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3 facts about love from scientific research

People have been trying to understand how and why we fall in love for centuries. In the modern world, psychologists, anthropologists, and biologists are trying to explain feelings through science. We tell about seven curious facts about the nature of love and the peculiarities of human relationships. Recommended for Dating https://eden.dating

Falling in love is like a drug addiction

Love can be seen as a real addiction. This is the conclusion reached in 2017 by researchers from Oxford. The team of scientists studied several papers on the neurochemical processes that occur in the brain of people in love. According to current scientific data, people in love produce the hormone dopamine in large quantities. In general, this substance is produced during any process from which a person gets pleasure. And it is also involved in the process of memory. That’s why we want to repeat the actions that made us feel good. 

Dopamine is involved in shopaholics, gambling addiction, alcoholism and drug addiction. Something similar is done by dopamine to the brain of a man in love. When a person sees the object of his passion, he is happy and feels a burst of energy. And when he is forced to part with it, he feels sadness – a kind of analogue of “withdrawal”.

American anthropologist and human behavior researcher Helen Fisher conducted an MRI scan of the brain of a person in love. In the course of the study the person was shown a picture of a lover. At that moment, it was seen that the same area in his brain was activated as in other people during cocaine use. 

The approach to love as an addiction poses not only research questions, but also ethical ones. For example, they wonder whether love, especially unrequited love, can be treated with drugs like other addictions.

Opposites don’t attract

Psychologists at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign collected relationship data from 174 couples over a year. Researchers found that couples were more satisfied in relationships when their personality traits and attachment styles matched. The researchers also drew on evidence from earlier work that proves that similarities contribute to love. People are more attracted to partners who are similar in age, religion, political orientation, and intelligence. 

But research on the relationship between partner similarity and relationship satisfaction has a problem. It lies in the fact that there are an infinite number of criteria by which people may differ from one another. Therefore, it is impossible to say exactly what will affect the quality of romantic relationships in a particular couple. 

A romantic relationship is worth at least two friends (but that’s not certain)

Most of us get a romantic partner at the cost of two close friends. That’s the conclusion reached by a team of Oxford scientists led by anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist Robin Dunbar. 

According to Robin Dunbar’s previous work, the average person has five close and meaningful people. The kind of people he could turn to in times of emotional or financial trouble. In another study, scientists decided to test how people, once in a romantic relationship, allocate time between their significant others. 

The study found that when a person has a romantic partner, it takes away time that could have been spent with friends or family. As a result, the average person ceases to be close to two of their friends. And this applies to both women and men. “I suspect that your attention is so focused on your romantic partner that you don’t see the other people with whom you had a lot in common before. So some of those friendships begin to deteriorate,” Dunbar explains this behavior.

That said, other psychologists have criticized the study. For example, the American psychologist Bella Depaulo points out that the sample of respondents was not too representative. The researchers did not take into account the national and cultural characteristics of the participants, did not find out how many romantic partners a person had at the same time, and also did not assess how the respondents’ behavioral strategy changed after their relationship ended. 

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