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What is Love?

A review of theories of love

H. Colleen Sinclair

on 21 November 2017

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Transcript of What is Love?

The Study of Love
What is Love?
A many-splendored thing
A Style
A Triangle
Love Triangles - No...not what you think
Ah...the colors of love
An Addiction
The physiology of love
Berscheid & Walster (Hatfield), 1971/1974
Two types: Passionate vs Companionate Love
Two components: Arousal + Situation

And yet...
Love is Universal
Convergence of Evidence
From West
To East
Had a rocky start...
"Love - a wildly misunderstood although highly desirable malfunction of the heart which weakens the brain, causes eyes to sparkle, cheeks to glow, blood pressure to rise and the lips to pucker." - Lynda Barry
20,000+ articles on PSYCInfo
340,000+ books on Amazon
7.3+ BILLION hits on Google
Countless movies, poems, songs
Jankowiak & Fischer (1992) Found evidence of romantic love in 88.5% of 166 cultures
"What we can assert is that a clear preponderance of evidence derived from systematic studies of ethnography, neuroscience, folk tales, and even ethology converges to support romantic love’s universality." - Gottschall & Nordlund, 2006 (Cross-cultural comparison of 79 cultures)
Obsessive Love
Game-playing love
Friendship-based Love
Practical & Realistic Love
Romantic Love
& Idealization
Self-sacrificing Love
(Hendrick & Hendrick, 1986; Lee, 1973)
Love Styles
Sternberg's Triangular Theory of Love
Consummate Love
Companionate Love
Romantic Love
Fatuous Love
Empty Love
Does consummate love (aka: "true love") even exist?
Love on the Brain
Additional Findings
No gender differences
Even though men fall in love faster
Replicated across cultures
Anti-depressants inhibit aspects of love
Deactivations interesting too
Integrating Perspectives
Compassionate - Attachment (Oxytocin)
Committed - Pair-bonding (Vasopressin)
Passionate - Sexual Desire (Androgens)
Obsessive - Invasive Thoughts (Low Serotonin)
Romantic - Idealization & Elation (Norepinephrine)
The neurochemistry of "feeling chemistry"
Love pentagons?
Sexual Desire
Love and sex fall on a sort of neurological continuum. Lust causes the ventral striatum the part of the brain associated with bodily representations of feelings -- to "light up." Love activates the dorsal striatum (caudate nucleus) -- linked to an ultimate representation of all feelings.
Love in the Long-term
Acevedo et al., 2012; Ortigue et al., 2010
VTA + Caudate, and...
Several regions associated with long-term attachments (like maternal love)
e.g., Dorsal Raphe nucleus (serotonin modulation)
e.g., Globus Pallidus (controlling outputs from caudate nucleus to inhibit behavior)
e.g., Periaqueductal grey matter (PAG - correlated with long-term & unconditional bonding)
And memory (e.g., the posterior hippocampus)
"Overall, results suggest that for some individuals the reward-value associated with a long-term partner may be sustained, similar to new love, but also involves brain systems implicated in attachment, regulation, and pair-bonding. (pg. 145)"
Can be addictive
Can be memorable
Can be obsessive
All levels reinforced by dopamine
Sex vs. Love:
Puppy Love
This happens to be the same area of the brain that lights up in dogs when they hear their owner's voice
Monica and Jeremy have been married for 27 years. Their relationship includes intimacy, passion, and commitment at high levels. According to Sternberg's (1986) triangular model of love, Monica and Jeremy have
A) romantic love
B) fatuous love
C) companionate love
D) consummate love
Each time Jessie falls for someone new,
she just can’t stop thinking about them
and just hates to be apart from them
for very long. Jessie likely has the
_______ love style.
A. Ludus
B. Mania
C. Pragma
D. Eros
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