True love may just be all in your head

From: D. den Otter (
Date: Fri Jul 07 2000 - 14:29:05 MDT

Interesting research. Of course, this kind of thing should be done on a
*much* larger scale; that would really help us to understand the brain.
Also, maybe it's time for us rational transhumanist types to get less
romantic about love, and see it for what it really is; a dangerous,
anti-individualistic, anti-intellectual addiction which (presumably) only
serves the "interests" of "blind, selfish genes", not your own enlightened
self-interest. Being in love is about as "transhuman" as smoking crack.
"But if feels so good"...Yeah, sure it does, JUNKIE! To quote from the

  "These ["love"] parts of the brain are also the parts which are active in
    euphoric states generated by exogenous substances such as cocaine,"
    noted research partner Dr. Zeki. "Romantic love is to for many people,
    at any rate, intoxicating."

There's obviously nothing wrong with "feeling intoxicated/euphoric"
(feeling good is more or less the interim meaning of life, after all), but
such states should only be generated in a highly controlled, emotionally
autonomous mental structure. Anyway, here's the article...

    July 6, 2000
    True love may just be all in your head
    By Jennifer Harper

         The mystery of love has fueled prim poesy and purple prose alike
    over the eons. Now it has inspired a pair of methodical British
    neurologists who believe they can tell if someone is truly, madly and
    deeply in love.
         Forget tender looks, pounding hearts and sweet talk.
         These love doctors believe the lovey-dovey instinct is all in the
    brain the medial insula, the anterior cingulate, the striatum and the
    prefrontal cortex to be exact.
         According to a research paper released yesterday, Drs. Semir Zeki
    and Andreas Bartels of the University College London managed to get 17
    love-struck volunteers to be still long enough for a brain scan, under
    decidedly unromantic circumstances.
         Each volunteer was hooked up to a lie detector, then shown a
    photograph of his or her beloved. The same four regions of the brain
    lit up on the scans of each giddy subject, and those spots were quite
         The regions are associated with gut feelings, a sense of reward,
    euphoria and depression certainly the hallmarks of love, if song and
    story are to be believed.
         "We were really struck by how clear cut the activity was," noted
    Dr. Bartels. "It's not surprising that we got a response in those
    particular parts of the brain."
         Each test subject then was shown a photo of a friend, and sure
    enough, the pal did not register any big spikes of activity.
         There were no significant differences between men and women in
    the experiment though the ladies were far more eager to participate
    than the gents.
         The two doctors placed ads and distributed posters to recruit
    their volunteers, who were required to be "head over heels in love."
    They were "inundated" by women, and eventually chose 11 women and six
    men as test subjects.
         The researchers, who also have studied the workings of artistic
    brains, presented their findings at a meeting of neurobiologists. They
    may have interesting plans for their material, though.
         "I'm convinced that we can use it as a test for love," Dr.
    Bartels said. "However, it's rather an expensive one."
         Of course, love has fascinated a few other academes over the
         More than 20 years ago, psychologist Elaine Hatfield queried the
    young and restless at three universities to discover that most fretted
    their "real" love might be mere infatuation.
         Yale University researcher Robert Sternberg probed the very
    "psychology of love" and came up with a half-dozen varieties of the
    experience. Still another researcher found that people eased, rather
    than fell, into love, mostly because they were terrified of the
    prospect of admitting they cared.
         Clinical psychologists Carl Hundy and Susan Vonderheide,
    meanwhile, have identified all sorts of alarming lovelorn states,
    including "romantic anxiety," "insecure love" and "jealous obsession."
         And love is a veritable cottage industry in the pop-psychology
    world, which revolves around permutations of those who pursue or are
         The new English study, though, is the first to objectively chart
    the real effects of romance on the brain, through magnetic resonance
    imaging in this case.
         "These parts of the brain are also the parts which are active in
    euphoric states generated by exogenous substances such as cocaine,"
    noted research partner Dr. Zeki. "Romantic love is to for many people,
    at any rate, intoxicating."

Do You Yahoo!?
Talk to your friends online with Yahoo! Messenger.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Mon Oct 02 2000 - 17:34:08 MDT