Motivation and emotion/Book/2018/Love and anger

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Love and anger:
What is the relationship between love and anger?

Overview[edit | edit source]

In the field of psychology, there has been no clear definition of emotion due to the wide variety of descriptions that have been created (Kleinginna & Kleinginna, 1981). The most frequently used definition defines emotion as a complex state of feeling that results in physical, physiological and psychological changes, influencing thoughts and behaviours of an individual (Raine, Dawson, Sanders, & Eccles, 2014, p. 162); although in some minds, emotion is a phenomenon that it is impossible to define (English & English, 1958). Of the growing number of researched emotions, two that are shown to have a strong interaction are love and anger. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, love is defined as a “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties” ("Love," 2016) and anger is defined as a “strong feeling of displeasure and usually of antagonism” ("Anger," 2016). This chapter will demonstrate how these two seemingly opposing emotions have strong connections with each other.

How can specific emotion theories and research help?[edit | edit source]

There is a large bulk of research conducted into researching love and anger theories, particularly in research that is used to predict determinants of certain aspects of these emotions. Each theory will have aspects in it that relate to both love and anger, which assists in determining a more definite relationship between the two emotions. This relationship will be discussed in the specific breakdowns of the theories. The importance of research is that it can show further relationships, and also open up avenues that need to be investigated further. The next section will investigate the theories of love and anger and how they can interact with each other.

Relevant theories of love[edit | edit source]

There are two very prominent theories of love that have been developed: [Provide more detail]

Colour wheel theory of love[edit | edit source]

Figure 1 - Colour Wheel Theory of Love (Lee, 1976)

The Colour Wheel Theory of Love is a theory that defines the six types of love based on the Greek words for love (Lee, 1976). The theory separates primary love from secondary types of love on a colour wheel (Figure 1). The 6 types as defined by Lee (1973) are shown below:

Primary types of love[edit | edit source]

  • Eros – A romantic and passionate love where love is the most important part about life. Typically, Eros lovers are not possessive of their partner, despite being exclusive. Represented by red on the colour wheel.
  • Ludus – A typically uncommitted love where lying and deception is a big factor. People who fall in the Ludus category treat love as a game, but also enjoy spending time with their partner. Represented by blue on the colour wheel.
  • Storge – A friendship-based love that grows from common interest, typically found in families. It is believed that this type of love leads to a long-lasting relationship according to Lee (1973). Represented by yellow on the colour wheel.

Secondary types of love[edit | edit source]

  • Pragma – A typically unromantic relationship that benefits both people, borne out of convenience. They believe that to have a happy life, a loving relationship is important and also expect feelings to be reciprocated by the other person. Represented as green on the colour wheel, shows a mix between Ludus and Storge.
  • Mania – This type of love is extreme with feelings of jealousy and obsessiveness spread throughout the relationship. Similar to Pragma, Manic lovers expect reciprocity, however the manic sometimes forces their partner into showing their feelings. Represented as purple on the colour wheel, shows an interaction between Ludus and Eros.
  • Agape – This is the strongest and rarest form of love. A selfless love where the partner is the most important part. People that have this type of love are loyal, patient and will make sacrifices to make their partner happy. It is represented on the colour as orange, as it is a mix between Eros and Storge.

A further 9 tertiary types of love were created which shows a connection between primary and secondary types of love, however, there has been no substantial evidence to distinguish one from another (Lee, 1973, p. 156).

There is a large amount of research to support this theory. Hendrick, Hendrick & Sarason (1986) conducted a study to test the validity of the Colour Wheel Theory. They found that the love attitude scales that they created based off the theory were a sound scale and valid way of measuring love. Research has also been conducted on which types of love are more prominent in real life relationships. Eros was typically linked to couples that were happily married (Gana, Saada & Untas, 2013), with males scoring significantly higher than females on the Love Attitude Scale (Woll, 1989). Males are also more likely to show ludic love, and females most likely to display pragmatic or storgic love (Hendrick, Hendrick, Slapion-Foote & Foote, 1985). It was also shown that cross-culturally, Mania, Agape and Eros showed no differences, whereas Pragma and Storge showed cross-cultural differences (Neto et al., 2000).

This theory was an integral part of creating Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Love (Sternberg, 1988).

