Thursday, 28 June 2012
Wearing matching rain jackets is my girlfriend's unscientific test for when a couple moves from being in lust to being in love. But seemingly there’s a bit of brain science behind the switch. Sexual desire activates a part of the brain called the striatum, but love and lust light up different areas, the Huffington Post reports. So how much of this love science do you buy into?
I was originally a psychology major, but picked up magazine journalism after one too many psychology classes bored me to tears. But the Syracuse psychology department is experiencing a bit of redemption in my eyes, as they were part of this sexy little study.
Lust activates an area of the striatum associated with simple pleasures, like food. But to be honest, I didn't need the Journal of Sexual Medicine to tell me that there isn't much difference between how I feel about ice cream and sex.
In contrast love activates an area of the brain that links value with pleasurable rewards like sex, researchers from Concordia University, the University of Geneva, West Virginia University and Syracuse University (Woohoo!) found.
Maybe it’s not what the romantics want to hear, but it sounds like you really do learn to love someone the way you were toilet trained as a kid. The more a need is rewarded successfully (sex/needing the bathroom) the brain conditions us to engage in behaviors that will replicate the feeling of reward. Cue long term relationship, no bathroom accidents, matching rain jackets, and lots of love in your heart.
But I'm not sure how much I like science invading my love life. Do I really want to know the profound effect the striatum has on my sexual desires? And what I really want to know is, if all this sexualpsychobabble is true, why does your heart hurt when things go wrong?
Were you aware of “learning” to love your partner? Do you believe in the science of love?