New Study: Are Love Languages Backed By Science?

February 6, 2024

The message delivered to the public could then be that instead of there being only one key thing that people need to do to make their partner feel loved, people should make sure they have a nutritionally balanced relationship …

The main takeaway in a paper published by relationship scientists from York University and the University of Toronto, which focused on the “scientific accuracy” of the “five love languages.”

Important Context: The love language theory originated more than 30 years ago when a Baptist pastor, Gary Chapman, published a book with five different ways people express and receive love. (The languages: words of affirmation, quality time, gifts, acts of service, and physical touch.)

Why It Matters: Researchers published a paper in January that concluded the popular love languages concept cannot be backed up by extensive empirical evidence. The paper suggests that more than five ways to receive and express love exist, and that people do not operate with a primary love language. The researchers conclude, “although popular lay theories might have people believe that there is a simple formula for cultivating lasting love, empirical research shows that successful relationships require that partners have a comprehensive understanding of one another’s needs and put in the effort to respond to those needs.”

Chapman’s Response: “I’m not a researcher. But I do think that there are significant numbers of people over the 30 years who have found that concept to be the thing that turned their marriage around emotionally.”

Read More:

Does your ‘love language’ really matter? Scientists are skeptical. (The Washington Post)

Love languages are fake, scientists say (Mashable)

by Emily Hooker, based in Texas