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This is Your Brain on...Love?

This study ( explains the differences in people’s brain when they’re in love and when they’ve been rejected, and the differences in the brain between being in love and experiencing lust. They found a couple of surprising things – first, that brains in love and brains in lust actually look very different, exposing the fact that love and lust are stimulated in different parts of the brain. This study also found that “When you fall in love exactly the same system becomes active as when you take cocaine. You can feel intense elation when you're in love. You can feel intense elation when you're high on cocaine.”

Love and lust are also connected in the brain through hormones. The study explains, “People in love have elevated levels of dopamine. Lots of dopamine, in turn, triggers the production of testosterone, which is responsible for the sex drive in both men and women.”

And, provocatively, the study explores differences between the male and female brain when experiencing love/lust. “The men had quite a bit more activity in the brain region that integrates visual stimuli…women in love had more activity than men in the areas of the brain that govern memories.”

This is a direct connection between brain and behavior. It seems to me there are a lot of other unexplained elements in this study. Is this connection the same for familial love? Pet love? Admiration/infatuation love? What would happen if people lied during this study? I wonder if people will eventually use this kind of brain imaging to find out if people “truly” love them.


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