Do people agree on what makes one feel loved? A cognitive psychometric approach to the consensus on felt love


This pragmatic study examines love as a mode of communication. Our focus is on the receiver side: what makes an individual feel loved and how felt love is defined through daily interactions. Our aim is to explore everyday life scenarios in which people might experience love, and to consider people's converging and diverging judgments about which scenarios indicate felt love. We apply a cognitive psychometric approach to quantify a receiver's ability to detect, understand, and know that they are loved. Through crowd-sourcing, we surveyed lay participants about whether various scenarios were indicators of felt love. We thus quantify these responses to make inference about consensus judgments of felt love, measure individual levels of agreement with consensus, and assess individual response styles. More specifically, we (1) derive consensus judgments on felt love; (2) describe its characteristics in qualitative and quantitative terms, (3) explore individual differences in both (a) participant agreement with consensus, and (b) participant judgment when uncertain about shared knowledge, and (4) test whether individual differences can be meaningfully linked to explanatory variables. Results indicate that people converge towards a shared cognitive model of felt love. Conversely, respondents showed heterogeneity in knowledge of consensus, and in dealing with uncertainty. We found that, when facing uncertainty, female respondents and people in relationships more frequently judge scenarios as indicators of felt love. Moreover, respondents from smaller households tend to know more about consensus judgments of felt love, while respondents from larger households are more willing to guess when unsure of consensus.


    title   = {{D}o people agree on what makes one feel loved? {A} cognitive psychometric approach to the consensus on felt love},
    author  = {Oravecz, Zita and Muth, Chelsea and Vandekerckhove, Joachim},
    year    = {2016},
    journal = {PLoS ONE},
    volume  = {11},
    pages   = {e0152803}