Article

The Neural Basis of Romantic Love

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Abstract

The neural correlates of many emotional states have been studied, most recently through the technique of fMRI. However, nothing is known about the neural substrates involved in evoking one of the most overwhelming of all affective states, that of romantic love, about which we report here. The activity in the brains of 17 subjects who were deeply in love was scanned using fMRI, while they viewed pictures of their partners, and compared with the activity produced by viewing pictures of three friends of similar age, sex and duration of friendship as their partners. The activity was restricted to foci in the medial insula and the anterior cingulate cortex and, subcortically, in the caudate nucleus and the putamen, all bilaterally. Deactivations were observed in the posterior cingulate gyrus and in the amygdala and were right-lateralized in the prefrontal, parietal and middle temporal cortices. The combination of these sites differs from those in previous studies of emotion, suggesting that a unique network of areas is responsible for evoking this affective state. This leads us to postulate that the principle of functional specialization in the cortex applies to affective states as well.

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... Emotional centers of the brain associated with romantic love include the amygdala, the anterior cingulate cortex (Bartels and Zeki, 2000;Aron et al., 2005;Fisher et al., 2010;Younger et al., 2010;Zeki and Romaya, 2010;Stoessel et al., 2011;Acevedo et al., 2012;Scheele et al., 2013;Song et al., 2015), and the insula (Bartels and Zeki, 2000;Aron et al., 2005;Ortigue et al., 2007;Fisher et al., 2010;Younger et al., 2010;Zeki and Romaya, 2010;Stoessel et al., 2011;Acevedo et al., 2012;Xu et al., 2012b;Song et al., 2015). Activity in these structures helps to explain romantic love's emotional features such as negative feelings when things go awry, longing for reciprocity, desire for complete union, and physiological arousal (Hatfield and Sprecher, 1986). ...
... Emotional centers of the brain associated with romantic love include the amygdala, the anterior cingulate cortex (Bartels and Zeki, 2000;Aron et al., 2005;Fisher et al., 2010;Younger et al., 2010;Zeki and Romaya, 2010;Stoessel et al., 2011;Acevedo et al., 2012;Scheele et al., 2013;Song et al., 2015), and the insula (Bartels and Zeki, 2000;Aron et al., 2005;Ortigue et al., 2007;Fisher et al., 2010;Younger et al., 2010;Zeki and Romaya, 2010;Stoessel et al., 2011;Acevedo et al., 2012;Xu et al., 2012b;Song et al., 2015). Activity in these structures helps to explain romantic love's emotional features such as negative feelings when things go awry, longing for reciprocity, desire for complete union, and physiological arousal (Hatfield and Sprecher, 1986). ...
... Oxytocin plays a role in social affiliation (IsHak et al., 2011) and pair-bonding (Young et al., 2011;Acevedo et al., 2020). Oxytocin receptors are prevalent throughout the brain including in the mesolimbic pathway (e.g., Bartels and Zeki, 2000). Elevated oxytocin could account for many of the behavioral features of romantic love such as actions toward determining the other's feelings, studying the other person, service to the other, and maintaining physical closeness (Hatfield and Sprecher, 1986). ...
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Romantic love is a phenomenon of immense interest to the general public as well as to scholars in several disciplines. It is known to be present in almost all human societies and has been studied from a number of perspectives. In this integrative review, we bring together what is known about romantic love using Tinbergen’s “four questions” framework originating from evolutionary biology. Under the first question, related to mechanisms, we show that it is caused by social, psychological mate choice, genetic, neural, and endocrine mechanisms. The mechanisms regulating psychopathology, cognitive biases, and animal models provide further insights into the mechanisms that regulate romantic love. Under the second question, related to development, we show that romantic love exists across the human lifespan in both sexes. We summarize what is known about its development and the internal and external factors that influence it. We consider cross-cultural perspectives and raise the issue of evolutionary mismatch. Under the third question, related to function, we discuss the fitness-relevant benefits and costs of romantic love with reference to mate choice, courtship, sex, and pair-bonding. We outline three possible selective pressures and contend that romantic love is a suite of adaptions and by-products. Under the fourth question, related to phylogeny, we summarize theories of romantic love’s evolutionary history and show that romantic love probably evolved in concert with pair-bonds in our recent ancestors. We describe the mammalian antecedents to romantic love and the contribution of genes and culture to the expression of modern romantic love. We advance four potential scenarios for the evolution of romantic love. We conclude by summarizing what Tinbergen’s four questions tell us, highlighting outstanding questions as avenues of potential future research, and suggesting a novel ethologically informed working definition to accommodate the multi-faceted understanding of romantic love advanced in this review.
