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Irreplaceable? Competition in relationships leads to more passion

A team of Japanese researchers has determined that Americans are more passionate toward their significant others than Japanese people. The experts suggest that this is due to the fact that Americans live in a social environment where individuals have the options of both choosing and replacing romantic partners.

A growing collection of studies has found that people in North America are generally more passionate than East Asians, including the Japanese and the Chinese. This seems to contradict the idea that East Asians are more codependent than Americans, who are typically regarded as being individualistic and independent.

While monogamy is a common goal in today’s society, long-term relationships are faced with the conflict between maintaining a relationship and looking for a more attractive partner. The research team, which was led by Ph.D. student Junko Yamada and Professor Masaki Yuki of Hokkaido University, focused the study on the theory that Americans are living with the constant fear of being cheated on or left for someone new due to their greater freedom to choose and replace their partners.

The experts were also working under the assumption that passion will promote the behavior of giving partners more attention and affection, while proactively ignoring any advances from another potential partner in order to give a romantic partner reassurance.

In Japan, however, relationships tend to be more stable and hard to change, and people have less risk and anxiety of being cheated on or being rejected. According to the researchers, this makes passionate behavior less important.

For their investigation, the experts surveyed 154 Americans and 103 Japanese people online. The participants answered questions which were designed to measure how they perceived their romantic relational mobility and the intensity of passion that they felt toward their partners. The individuals were also asked how likely they would be to practice various commitment behaviors when forming a relationship.

The study revealed that Americans were more passionate toward their partners due to higher relational mobility in their society. The research team also found that the more passionate an individual was, the more likely they would be abundantly affectionate and loyal. The findings of this study are important to experts as a guide in understanding interpersonal human emotions.

“For humans, it is imperative to win and keep a good mating partner, which is a basic adaptive issue. Our study showed the importance of considering socio-ecological factors when studying human mating behavior. Also, it suggested you should be more passionate and give your partner special attention when they have more freedom to choose,” said Professor Yuki. “However, further studies involving other nationalities and cultural backgrounds should be conducted before generalizing our results.”

By Chrissy Sexton, Staff Writer

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