Humans are dependent on parental help for a large portion of their lifespans compared to other mammals. Love has therefore been seen as a mechanism to promote parental support of children for this extended time period.
These Harvard Medical School HMS professors and couples therapists study how love evolves and, too often, how it collapses. They have also been happily married for nearly four decades.
Is love an inherent universal feeling may well be one of the most studied, but least understood, behaviors.
More than 20 years ago, the biological anthropologist Helen Fisher studied societies and found evidence of romantic love—the kind that leaves one breathless and euphoric—in of them.
Her team analyzed 2, brain scans of college students who viewed pictures of someone special to them and compared the scans to ones taken when the students looked at pictures of acquaintances. Two of the brain regions that showed activity in the fMRI scans were the caudate nucleus, a region associated with reward detection and expectation and the integration of sensory experiences into social behavior, and the ventral tegmental area, which is associated with pleasure, focused attention, and the motivation to pursue and acquire rewards.
This circuit is considered to be a primitive neural network, meaning it is evolutionarily old; it links with the nucleus accumbens. Some of the other structures that contribute to the reward circuit—the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the prefrontal cortex—are exceptionally sensitive to and reinforcing of behavior that induces pleasure, such as sex, food consumption, and drug use.
These areas can stay lit up for a long time for some couples. As cortisol levels rise, levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin become depleted. Dopamine activates the reward circuit, helping to make love a pleasurable experience similar to the euphoria associated with use of cocaine or alcohol.
Scientific evidence for this similarity can be found in many studies, including one conducted at the University of California, San Francisco, and published in in Science. That study reported that male fruit flies that were sexually rejected drank four times as much alcohol as fruit flies that mated with female fruit flies.
Released during sex and heightened by skin-to-skin contact, oxytocin deepens feelings of attachment and makes couples feel closer to one another after having sex. Oxytocin, known also as the love hormone, provokes feelings of contentment, calmness, and security, which are often associated with mate bonding.
Vasopressin is linked to behavior that produces long-term, monogamous relationships. The differences in behavior associated with the actions of the two hormones may explain why passionate love fades as attachment grows. In addition to the positive feelings romance brings, love also deactivates the neural pathway responsible for negative emotions, such as fear and social judgment.
These positive and negative feelings involve two neurological pathways. The one linked with positive emotions connects the prefrontal cortex to the nucleus accumbens, while the other, which is linked with negative emotions, connects the nucleus accumbens to the amygdala.
When we are engaged in romantic love, the neural machinery responsible for making critical assessments of other people, including assessments of those with whom we are romantically involved, shuts down.
Lasting love If love lasts, this rollercoaster of emotions, and, sometimes, angst, calms within one or two years, said Schwartz. Cortisol and serotonin levels return to normal. Love, which began as a stressor to our brains and bodies, at leastbecomes a buffer against stress.“Individual cultures and ideologies have their appropriate uses but none of them erase or replace the universal experiences, like love and weeping and laughter, common to all human beings.” ― Aberjhani, Splendid Literarium: A Treasury of Stories, Aphorisms, Poems, and Essays.
Inherent definition, existing in someone or something as a permanent and inseparable element, quality, or attribute; inhering: an inherent distrust of strangers.
See more. Love Foundation was founded in by two students from Maastricht University and a designer in the Netherlands, and has by now organised events in the Netherlands, the US, Australia, Brazil, Israel, Spain, Germany, the UK, Italy, Portugal and France.
En-Love-enment THE CAVE OF THE HEART OR HEART SOUL CENTER In the center of our chest, just above the heart is the soul center that has also been called the Cave of the Heart, the High Heart, the the heart of the Soul, the spiritual heart center.
Universal love is God's elevator that can carry you to the heights of heaven. And lots of people try to take that elevator. But unfortunately, most of the time the elevator is stalled—the power is out.
Do you know what love means? Read about what love is and how it is defined by different people for different reasons and circumstances. Love is a universal feeling and something almost everyone strives for, whether in family or from a partner.