Investigating Love’s Universal Attributes: A Research Report From China

William Jankowiak, Yifei Shen, Shiyu Yao, Cancan Wang, Shelly Volsche

Research output: Journal Article or Conference Article in JournalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


There are no cognitive studies of love conducted in an Asian culture. Our study is the first to probe the cognitive qualities that urban Chinese youth associate with what it means to be in love. To this end, we build on de Munck et al.’s pioneering studies in two European cultures (Russia, Lithuanian) and in the United States. Expanding on their study, we used a similar questionnaire that also includes additional questions designed to probe the youth of urban China’s perception and understanding of romantic love as an emotional and psychological force. We found that Chinese youths’ responses are similar to the Euro-American five core findings that all individuals, regardless of gender, experience when “in love.” These core attributes are as follows: “I will do anything for the person I love” (or altruism), “I constantly think about the person I am in love with” (or intrusive thinking), “romantic love is the supreme happiness of life” (or self-actualization), my “love makes my partner stronger and a better person,” (or emotional fulfillment), and “sexual attraction is necessary for love” (biology).
Original languageEnglish
JournalCross-Cultural Research
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)422-436
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2015
Externally publishedYes


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