... Modern neuroscientific investigations have shown that romantic love is a complex mental state, involving motivational, emotional, cognitive, and goal-oriented behavioral components, with a distinctive neurobiological substrate. Specifically, evidence from a number of neuroimaging studies (Acevedo, Aron, Fisher, & Brown, 2012;Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000Ortigue, Bianchi-Demicheli, Hamilton, & Grafton, 2007;Ortigue, Bianchi-Demicheli, Patel, Frum, & Lewis, 2010;Xu et al., 2011) demonstrated that, during exposure to love-related stimuli, brain activation occurs in cortical and subcortical regions associated with motivational states and reward (the caudate nucleus and the ventral tegmental area), emotion and attentional states (the medial insula and the anterior cingulate cortex), social cognition, self-representation and conceptual knowledge (the angular gyrus and the fusiform area). Notably, deactivation was observed in the amygdala (Acevedo et al., 2012;Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000Ortigue et al., 2010;Xu et al., 2011), suggesting inhibition of negative emotions and threat processing, and in a number of cortical regions, mainly in the right hemisphere, involved in emotional or cognitive processing (inferior parietal, posterior cingulate, middle prefrontal and temporal cortices), and in mentalizing and social judgment (mesial prefrontal cortex, the parietotemporal junction, and the temporal poles) (Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000;Xu et al., 2011;Younger, Aron, Parke, Chatterjee, & Mackey, 2010;Zeki & Romaya, 2010). ...
... Specifically, evidence from a number of neuroimaging studies (Acevedo, Aron, Fisher, & Brown, 2012;Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000Ortigue, Bianchi-Demicheli, Hamilton, & Grafton, 2007;Ortigue, Bianchi-Demicheli, Patel, Frum, & Lewis, 2010;Xu et al., 2011) demonstrated that, during exposure to love-related stimuli, brain activation occurs in cortical and subcortical regions associated with motivational states and reward (the caudate nucleus and the ventral tegmental area), emotion and attentional states (the medial insula and the anterior cingulate cortex), social cognition, self-representation and conceptual knowledge (the angular gyrus and the fusiform area). Notably, deactivation was observed in the amygdala (Acevedo et al., 2012;Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000Ortigue et al., 2010;Xu et al., 2011), suggesting inhibition of negative emotions and threat processing, and in a number of cortical regions, mainly in the right hemisphere, involved in emotional or cognitive processing (inferior parietal, posterior cingulate, middle prefrontal and temporal cortices), and in mentalizing and social judgment (mesial prefrontal cortex, the parietotemporal junction, and the temporal poles) (Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000;Xu et al., 2011;Younger, Aron, Parke, Chatterjee, & Mackey, 2010;Zeki & Romaya, 2010). Given the core brain areas especially engaged during romantic love and their widespread projections to other cortical and subcortical regions, it is plausible to assume that being in love affects cognitive functioning and emotional processing even in love-unrelated domains, with potential implications in everyday life. ...
... Specifically, evidence from a number of neuroimaging studies (Acevedo, Aron, Fisher, & Brown, 2012;Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000Ortigue, Bianchi-Demicheli, Hamilton, & Grafton, 2007;Ortigue, Bianchi-Demicheli, Patel, Frum, & Lewis, 2010;Xu et al., 2011) demonstrated that, during exposure to love-related stimuli, brain activation occurs in cortical and subcortical regions associated with motivational states and reward (the caudate nucleus and the ventral tegmental area), emotion and attentional states (the medial insula and the anterior cingulate cortex), social cognition, self-representation and conceptual knowledge (the angular gyrus and the fusiform area). Notably, deactivation was observed in the amygdala (Acevedo et al., 2012;Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000Ortigue et al., 2010;Xu et al., 2011), suggesting inhibition of negative emotions and threat processing, and in a number of cortical regions, mainly in the right hemisphere, involved in emotional or cognitive processing (inferior parietal, posterior cingulate, middle prefrontal and temporal cortices), and in mentalizing and social judgment (mesial prefrontal cortex, the parietotemporal junction, and the temporal poles) (Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000;Xu et al., 2011;Younger, Aron, Parke, Chatterjee, & Mackey, 2010;Zeki & Romaya, 2010). Given the core brain areas especially engaged during romantic love and their widespread projections to other cortical and subcortical regions, it is plausible to assume that being in love affects cognitive functioning and emotional processing even in love-unrelated domains, with potential implications in everyday life. ...
