Dr. Katherine Aumer, an assistant professor of Psychology at the University of Hawai‘i–West O‘ahu — along with current students and alum from UH West O‘ahu and other universities — recently published their latest research on love and hate in an international psychology journal.
The research article, “Mixed-methods analysis of cultural influences on the attitudes of love and hate,” was published on March 3 in the “Current Psychology” journal, an international forum for rapid dissemination of peer-reviewed research at the cutting edge of psychology.
Through implementing a mixed-methods approach and gathering data from four different countries, Aumer and the other researchers found that religious and cultural influences shape the attitudes and expressions of love and hate. The students who worked on the project are from a variety of places, including Hawai‘i, Japan, Thailand, and Sweden.
“This research contributes to the broadening of emotions science by focusing on the influence that culture has on the construction, experience, and attitudes of love and hate,” Aumer said.
Love and hate, although universally present across many cultures, is not necessarily perceived the same across all groups, she said.
“While some, for example in the U.S. and Sweden, may be excited to fall in love and see love as extremely positive, others like in Thailand and Japan may have a more moderate view and even feel a little sad when someone falls in love; knowing that heartbreak or suffering may follow,” Aumer said. “Similarly, hate, although viewed negatively by the groups sampled, may be informed by the unique histories, stories, and tragedies each cultural group has experienced.”
Aumer continued, “These findings can contribute to a better understanding of cultural differences and expectations, especially in diverse situations.”
Currently, Aumer is working with UH West O‘ahu students and alum, including Kristin Gray, Noah Fugett, and Ke‘ala Ford, to investigate the influence of Hawaiian history and culture on the attitudes and expressions of love and hate.