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Keywords:

  • love as an independent variable;
  • implicit/explicit theories;
  • personal relationships

Previous research about love, in the social-psychological literature, has focused on the antecedents, or causes, of love. Moreover, within the field of Personal Relationships, love is often regarded as implicitly present, and thus, is not treated directly. Here, we address the possibility of a reversal of this perspective, where love is no longer treated as a dependent variable but as an independent variable. We show that this change is necessary to promote the status of love to that of a reliable object of scientific enquiry. We discuss the differences between scientific and naïve conceptions of love, and the necessity of distinguishingbetween an alleged reality of love and the consequences of the mere idea of love.