Article
The aim of the present study was to investigate (a) the neural correlates of a love induction task (LIT) including listening to love-related songs and thinking about the romantic relationship, and (b) the effects of romantic love on the emotional processing of love-unrelated stimuli during a passive viewing task. The EEG was recorded in two groups of university students: people in love (Love Group, LG, N = 22, 19 F) and people not in love (Control Group, CG, N = 20, 15 F). The LIT induced higher pleasantness and arousal in the LG than in the CG, as well as higher alpha activity in occipital-right electrodes, suggesting active mental imagery and internal focused attention. During the picture viewing task, the LG displayed larger N1 amplitudes than the CG in response to unpleasant pictures, and lower amplitudes of the late positive potential to both pleasant and unpleasant pictures at frontal sites. Overall, these results suggest an early attentional modulation of the neural responses to unpleasant, mood-incongruent cues, followed by an implicit emotional down-regulation of arousing stimuli, which might have important implications for everyday attitudes and behaviors.
... Nevertheless, these studies do allude to recruitment of systems involved in social communication in addition to core auditory regions (See Nakamura et al., 2001;Shah et al., 2002). In the face perception literature, where personally familiar faces have been arguably easier to source in the form of photographs, research presenting participants with their romantic partner's face have found significant activation in brain systems implicated in reward, affect, and motivation that are not seen for low familiar faces (Bartels & Zeki, 2000;Acevedo, Aron, Fisher, & Brown, 2012). The recruitment of affective processing systems in the brain suggests that participants experience (positive) emotional responses to viewing personally familiar others, while engagement of reward and motivation regions implies that personally familiar faces may be similar to other stimuli that humans will work to receive (e.g. ...
... The aforementioned research into PF faces and reward also supports this hypothesis (e.g. Bartels & Zeki, 2000). Therefore, it is reasonable to predict that voices, particularly those of high social importance, may show reward-related patterns of activity in the brain. ...
... For instance, an attractive face may be intrinsically rewarding as it theoretically signals mate value, and this could motivate approach behaviours (Daniel & Pollman, 2014). Correspondingly, seeing the face or hearing the voice of a personally familiar other may also be a pleasurable, rewarding experience (Bartels & Zeki, 2000). The existing research exploring the socially rewarding nature of familiar and unfamiliar faces and voices will be outlined below. ...
Thesis
The majority of voices encountered in everyday life belong to people we know, such as close friends, relatives, or romantic partners. However, research to date has overlooked this type of familiarity when investigating voice identity perception. This thesis aimed to address this gap in the literature, through a detailed investigation of voice perception across different types of familiarity: personally familiar voices, famous voices, and lab-trained voices. The experimental chapters of the thesis cover two broad research topics: 1) Measuring the recognition and representation of personally familiar voice identities in comparison with labtrained identities, and 2) Investigating motivation and reward in relation to hearing personally valued voices compared with unfamiliar voice identities. In the first of these, an exploration of the extent of human voice recognition capabilities was undertaken using personally familiar voices of romantic partners. The perceptual benefits of personal familiarity for voice and speech perception were examined, as well as an investigation into how voice identity representations are formed through exposure to new voice identities. Evidence for highly robust voice representations for personally familiar voices was found in the face of perceptual challenges, which greatly exceeded those found for lab-trained voices of varying levels of familiarity. Conclusions are drawn about the relevance of the amount and type of exposure on speaker recognition, the expertise we have with certain voices, and the framing of familiarity as a continuum rather than a binary categorisation. The second topic utilised voices of famous singers and their “super-fans” as listeners to probe reward and motivational responses to hearing these valued voices, using behavioural and neuroimaging experiments. Listeners were found to work harder, as evidenced by faster reaction times, to hear their musical idol compared to less valued voices in an effort-based decision-making task, and the neural correlates of these effects are reported and examined.
