Nature vs. Nurture: Do Our Cultural Backgrounds or Personal Preferences More Heavily Affect the Way We Verbally Affirm Our Romantic Partners?

Tina Festekdjian, Krunali Mehta, Mark Keosian, Tatiana Akopyan

Do you ever wonder why people belonging to different cultures express love differently in their romantic relationships? Are they accustomed to verbal or nonverbal forms of affirmation, and does this carry on throughout generations? This study explores why and how second-generation college students living in Los Angeles who identify as Latin American, Asian American, or American verbally affirm their partners, as we were curious to see if culture may cause communicative differences in relationships. Whether words of affirmation can be attributed to the way people were raised, their cultural habits, or their personal preferences, the population we studied displayed an interesting trend: individuals are less heavily influenced by their culture, and the majority (66.7%) are more likely to follow their personal preferences when expressing love. While the minority (33.3%) displayed cultural allegiance, we generally noticed that one’s culture is not the leading contributor to how they express love – possibly due to the generational shift that embodies independence, socialization, and even Americanization. We can conclude that our target population is perhaps more open-minded, individualistic, and willing to break cultural barriers for love to embody their own preferences. Breaking barriers can make students more comfortable to approach others, adapt to new love languages, and better learn how to express love verbally.

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