What is Love?

Helen Fisher: What we want

  Helen Fisher: What we want   In a talk at the PopTech Conference in 2014, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher walks us through the biology of love. From the importance of one-night stands to the solidity of marriage, Fisher shreds the common wisdom of what love is and isn’t in the 21st century.  The talk is about… Read more »

Why Study Romantic Love?

People have long believed that romantic love is part of the supernatural, a special form of magic that has otherworldly power.  They don’t believe that fear is part of the supernatural, or anger or depression.  Yet, many maintain love’s passion is an ethereal force that engulfs the mind. However, as philosopher John Dewey wrote, “Mind… Read more »

Love and the Sex Drive

Starlets Triple Delight, by Danielle Colucci Love and lust: what’s the difference? The ancient Greeks had several words for different kinds of love. But we divide love into three basic brain systems: lust (the sex drive), romantic love and feelings of deep attachment. These three brain systems are often deeply entwined. But not always. You… Read more »

Love Through The Ages, In All Societies

Love songs, love poems, love magic, love charms, operas, ballets, plays, stories, sculptures, paintings, holidays, temples, palaces:  the world is strewn with the artifacts of intense romantic love.   Anthropologists have now examined over 200 societies and everywhere they have found evidence of this passion.   Romantic love is a “human universal.” Some still believe that romantic… Read more »

Love Isn’t An Emotion?

Love certainly feels like an emotion; an incredibly strong one. But in the scientific community, the conservative definition of an emotion is a facial expression.  Happiness, sadness, disgust, anger, surprise:  these and the other basic emotions can be seen easily on the face.  But drives are not linked with a specific facial expression. A drive… Read more »

Love Is A Drive

“What wild ecstasy,” exclaimed poet John Keats in his poem On A Grecian Urn. Romantic love has many feelings–from wild ecstasy to utter despair.  But common to all those men and women whom we put into the brain scanner was activity in primitive brain regions linked with motivation, with drive.   Romantic love is a basic… Read more »

What Is Romantic Love?

What is romantic love? Psychologists define it as the desire for emotional union with another person. We think that romantic love is part of the human reproductive strategy. We also think that there are three separate brain systems that mediate this strategy.