... This corresponds well with the arousal ratings of happy and partner faces in our study, as the latter were rated as more arousing. It is also consistent with prior research [66][67][68][69] in which partner pictures and neutral unfamiliar control pictures were compared to same sex friends, parents, or siblings, thereby controlling for familiarity. In these studies, familiar as compared to unfamiliar faces generally led to higher autonomic responses as measured for example by SCL. ...
... Specifically, the higher subjective arousal co-occurs with a specific pattern of physiological changes (HR, skin conductance, activity of the zygomaticus muscle), thus supporting romantic love being an unique intense positive emotion which overlaps, but can be distinguished from other positive emotions [67,69]. Correspondingly, romantic love is associated with a certain brain activation pattern which is distinct from other positive emotional states [66]. This unique pattern of intense positive emotion and the concomitant activation of approach motivation elicited by partner pictures is reflected by differences in SCL and corrugator EMG between partner and happy pictures, and can account for the stronger effect of partners rather than happy strangers on pain modulation. ...
Article
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Background: Social context such as the relationship between a person experiencing pain and a caregiver has been shown to affect the experience of pain, yet, results are not consistent. Possibly, differential effects of interpersonal relationships are modulated by affective states expressed by social partners. Viewing partner pictures in experimental designs is not only associated with lowered perceived pain intensity, but also affects neural responses. However, the role of affective modulation is not clear. The present study aimed to systematically examine the pain modulating effects of stimuli varying in affect and social content including personal relevance using subjective report and psychophysiological measures of facial and autonomic activity. Methods: Twenty-nine women underwent a tonic heat pain paradigm with simultaneous picture viewing to investigate the influence of their partners' faces with a neutral facial expression compared to strangers' happy, angry and neutral facial expressions on pain intensity and accompanying psychophysiological parameters (facial activity: corrugator muscle activity, autonomic activity: skin conductance level, heart rate). In addition to perceived partner support and relationship characteristics, the contribution of the affective value (valence, arousal) of the partner faces to the observed pain modulation was examined. Results: Partner and happy faces reduced self-reported pain intensity and corrugator activity, the latter being lowest when viewing partner faces as compared to all other picture categories. As corrugator activity is indexing stimulus unpleasantness and a core feature of the facial pain expression, this physiological pattern matches well with the subjective ratings. Neutral objects, neutral and angry faces had no effect on pain self-report, although angry faces were rated as highly negative. Partner faces also led to increased skin conductance, being an index of motivational activation, and heart rate deceleration, possibly reflecting increased sensory intake. Partner-related pain modulation was primarily related to perceived arousal of the partner's picture, i.e., the intensity of the activation of approach motivation, and pain-related catastrophizing. Discussion: Our results are partially consistent with emotional pain control models, especially regarding the modulatory influence of valence. Within the context of socially adaptive behavior, they particularly underline the social signal value of emotion and attachment figures. Clinically, our results imply that just looking at pictures of one's partner when undergoing acute painful procedures can have a robust hypoalgesic effect.
... The consistency of love across different individuals suggests that it is regulated by shared biological mechanisms that only recently have been investigated. Modern brain imaging and neurobiological techniques have revealed that people in romantic relationships, the first step of love, bear a striking similarity to those with psychiatric disorders, which is not surprising, just considering that love involves the same systems that regulate anxiety and fear responses, and related neurotransmitters (Marazziti et al. 1999;Bartels and Zeki 2000;Fisher 1992;Fisher et al. 2016). The next step, that is, attachment, involves the nonapeptide oxytocin and dopamine areas regulating the reward process. ...
... One of our studies confirmed the relationship between romantic attachment and OT in 45 healthy subjects (Marazziti et al. 2006). In addition, the first double-blind studies conducted with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) confirmed the role of OT in romantic attachment while showing activation of brain area rich in OT receptors when individuals look at pictures of the partners (Bartels and Zeki 2000;Fisher et al. 2002). Subsequent authors confirmed these findings while highlighting how RR is a strong motivational state that follows the neuronal circuitry of reward and pleasure (Aron et al. 2005), and how long-term love activates the attachment system (Acevedo et al. 2012). ...
