What is love?

A construct is a concept that everyone in a field agrees exists but is not directly observable. To measure a construct, one must decide what criteria by which to judge the presence or absence of the construct. As love is not directly measurable, it is a construct. In order to measure a construct we must first define it. My definition of love for this work will be taken from Robert J. Sternberg’s article Triangular Theory of Love. This theory states that love has three components, intimacy, passion and decision or commitment. The amount and type of love that one receives depends on the amounts and proportions of these qualities relative to each other. These amounts and proportions give rise to 8 different categories as is referenced in the following table.


Taxonomy of Kinds of Love



Kind of Love







Infatuated Love


Empty Love



Romantic Love



Companionate Love



Fatuous Love



Consumate Love




Note: += component present; -=component absent




The Evaluation of Love : Simplified Version of the Scales for Yela’s Tetrangular Model Based on Sternberg’s Model  . Yela, Carlos; European Journal of Psychological Assessment. Vol. 22(1) 2006. pp. 21-27.


Dimensions of the Prototype of Love  . Aron, Arthur; Westbay, Lori; Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. Vol. 70(3) March 1996. pp. 535-551.


A Triangular Theory of Love  . Sternberg, Robert J.; Psychological Review. Vol. 93(2) April 1986. pp. 119-135.



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