Triangular theory of love[edit | edit source]

The Triangular Theory of Love suggests that there are three components of love; intimacy, passion, and commitment (Sternberg, 1988). These three components were defined by Sternberg (1997) as:

  • Intimacy – “feelings of closeness, connectedness, and bondedness in loving relationships”
  • Passion – “the drive that leads to romance, physical attraction, sexual consummation, and related phenomena in loving relationships”
  • Commitment – “the decision that one loves a certain other” (short-term) and “one’s commitment to maintain that love” (long-term)

This theory was borne out of two other theories of love. The first being the Colour Wheel Theory of Love, discussed above (Lee, 1976). Like Lee’s theory, Sternberg’s triangle has a combination of the three main components to produce different forms of love. The second is the Theory of Liking vs. Loving (Rubin & McGuire, 1970). This theory suggests that attachment, caring and intimacy are the determinants of whether a person likes or loves another person; if someone has a desire for intimacy and cares about their partner as they care about themselves, it is love.

Figure 2 - Triangular Theory of Love (Sternberg, 1988)

Figure 2 shows Sternberg’s Triangle (1988), with each point representing the different components, each showing a specific type of love. Intimate love is known as warm love and is the love where both individuals feel high regard for each other. Passionate love is known as hot love, as it is based on the attraction to each other and the arousal that comes from it. Committed love is cold love, as it is for people who are looking for long-term commitment, however, this is possible without passion or intimacy (Acker & Davis, 1992).

The triangle has a few features in it that determine the features of love. Firstly, the size of the triangle is related to the size of the love in the relationship. If it is a small triangle, the love is only small, and vice versa. Another factor is the type of love shown in each corner of the triangle, with different combinations of each creating a different type of love. Finally, the shape of the triangle determines the type of love that is present in the relationship (Figure 2). Rothwell (2010, p. 224) defined these types of love shown below:

  • Non-love – None of the three types of love are apparent in this form, thus no relationship.
  • Liking – Most common in friends, where intimacy is present, but the other two forms of love are lacking.
  • Infatuation – Present in young relationships, where passion is present without the other two forms of love.
  • Empty Love – The state of the relationship where commitment is present, but with no other forms of love, common in arranged marriages.
  • Romantic Love – Intimacy and passion are both present, without the need for commitment. Common in relationships such as a one-night stand.
  • Companionate Love – Intimacy and commitment are both present, however, there is no passion. This love describes anything from close friends to family members' love for each other
  • Fatuous Love – This type of love displays passion and commitment, but with a lack of intimacy. Most commonly known as “love at first sight”.
  • Consummate Love – This is the goal type of love that relationships aim to achieve. They are completely consumed with each other, and display intimacy, passion and commitment to each other. This is not necessarily a permanent type of love but can be found in long-term relationships.

There has been a range of support for this theory in the literature showing that aspects of Sternberg’s Triangle (1988) are viable. Acker & David (1992) conducted a study to test the validity of it. They highlighted that there were three main limitations of this study; sample size, ways of measures being assessed and the distinction between levels of love. In their study, they looked at an older and wider spread of the population than Sternberg’s sample group to test Sternberg’s results across many relationship variants. They found that the love experience that individuals and couples face is different for everybody, so the triangle can give no definite answers as to what style of love you have. They proposed that the triangle should be separated into three triangles; perceived, real and ideal. The perceived triangle shows an individual’s perception of how their partner views their relationship, the real indicating how they believe their relationship is progressing, and ideal showing the qualities an individual believes are ideal for their relationship. They believe that the triangles should match for both individuals in a relationship, or there is a potential for dissatisfaction to occur (Acker & David, 1992). The limitations suggested by Acker & David (1992) are still being critiqued and assessed in research today (Lomas, 2018).

How do these theories of love relate to each other?[edit | edit source]

Although these two theories seem separate in many respects, there are many common themes that link them together. The main link between the two is the innate need for intimacy. Based on the description, the Storge love style (Lee, 1976) is very similar to the compassionate love (Sternberg, 1988). This shows that there is a desire to be attached and intimate to family members and very close friends. Another obvious connection is between consummate love and the Agape love style. They are both described as the goal style of love that a healthy, loving relationship should strive for. Finally, it can be argued that aspects of the Eros love style, such as passion and the need for commitment, and the phenomenon of love at first sight are present in fatuous love. This significantly helps the validity of each individual theory, as these aspects are common among the two, as well as some other theories such as Evolutionary Attachment Theory (Bowlby, 1957).