Chapter
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Neurotrophins (NTs) are molecules regulating differentiation, maintenance, and functional plasticity of vertebrate nervous systems. Nerve growth factor (NGF) was the first to be identified in the neurotrophin family. The long scientific history of NTs provided not only advancement in the neuroscience field but opened new scenarios involving different body districts in physiological and pathological conditions, which include the immune, endocrine, and skeletal system, vascular districts, inflammation, etc. To date, many biological aspects of NTs have been clarified, but the new discoveries are still opening new insights on molecular and cellular mechanisms and systemic effects, also affecting the possible therapeutic application of NTs. This short review summarizes the main aspects of NGF biology and biochemistry, including the role of the NGF precursor molecule, high- and low-affinity receptors and related intracellular pathways, and target cells.
... Por su connotación polisémica, resulta difícil definir el amor (Berscheid, 2010), sin embargo, algunos autores se han aproximado a su definición, indicando que se trata de un sentimiento de unión hacia alguien o algo (Lucas et al., 2019), una emoción básica (Shaver et al., 1996), un vínculo (Harlow, 1958), o una acción (Chabot, 2008;Fromm, 2004;Rubin, 1970;Scott, 1997) que conlleva a la transformación del individuo (Aslanian, 2015) y al bienestar psicológico (Oros & Richaud, 2011). Asimismo, se han encontrado clasificaciones del amor, en las que se pueden encontrar el hecho romántico (Bartels & Zeki, 2000;Rubin, 1970) o compasivo (Berscheid, 2010), o un acto de compañerismo (Grote & Frieze, 1994) que surge de la proximidad y conexión interpersonal de una relación segura y positiva (Cavanaugh et al., 2015;Fredrickson, 2013), que cuando se torna desfavorable o no correspondido suele estar acompañado de inseguridad, incertidumbre y angustia (Lazarus, 2000). ...
... En cuanto al romanticismo, estos resultados guardan relación con diversos autores que señalan que el amor es un hecho romántico (Bartels & Zeki, 2000;Cannoni & Bombi, 2016;Rubin, 1970). Varios estudios coinciden en remarcar que durante la niñez media y tardía es posible identificar este tipo de amor, aunque no con la connotación que adquiere en la juventud o adultez. ...
Article
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El presente estudio tuvo como objetivo aproximarse al significado del amor, a través de su expresión escrita, en una muestra de niños y niñas de Lima Metropolitana de Perú, y examinar sus diferencias según sexo y edad. En total, se contó con la participación de 289 individuos divididos en dos muestras: una muestra exploratoria (n= 50) y otra de confirmación (n= 239). El estudio siguió una metodología mixta, a partir del análisis temático como técnica cualitativa para identificar códigos subyacentes a la definición de amor de los niños, y del análisis clúster jerárquico como técnica cuantitativa para generar un dendrograma. Los resultados revelaron la presencia de seis categorías centrales: relación con otros significativos cercanos, romanticismo y amor propio, relación característica entre adultos, estado positivo, afectividad, y apoyo incondicional. A partir de ello, se concluye que el concepto de amor durante la niñez integra tres categorías del esquema interpretativo de las emociones: contextual o elicitador, experiencia subjetiva, y tendencia expresiva/motivacional.
... To further investigate the mystery of human attachment, some studies used a human neuroimaging approach. In one early study, Bartels and Zeki [21] used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques to measure differences in the brain activity of participants as they viewed significant romantic partners versus friends. They found passionate love to be more complicated than basic emotions, involving the highly motivating reward of evoking an overwhelming response in a partner [22]. ...
... The realm of human attachment has been predominantly defined as the interpersonal relationship [21][22][23]. A recent study extends the concept of attachment to the relationship between a person and an object and conducted a meta-analysis of love to investigate neural substrates of brand love which has been shown to reveal strong ties between consumers and brands (i.e., "brand attachment") and compared it with those of maternal and romantic love [24]. ...
