Stupid Love Science

Philosophers throughout the ages have contemplated and agonized over what causes people to fall in love.  Sociologists and psychologists have done the same over what causes people to stay in love.  Now neuroscientists are trying to solve both their problems by taking brain scans of folks in love looking for the “cause” of love.

The report of their work prepared by the Wall Street Journal (2/8/08) seems to miss the main point.  Looking for brain sites of increased activity in people who after many years of marriage still feel fabulously in love, is not likely due to some abnormal hyperactivity in centers associated with affection or pleasure.  It is the opposite way around.  People who behave consistently in a loving manner constantly stoke the fires of affectionate and passionate love – all which will show up in their brain scans.

The couple they “analyzed,” the Turners, are described up front:

“Ann Tucker is pushing a shopping cart through the produce section of a supermarket in Plainview, N.Y., when she turns to kiss her husband.  The supermarket kiss is a regular ritual for the Tuckers.  So are the restaurant kiss and the traffic-light kiss.  ‘I guess we do kiss a lot,’ says Mrs. Tucker…Mrs. Tucker is living happily ever after, and scientists are curious why.”

Why?  That’s easy: she and her husband constantly behave like people in love.  Feelings follow behavior and both feed into brain pathways that become “well-worn” through constant activation.

So, stop looking for supplements, hormone injections, or implanted brain stimulators, miracles or moonspots.  Instead, behave like a man/woman in love and you’ll create what you wish for.