Friday, June 3, 2011

Why Love Is Blind

We have all heard the expression, 'love is blind,' but have you ever really given thought to it? You are bound to know someone who has done some downright stupid things when they were "in love."

In a recent study conducted by researchers at University College London, researchers discovered that feelings of love lead to a suppression of activity in the areas of the brain controlling critical thought.

What does this mean? It means that they suppress neural activity associated with critical social assessment of other people and negative emotions. In other words, you can see no wrong in the person you love, nor can you recognize when they do wrong.

Researchers also found that both romantic love and maternal love produce the same effect on the brain.

Lead researcher Dr Andreas Bartels said it was crucial that both romantic and maternal love were viewed by the brain in a highly positive way - because both were crucial to the perpetuation of the species.

He said: "Our research enables us to conclude that human attachment employs a push-pull mechanism that overcomes social distance by deactivating networks used for critical social assessment and negative emotions, while it bonds individuals through the involvement of the reward circuitry explaining the power of love to motivate and exhilarate."

The research did highlight one difference in the brain's response to romantic and maternal love. Only romantic love triggered heightened activity in the hypothalamus - which controls feelings of sexual arousal.

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