Article
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Maternal and passionate love are both crucial for reproduction and involve attachment behaviors with high rewards. Neurobiological studies of attachment in animal and human neuroimaging studies have suggested that the coordination of oxytocinergic and vasopressinergic pathways, coupled with the dopaminergic reward system, contribute to the formation and maintenance of maternal and passionate love. In the present study, we carried out a quantitative meta-analysis of human neuroimaging to identify common and dissociable neural substrates associated with maternal and passionate love, using the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) approach. The ALE results showed significant activation of the brain regions in the left ventral tegmental area (VTA), right thalamus, left substantia nigra, and the left putamen for maternal love, but in the bilateral VTA for passionate love. The meta-analytic neuroimaging evidence suggests the greater involvement of cognitive–affective regulation in maternal attachment and the greater desire to combine liking and wanting in romantic love behaviors. The conjunction analysis highlights the functional convergence of the VTA across the two types of human love, indicating a shared neurobiological mechanism of maternal and passionate love with evolutionary roots. Our findings suggest that the processing of both maternal and passionate love involve the affective and motivational regulation associated with dopaminergic systems; our neuroimaging evidence supports the notion that maternal and passionate love share a common evolutionary origin and neurobiological basis in the human brain.
... These regions and their connections are thought to play a role in the neuroendocrine response to external stimuli, specifically through the integration of real time environmental cues and how they relate to existing fearful associations, either leading to a perception of threat or perception of safety [5,41]. Nuclei of the amygdala are known to regulate fear output [34,39,[42][43][44][45], and imaging studies indicate that the anxiolytic effects of positive support and experiences may be mediated via inhibition of the amygdala [46][47][48][49]. ...
... Previous imaging studies have indicated that the anxiolytic effects of positive support and experiences may be mediated via inhibition of the amygdala, which is regulated by glutamatergic outputs from the PFC that synapse onto inhibitory interneurons in the amygdala [46][47][48][49]. The hippocampus interacts with both the PFC [69][70][71] and amygdala [72], and is well known to play an important role in contextual fear conditioning [45,73]. ...
Article
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We have previously reported that socially partnered stress sensitive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats exhibited a reduced response to cued fear-conditioning (CFC) compared to their socially isolated counterparts. Given that altered glutamatergic neurotransmission in the limbic and forebrain regions have been implicated in stress-induced psychiatric disorders, the present study investigated the effects of CFC on [³H] MK-801 binding to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in socially isolated (CFC-SI) and socially partnered (CFC-SP) WKY rats, in comparison to the stress resilient Wistar (WIS) rats. Binding of [³H] MK-801 to NMDA receptors was measured in the prefrontal cortex (PFC), basolateral amygdala (BLA), central amygdala (CeA), and the CA1/CA2, CA3 and dentate gyrus (DG) of the hippocampus. Extinction of CFC in a socially isolated environment resulted in higher NMDA binding in the PFC in WKY rats but lower binding in the PFC in WIS rats. While extinction of CFC in a socially partnered environment did not alter NMDA binding in WKY rats, higher NMDA binding was seen in the BLA, CA1/CA2 and DG in WIS rats. Our results suggest that NMDA-mediated mechanisms of fear extinction in a socially isolated or socially partnered environment may be different in the two phenotypes and may involve other central mechanisms.
... (NAcc; e.g., Acevedo et al., 2012;Aron et al., 2005;Bartels & Zeki, 2000;Fisher et al., 2010). These mechanisms are believed to be shared with other animals, including prairie voles, which exhibit a selective preference for their partner in long-term paired relationships (for a review, see Walum & Young, 2018). ...
Article
Having an intimate romantic relationship is an important aspect of life. Dopamine-rich reward regions, including the nucleus accumbens (NAcc), have been identified as neural correlates for both emotional bonding with the partner and interest in unfamiliar attractive nonpartners. Here, we aimed to disentangle the overlapping functions of the NAcc using multivoxel pattern analysis, which can decode the cognitive processes encoded in particular neural activity. During functional MRI scanning, 46 romantically involved men performed the social-incentive-delay task, in which a successful response resulted in the presentation of a dynamic and positive facial expression from their partner and unfamiliar women. Multivoxel pattern analysis revealed that the spatial patterns of NAcc activity could successfully discriminate between romantic partners and unfamiliar women during the period in which participants anticipated the target presentation. We speculate that neural activity patterns within the NAcc represent the relationship partner, which might be a key neural mechanism for committed romantic relationships.
... Recognizing these challenges can conflict with essentialist intuitions. The notion that some aspect of neural activity might represent categories such as love (Bartels & Zeki, 2000) or a Christmas-spirit network in the brain (Hougaard et al., 2015) are transparently problematic. However, the intuition that activity in the brain somehow acts as a placeholder essence for categories from common language is also evident in the attempts to interpret canonical findings in visual neuroscience such as the single-cell response to edges and the fMRI response to faces. ...