Relevant theories of anger[edit | edit source]

There are also two prominent theories of anger, one of which is broken up into three separate models:

Recalibrational theory of anger[edit | edit source]

The recalibrational theory of anger (Sell, 2011) was created to determine what causes violent anger and aggression. This theory suggests that anger is regulated by the Welfare Tradeoff Ratio (Tooby, Cosmides, Sell, Lieberman & Szyncer, 2008), which is a ratio of how much an individual is willing to trade the welfare of another individual to benefit themselves. So, if the Welfare Tradeoff Ratio (WTR) is too low towards an individual, anger will be energised. This is caused by factors such as insults and insufficient reciprocity.

Insults can include comments about physical strength, sexuality, intelligence and group reliability (Sell, 2011). If someone perceives you as less than you think you are (i.e. believing you are less intelligent), then that person displays a lower WTR towards you than they would if they knew that you were intelligent (Sell, Tooby & Cosmides, 2009). Insults are a very common trigger of aggression (Geen, 1998), and can lead to events such as assault, due to the increased aggression (Felson, 1982). There are also gender differences present between which insults elicit anger and aggression. Males are particularly receptive to insults about muscle strength, which is shown cross-culturally (von Rueden, Gurven & Kaplan, 2008). Females are more likely to be insulted by comments about their attractiveness (Harris, 1993). Harris (1993) also found that men are provoked by insults that make them seem cowardly.

Reciprocity is where an act is conducted to help another person or animal and expecting something in return for the assistance (Trivers, 1971). The WTR for reciprocity can raise or lower depending on the return an individual gets from the assistance. For example, if there is no return, the ratio will be low, causing anger towards the individual who is not reciprocating. (Smith, Pedersen, Forster, McCullough, Lieberman, 2017). It is apparent in non-human mammals, such as bats sharing blood (Wilkinson, 1984), that the reciprocity system has different guidelines from species to species, as it is more kin-directed in species like bats (Silk, et al., 2005). Further testing in this area is required to determine the effect on humans.

This theory is still relatively new and has had very little research conducted on it. Further investigation is required to adequately assess the reliability and validity of the theory.

Theory of anger components[edit | edit source]

This theory has three basic models; structure-orientated, process-orientated and hierarchical structure-orientated.

Structure-orientated model of anger components[edit | edit source]

This model (Figure 3a) of anger components suggests that an event triggers an emotion, in this case anger, which then triggers a range of responses. This model was created as emotions themselves had never been deeply tested before according to Barrett (2006), which is supported by Clore & Ortony (2000). It also shows some similarities to Russell’s model of psychological construction (2003). The structure-orientated model however, provides a broader categorisation, socially situated emotion concepts, and also suggests that the categorisation process is natural rather than attributional (Barrett, 2006). This increased detail makes the model more reliable.

Figure 3a - Structure-orientated model (Barrett, 2006) and Figure 3b - Process-orientated model (Frijda, 1986).

Process-orientated model of anger components[edit | edit source]

Alternatively, there is the process-orientated model developed by Frijda (1986). This model (Figure 3b) suggests that emotions expand over the course of time. After anger is elicited, the individual appraises it. This in turn causes a physiological arousal and an experienced affect. Further appraisal encourages the materialisation of some observable behaviours related to the emotion, such as yelling when you are angry. The primary and secondary self-control measures influence other components of the model to elicit greater responses to the emotion. There is very little research in relation to this theory, limiting its validity. However, there are studies that have assessed individual components, such as the appraisal related to the emotion (Dickson, Fogel & Messinger,1998). In this study, Dickson et al. (1998) also found that responses to certain encounters may be influenced by previous emotions, disrupting the flow of the model. However, apart from this theory, very little has been done to assess this model.

Hierarchical structure-orientated model of anger components[edit | edit source]

Figure 4 - Hierarchical structure-orientated model (Alonso-Arbiol, et al., 2011).

The hierarchical structure-orientated model (Alonso-Arbiol et al., 2011) was created to improve the statistical measures that were lacking in the process-orientated and structure-orientated models. This model (Figure 4) was based on the previous two models, also trying to counteract their limitations. The most notable change is that this model is applicable cross-culturally, free of any error variances. This model includes three latent variables; behavioural outcomes, processes and self-control mechanisms, and stemming off these are a further eight observed variables, as shown in Figure 4. According to the model, anger is driven primarily by the processes, and less so for the other latent variables. This model showed that verbal expressions had the greatest variability cross-culturally, and antecedents with the lowest amount of variability (Alonso-Arbiol et al., 2011). The results of the model may not be reliable, because the methods to obtain the measurements were via self-reports. Four major results were found by this model:

  1. Emotions are more likely to emerge when only one is being investigated,
  2. The production of an emotion is more likely when the same method of reporting is obtained,
  3. If cultural restrictions that can almost eradicate individual differences are limited, the emotion will be easier to elicit, and
  4. When emotions are assessed prototypically, the emotion is more likely to emerge.

