Falling in Love and Passionate Love in an Iranian Sample


  • Suzanne Riela
  • Hafez Bajoghli
  • Xiaomeng (Mona) Xu Orcid
  • Vahid Farnia
  • Sanobar Golshani
  • Jalal Shakeri


Romantic relationships and passionate love are topics of perennial interest to scientists and the lay public alike. While there is evidence of romantic love across many cultures, with some suggesting it is a universal human experience, the majority of research has been conducted in Western countries (e.g., the U.S.). When other cultures have been researched, the focus has typically been on Eastern countries (e.g., Japan). Much less is known about love experiences in countries such as Iran. The current study sought to address this gap and assessed 220 Iranian students. Participants completed a set of measures (translated into Farsi) and reported both qualitatively and quantitatively about love experiences (e.g., narrative account of their most recent falling in love experience, ratings about their relationship if they were currently in one). The majority of participants reported having fallen in love, although this was a notably smaller proportion (55%) than seen in past research. Similarly, content-analysis of narratives revealed fewer instances of 12 common precursors to falling in love found in past samples, though Iranian participants did highly endorse precursors when explicitly asked about them. Those in a relationship reported passionate love and high levels of closeness to their partner. This study highlights the need for additional love research in under-studied cultures, including research that can elucidate whether these results are due to actual differences in experiences, differences in reporting norms, third variables, or some combination.