Skip to comments.Watching New Love as It Sears the Brain
Posted on 05/30/2005 6:28:18 PM PDT by neverdem
New love can look for all the world like mental illness, a blend of mania, dementia and obsession that cuts people off from friends and family and prompts out-of-character behavior - compulsive phone calling, serenades, yelling from rooftops - that could almost be mistaken for psychosis.
Now for the first time, neuroscientists have produced brain scan images of this fevered activity, before it settles into the wine and roses phase of romance or the joint holiday card routines of long-term commitment.
In an analysis of the images appearing today in The Journal of Neurophysiology, researchers in New York and New Jersey argue that romantic love is a biological urge distinct from sexual arousal.
It is closer in its neural profile to drives like hunger, thirst or drug craving, the researchers assert, than to emotional states like excitement or affection. As a relationship deepens, the brain scans suggest, the neural activity associated with romantic love alters slightly, and in some cases primes areas deep in the primitive brain that are involved in long-term attachment.
The research helps explain why love produces such disparate emotions, from euphoria to anger to anxiety, and why it seems to become even more intense when it is withdrawn. In a separate, continuing experiment, the researchers are analyzing brain images from people who have been rejected by their lovers.
"When you're in the throes of this romantic love it's overwhelming, you're out of control, you're irrational, you're going to the gym at 6 a.m. every day - why? Because she's there," said Dr. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University and the co-author of the analysis. "And when rejected, some people contemplate stalking, homicide, suicide. This drive for romantic love can be stronger than the will to live."
Brain imaging technology cannot read people's minds, experts caution...
(Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
Susan Farley, top; Michael Falco for The New York Times
Dr. Lucy Brown, above, and Dr. Helen Fisher, left, analyzed 2,500 brain images from 17 college students in the throes of new love - a drive, Dr. Fisher said, that "can be stronger than the will to live."
American Psychological Society
A new study suggests that an area of the brain known as the caudate is associated with passion.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my health and science ping list.
Lovers: wine and roses
Clintons: swine and ruses.
So, that explains everything! I was insane when I fell in love with a liberal and dated him for 3 years. ;-)
(Now, let me go watch Moulon Rouge for the umpteenth time ...erm, cough cough.... I mean let me go watch illegal no-holds barred Vietnamese dirt-pit fighting LOL).
Whereforth art thy brainscans?
I'm glad you clarified that...we might have had to toss you out of the FR He-Man Guild had you let the original assertion stand. ;)
It burns...it burns!
When they say "first-love", are they talking about infatuation or lust?
You had to ruin this, didn't you?
Wow I actually like that movie. It grows on you like a cute fungus. Awwwww you have a crush on Nicole Kidman? She looks good in Bewitched.
Unbeknowst to me I was dating a married man. When I found out, we parted ways but I was really crushhed to find out it was all a lie. I had a really bad facial acne condition for two years and since I've found someone who really does love me and isn't a pathological liar, it's disappeared. Glad I didn't spend the $1000 a doctor was going to charge me to clean up my face.
Put some ice on that :-)
He must be a really great guy!
All the world loves a
lover mental illness?
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