What is it about?

Agape love is a moral virtue in which a person willingly and unconditionally offers goodness, at a cost to the giver, to another or others in need. Because this under-researched ancient concept has implications for harmonious relationships and for good mental health, accurate measures of agape are needed to assess the degree to which a person understands and practices it.

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Why is it important?

Agape love is under-researched in the social sciences and is unexplored in the therapeutic sciences. We do our best to carefully explain what agape love is and is not so that accurate measures of this important construct can be developed.


Although positive psychology has made advances over the past two decades, one of the central moral virtues, agape love, has not received the attention in the social sciences that it deserves. Agape love, or serving others even when it is challenging to do so, has the potential to enhance relationships and assist those who practice this moral virtue to grow in character.

Robert Enright
Department of Educational Psychology, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: The philosophy and social science of agape love., Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology, March 2022, American Psychological Association (APA),
DOI: 10.1037/teo0000202.
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