Role of culture in the formation and maintainance of relationships
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Role of Culture in the formation and maintainance of relationships. How would you feel if your parents picked your boyfriend / girlfriend?. How would you feel if your parents picked your boyfriend / girlfriend? How about if they insisted on picking the person you marry?.

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Arranged marraiges
Arranged Marraiges girlfriend?




Buss 1994
Buss (1994) answer the questions.

  • Read the handout on Buss’ cross-cultural study of relationships.

  • Write a yellow study sheet on Buss (1994).


Cultural differences in relationships

L12 answer the questions.

Cultural Differences in Relationships


Cultural differences in relationships1
Cultural Differences in Relationships answer the questions.

  • Individualist and collectivist cultures research:-

    • Goodwin (1995 )

    • Romantic love (Levine et al. 1995 )

    • Voluntary and involuntary relationships (Shaver et al., 1991 ) found that Chinese attitude to romantic love is that it causes pain and sorrow rather than excitement and satisfaction.

    • Romantic love valued more in the US and Germany than Japan (Simmons et al. 1986)

    • Moghaddam (1993)

  • Differences found by this and other research:-

  • INDIVIDUALISTTIC

  • Based on romantic love (on being in love. Individual chooses partner. (Levine et al 1995)

  • Love seen as essential to a happy marriage.

  • In general people have a large number of superficial friendships.

  • COLLECTIVIST

  • Arranged by family on basis of social status. (Levine et al 1995)

  • Romantic love not seen as basis for a decision to marry.

  • In general people have fewer but very close friendships. (Goodwin 1995)


Evaluation of cross cultural studies
Evaluation of Cross Cultural Studies answer the questions.

  • Comparisons are rather simplistic. The divide between collectivist and individualistic cultures is rather crude and the differences are not entirely clear-cut. E.g. Even in cultures in which marriages are arranged there is some degree of individual choice ( they are not forced marriages) and in individualistic societies parents and social groups do have a strong (if more subtle) influence on peoples choice of spouse.

  • Cross-cultural research is riddled with problems. It is very difficult for psychologists from one culture to appreciate the complexities of another culture.

  • They tend to concentrate on the relationship of the couple (a western view) but ignore kinship (family relationships) which are extremely important in collectivist societies, therefore they present a biased view.


Other cultural variations
Other Cultural Variations answer the questions.

  • Physical attributes

    (Long necked

    ‘Karen’ Tribe women

    China small feet etc)

  • Cross-cultural differences in preference

    for female body shape

    • Anderson et al. (1992)

      heavy women are preferred to slender

      women in the great majority of cultures

      where food supply is unreliable

  • Monogamy and polygamy


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