Although the first three of these have very little supporting research, the fourth has had many studies find the same results, due to the dynamic nature of emotion (Carrera & Oceja, 2007).

How do these theories of anger relate to each other?[edit | edit source]

Between the three models of anger components, the results of the elicitation of emotions are all very similar, with processes such as the self-control in all of the models. The process of the recalibrational theory of anger (Sell, 2011) is also very similar to what the structure-oriented model (Barrett, 2006) suggests, with an event triggering anger, and in turn triggering a response such as violent aggression. Also, both the recalibrational theory and the hierarchical structure-oriented process (Alonso-Arbiol, et al., 2011) show results similar among most cultures. Finally, it can be argued that the process-orientated model’s (Frijda, 1986) primary and secondary self-control can enhance the reaction to triggers such as insults in the recalibrational theory.

Relationship between love and anger[edit | edit source]

Based on these 4 theories of love and anger, there is a strong relationship between these two opposing emotions. The most notable interaction is between the recalibrational theory of anger (Sell, 2011) and the Colour Wheel Theory of Love (Lee, 1976) and Triangular Theory of Love (Sternberg, 1988). One of the triggers of the recalibrational theory of anger is insufficient reciprocity. According to Lee (1976), Manic and Pragmatic lovers expect their partner to reciprocate feelings and can go as far as forcing them to do so. If this is not satisfied, this could cause anger in the relationship. Equally, in Sternberg’s theory, as suggested by Acker & Davis (1992) in their revised model of the three triangles, dissatisfaction can be caused by dissimilar triangles between the two partners in the relationship. This follows the structure-orientated model (Barrett, 2006) because the event of dissatisfaction may cause anger, and then in turn, any behavioural outcomes that may arise from the provocation of anger. This link may also be present in the other models of anger components, but the link is not as direct as it is in the structure-orientated model.

This link is also apparent in many aspects of the Triangular Theory of Love (Sternberg, 1988). According to Sternberg’s Triangular Theory of Hate (2003), hate is comprised of three components (similar to his theory of love); Negation of Intimacy, Passion and Commitment. These three components are obviously very similar to that of Love, with the only difference being negating intimacy rather than accepting it. This could mean that in love styles such as infatuated love, empty love, and fatuous love, that are lacking a need of intimacy, or completely discrediting it may cause hate or hostility between the partners. This hostility can then be linked back to the recalibrational theory of anger (Sell, 2011), as it may be a response to anger in some individuals.

Conclusion[edit | edit source]

Although this chapter only assessed two theories each of love and anger, there are an abundance of theories that try to explain these complex emotions. Despite this, there is very little research comparing the two emotions. The theories that were compared in this chapter all had similar features that proved that there is indeed a strong connection between the two theories of love and anger themselves, and even between the two emotions. More research is needed in some areas such as into the validity of theories such as the anger components models. As this further research is conducted, there is the potential for a more universal theory to be created, that can be used cross-culturally and over a wide variety of age groups.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

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Alonso-Arbiol, I., van de Vijver, F., Fernandez, I., Paez, D., Campos, M., Carerra, P., & Phelps, E. (2011). Implicit theories about interrelations of anger components in 25 countries. Emotion, 11, 1-11.

Anger. (2016). In Merriam-Webster's dictionary (11th ed.). Springfield MA.

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Bowlby, J. (1957). Symposium on the contribution of current theories to an understanding of child development. British Journal of Medical Psychology, 30(4), 230-240.

Carrera, P., & Oceja, L. (2007). Drawing mixed emotions: Sequential or simultaneous experiences? Cognition and Emotion, 21, 422-441.

Clore, G. L., & Ortony, A. (2000). Cognitive neuroscience of emotion. In R. D. Lane & L. Nadel (Eds.), Cognitive neuroscience of emotion (pp. 24 – 61). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.

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Sell, A. (2011). The recalibrational theory and violent anger Aggression and Violent Behaviour, 16, 381-389.

Sell, A., Tooby, J., & Cosmides, L. (2009). Formidability and the logic of human anger. Paper presented at the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science.

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External links[edit | edit source]