the “symptoms” of passionate love resemble those of addiction ○ is it possible they activate the same regions of the brains? ■ don’t they??? ● Brain Study ○ had people bring in pictures of their “beloved” then researchers had pictures of another person relatively similar ■ looking at the ventral tegmental area (VTA) -- reward area of our brain ○ found that when the person is looking at their “beloved” the VTA lights up, while looking at the other picture of similar person does not ■ suggests that passionate love may have evolved to promote partner choice, which helps to conserve time and energy associated with courtship ○ if you’re passionately in love with someone, you focus on that person and ignore others. ○ Can be overwhelming if our brain is constantly activated by the same stimuli, so… ■ we habituate ■ we start to feel less passionate about the same person over time ( passionate love lasts around 6 months - 2 years ) ● How can we keep the “fire” going? ○ maintaining passion requires effort ○ novelty matters ( newness ) ○ some couples are able to maintain feelings of passionate love for decades ■ these people say their partners are still full of surprises ■ still find partner very interesting and intriguing ■ people who reported that they did/sought out new activities on a regular basis, reported more passion in their relationship regardless of how long they had been together ■ continually introduce yourself to new aspects of partner ● Hormones & Passionate Love ○ nerve growth factor (NGF) - chemical compound found in the body 11
○ regulates synaptic plasticity and neural survival ○ elevated when people are passionately in love ( brains are younger when we’re in love) ○ cortisol ■ “stress hormone” ■ immunosuppressant (more likely to get sick) ■ cortisol levels are higher when passionately in love BUT doesn’t seem to have the negative repercussions when people have chronically high cortisol levels otherwise Companionate Love ○ “…the affection and tenderness we feel for those with whom our lives are deeply intertwined” ○ based on a deep sense of friendship ■ involves companionship and enjoyment of shared activities or interests ■ built on a foundation of admiration, trust, and respect ● sex is less intense and plays a less central role for companionate lovers ● women report higher levels of companionate love ○ successful relationships go from passionate love to companionate love ● what makes a marriage last? ○ “my spouse is my best friend” ○ “I like my spouse as a person” ■ it’s not about loving them, is about liking them ● Neural and Hormonal Level: ○ activates the areas of the brain associated with caregiving ○ tied to vasopressin and oxytocin ● Love over Time ○ passionate love tends to decrease over time ○ companionate love increases over time because it relies on intimacy processes ■ at least initially ■
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 24 pages?
- Spring '08
- partner, passionate love