Rubin’s scales of liking and loving provided support for his theory of love. In a study to determine if the scales actually differentiated between liking and loving, Rubin asked a number of participants to fill out his questionnaires based upon how they felt both about their partner and a good friend. The results revealed that good friends scored high on the liking scale, but only significant others rated high on the scales for loving.
In his research, Rubin identified a number of characteristics that distinguished between different degrees of romantic love. For example, he found that participants who rated high on the love scale also spent a great deal more time gazing into each other’s eyes as compared to those who rated only as weakly in love.
Love is not a concrete concept and is therefore difficult to measure. However, Rubin’s scales of liking and loving offer a way to measure the complex feeling of love. In 1958, psychologist Harry Harlow suggested that “so far as love or affection is concerned, psychologists have failed in their mission. The little we know about love does not transcend simple observation, and the little we write about it has been written better by poets and novelists.”
Rubin’s researched marked an important step forward in our understanding of romantic love and paved the way for future research on this fascinating topic.