Emotions and Relationships
Being in college, relationships including romantic relationships are commonly on the forefront of many people's minds. As we discussed in psychology class, people are romantically attracted towards people similar to themselves, in contrast to the well known proverb that opposites attract.
Understanding relationships and behavior between individuals is a primary goal of many psychologists. Yet, how far can we go in studying relationships? Some psychologist have already developed a method to predict if couples will stay together. Furthermore, we have already determined, people of similar wealth, race, religion, attractiveness and education will typically come together.
Yet, what types of scientific findings are there in romantic relationships? Are they studying what happens when people are "in love"?
In fact, it seems there is scientific research on romantic love being carried out by Helen Fisher. Check out the following link to see a very interesting video.
Fisher is studying people in love. She has taken fMRI images to see what is happening when people see their loved one. She has found that the Ventral Tegmentum Area (VTA) and Nucleus Accumbens a part of the brain responsible for reward is activated. She compared people in love to those who were recently separated from their loved one. She found that these same areas in the brain had heightened activity in both groups of people. Helen Fisher has decided that love acts on the brain like an addiction. This helps explain why it is so hard for people to forget their old relationships and ex partners.
Fisher's next project will also be very interesting. She is going to try to determine why two people fall in love. As we noted in psychology class, proximity and similarity make a difference. However, what if we could determine if two people would make a good match because of their biology?
Overall, it seems love still remains a mystery.