Love exists in vastly different societies around the world. It occupies our mind and drives us to create art, write stories, and even commit acts of violence. Religion, values, and other cultural factors influence who we select as a partner. During a talk at the Secret Science Club, a science lecture series held at the Bell House in Brooklyn, Helen Fisher, Ph.D., asked “Are we naturally drawn to some people for biological as well as cultural reasons?”
Can consciousness continue after the brain stops working? Why do we seem to let emotions outshine reason during the decision-making process? Which neural impulses trigger laughter?
Valentine’s Day inspires a post about someone who has dedicated her career to studying the science behind attraction and desire. For more than thirty years, Helen Fisher, Ph.D., has studied the link between brain chemistry and romantic love, in hopes of better understanding the patterns that occur when human beings choose their mates.
Since love is on the brain today, it seemed the perfect opportunity to look back at Dana’s articles on love, lust, and attraction. The selected articles span more than a decade, and included in the mix is a Cerebrum piece from Rutgers’ anthropologist Helen Fisher, who is something of a go-to love expert for the media and is sure to be quoted in numerous articles today.
Brains Do It: Lust, Attraction, and Attachment
By Helen E. Fisher
January 01, 2000
With classic understatement, anthropologist Helen Fisher suggests that the three emotional systems—lust, attraction, and attachment—“are somewhat disconnected in human beings…” But the situation is not hopeless, Fisher argues; the role of the prefrontal cortex in humans is to control and direct these emotions—if we so choose.
Neurobiology Affects Love and Attraction
By Kathlyn Stone
January 02, 2009
Research presented at the 2008 Society for Neuroscience meeting revealed aspects of what happens in the brain of someone feeling intense love, as well as the sensory and molecular processes involved in love and mating.
The Chemistry of Love: In Search of the Elusive Human Pheromones
By Brenda Patoine
Chemical messages wafting off other people’s bodies clearly influence sexual attraction and mating behavior in humans. Just don’t call them pheromones – yet.
The Brain Signature of Love
By Kayt Sukel
February 10, 2011
Neuroscientists are demonstrating that romantic love is represented by a unique pattern of activation in the brain.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
-Ann L. Whitman