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Friday, August 10, 2007

Eyecatchers-11 : The Brain in Love

Science is just beginning to parse the inner workings of the brain in love, examining the blissful or ruinous fall from a medley of perspectives; neural systems, chemical messengers and the biology of reward.

It was only in 200 that two London scientists selected 70 people, all in the early sizzle of love, and rolled them into the giant cylinder of a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, or fMRI. The images they got are thought to be science's first pictures of the brain in love.

The pictures were a revelation, and others have followed, showing that romantic love is a lot like addiction to alcohol or drugs.


Human brains are complicated, with additional neural systems that seek romance, others that want comfort and companionship, and others that are just out for a roll in the hay.

Yet the chemistry between two people is not just a matter of molecules careening around the brain, dictating feelings like some game of neuro-billiards. Attraction also involves personal history. "Our parents have an effect on us," says Helen Fisher, evolutionary anthropologist at Rutgers University who studies human attraction. "So does the school system, television, timing, mystery."

Every book ever read, and every movie ever wept through, starts changing a course toward the chosen one.

(Excerpted from 'The New Indian Express', Madurai, dated August 10, 2007)

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