conformance with the romantic ideal. Motiv Emot 1, 235–247 (1977). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00998862

Download citation

Keywords

  • Marital Status
  • Social Psychology
  • Social Role
  • Favorable Attitude
  • Paradigm Case