Tuesday, November 12, 2013

URSP Student Nicolle Graham Researches if Cultural Differences between Intercultural Couples Effect Satisfaction and Commitment in the Relationship

        Race, religion and ethnicity are three aspects of a human being that have lead to persecution, misunderstanding, and debate ever since mankind could reason and analyze. A misunderstanding, or fear, of someone who looks or behaves differently is one of the main causes of events such as the Holocaust, Apartheid, and even Terrorism. Yet amazingly, despite these “differences,” some people choose to look past them, embrace them, and love them, especially in a romantic relationship.

In my honors thesis, I am attempting to answer why these individuals choose to interculturally date. Do those who date outside of their culture, have a more satisfied and committed relationship in which they are attracted to their partner and content in that relationship, or do opposites attract?

 Being in an intercultural relationship myself caused me to question the very foundation of our love. My boyfriend, a Hispanic, was born in the United States, but both of his parents were not. I, myself, have grown up with few cultural customs other then that of a typical American, and yet despite the huge differences in ethnic beliefs, we are able to mold our two cultures and belief systems together to make our relationship work. In my opinion, the strong differences between us are what fascinate and draw me to him the most. This is the reason for my research on the topic; I seek to discover whether a couple’s differences in culture draw them together or apart, in other words, are we the rule or the exception.

In the future I would love get a PhD in Psychology, specifically human development and see how culture effects the learning process, the ability to form close interpersonal relationships, and its effect on romantic involvement. This honors thesis has helped me learn the research process in a way that not many undergraduate students get the pleasure of experiencing. Nothing has been more exciting than collecting and analyzing my data to see what exactly my results are and how they compare to my hypotheses. The results, whether significant or not, make the whole process worth it in the end.