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  • I am sure that you will join me in looking forward to what our guest Ellen Fischer has

  • to say tonight. And it is my great pleasure to welcome her to Binghamton University and

  • to all of you to an evening that promises to be very stimulating. And again, I thank

  • you for coming.

  • Good evening, I am delighted to be here, I’m delighted that youre here. Thank you very

  • much Justin Garcia and David Sloan-Wilson for inviting me. Youve got a really intellectually,

  • energetic campus, I am really impressed with it.

  • So anyway, I want to tell you about two things tonight. I and my colleagues have put forty-nine

  • people who are madly in love in to a brain scanner. Seventeen who had just fallen in

  • love, fifteen who had just been rejected in love and seventeen who report that they are

  • still in love after an average of twenty-one years of marriage, so that probably why I’m

  • here. But I also having done that, Match.com the internet dating site, came to me, three

  • years ago three and a half years ago and asked me to start a new dating site for them. It

  • is now called Chemistry.com and five million Americans have taken my questionnaire on Chemistry.com

  • and two million in thirty-nine other countries have taken it. And my question was, “Why

  • do you fall in love with one person rather than another?” I had spent all these years

  • trying to figure out what happens in the brain when you fall in love and than my next question

  • is, “Why would somebody say we have chemistry?” and than somebody else sayWe didn’t

  • have any chemistry,” is there something about our human chemistry that draws us to

  • some people other than others. So tonight I first want to talk about the brain scanning

  • and what love is and why it evolved and then go in to the subject that’s at the moment

  • dearest to my heart, why him, why her.

  • Around the world people love. They sing for love they, they dance for love, they compose

  • poems and stories about love, they retell myths and legions about love, they have love

  • charms, love portions, love magic, they pine for love, they live for love, they kill for

  • love and they die for love. Anthropologists have now found evidence of romantic love in

  • a hundred and seventy societies and not in one culture in the world where theyve actually

  • looked, have they not found it. So far, no negative evidence.

  • But in fact, so many people described love differently, that I have come to believe that

  • we have divided love into really three distinguish different brain systems. The sex drive associated

  • with testosterone in both men and women, W.H. Arden called an intolerable neural itch, Pablo

  • Naruto called it an eternal thirst or an infinite ache, you can feel it not even for a particular

  • person, you can feel the sex drive when you are driving along in your car, when you read

  • a book, when you watch a movie, when you think of something while you are sitting in the

  • chair, it doesn’t necessarily focus on one particular human being.

  • The second of the three brain systems is romantic love that focus, the craving, the possessiveness,

  • I’ll talk more about it in a minute. People call it passionate love, obsessive love, being

  • in love, infatuation; I think theyre all combinations of the same thing. George Bernard

  • Shaw summed up love I think very well he said, “Love consists of overestimating the differences

  • between one woman and another.” And indeed, that’s what we do and I and my colleagues

  • have now begun to figuring out some of the brain systems that are involved, certainly

  • dopamine is and I think norepinephrine gives you the pounding heart, the sweaty palms,

  • the stammering, and low levels of serotonin, which is what I think gives you the obsessive

  • thinking. Of all the characteristics of romantic love, I think the most; the core of it is

  • that you can’t stop thinking about this person.

I am sure that you will join me in looking forward to what our guest Ellen Fischer has

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B1 love chemistry brain romantic love romantic obsessive

Helen Fisher on Love, Lust and Attachment

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    fisher posted on 2013/04/08
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