Article
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The reliance in psychology on verbal definitions means that psychological research is unusually moored to how humans think and communicate about categories. Psychological concepts (e.g., intelligence, attention) are easily assumed to represent objective, definable categories with an underlying essence. Like the "vital forces" previously thought to animate life, these assumed essences can create an illusion of understanding. By synthesizing a wide range of research lines from cognitive, clinical, and biological psychology and neuroscience, we describe a pervasive tendency across psychological science to assume that essences explain phenomena. Labeling a complex phenomenon can appear as theoretical progress before there is sufficient evidence that the described category has a definable essence or known boundary conditions. Category labels can further undermine progress by masking contingent and contextual relationships and obscuring the need to specify mechanisms. Finally, we highlight examples of promising methods that circumvent the lure of essences and suggest four concrete strategies for identifying and avoiding essentialist intuitions in theory development.
... The results of brain activity in human males in a PET-scan study showed that the amygdala was deactivated not only during ejaculation or orgasm, but also during sexual stimulation and erection (Holstege and Huynh, 2011). There was even a similar decrease during romantic love (Bartels and Zeki, 2000). On the contrary, with visual sexual stimulation, activation in the amygdala was found in males and females (Beauregard et al., 2001;Hamann et al., 2004). ...
Article
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IntroductionPremature ejaculation (PE) is a common sexual dysfunction and is found to be associated with abnormal emotion. The amygdala plays an important role in the processing of emotion. The process of ejaculation is found to be mediated by the frontal-limbic neural circuits. However, the correlations between PE and emotion are still unclear.Methods Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data were acquired in 27 PE patients with stable emotion (SPE), 27 PE patients with abnormal emotion (NPE), and 30 healthy controls (HC). We used rs-fMRI to explore the underlying neural mechanisms in SPE, NPE, and HC by measuring the functional connectivity (FC). Differences of FC values among the three groups were compared when choosing bilateral amygdala as the regions of interest (ROIs). We also explored the correlations between the brain regions showing altered FC values and scores of the premature ejaculation diagnostic tool (PEDT)/Eysenck Personality Inventory about neuroticism (EPQ-N) in the PE group.ResultsWhen the left amygdala was chosen as the ROI, the SPE group exhibited an increased FC between the left medial superior frontal gyrus (SFGmed) and amygdala compared with the NPE or HC group. When the right amygdala was chosen as the ROI, the NPE group exhibited a decreased FC between the left SFGmed and right amygdala compared with the HC group. In addition, FC values of the left SFGmed had positive correlations with PEDT and negative correlations with EPQ-N scores in the PE group. Moreover, FC values of the left superior temporal gyrus had positive correlations with EPQ-N scores in the PE group.Conclusion The increased FC values between the left SFGmed and amygdala could reflect a compensatory cortical control mechanism with the effect of stabilized emotion in the limbic regions of PE patients. Abnormal FC between these brain regions could play a critical role in the physiopathology of PE and could help us in dividing PE into more subtypes.
... Over the past few decades, compelling evidence on the neuropsychological underpinnings of affiliative bonding emerged, involving bonds with offspring (i.e., parental-infant bonding) (Parsons et al., 2013;Paul et al., 2019), romantic partners (i.e., pair-bonding) (Zeki, 2007), and friends (Brent et al., 2014). These studies utilized experimental paradigms in which participants were required to process stimuli of their affiliative figures, such as mothers viewing their babies (Hoekzema et al., 2017;Michalska et al., 2014) or adults viewing their romantic partners (Aron et al., 2005;Bartels and Zeki, 2000) or friends Woods et al., 2020). Stimuli included facial images (Atzil et al., 2011;Barrett et al., 2012), videos (Strathearn et al., 2008;Wan et al., 2014), or names (Ortigue et al., 2007) of affiliative figures. ...
Article
Trust is vital for establishing social relationships and is a crucial precursor for affiliative bonds. Investigations explored the neuropsychological bases of trust separately (e.g., measured by the trust game) and affiliative bonding (e.g., measured by parental care, pair-bonding, or friendship). However, direct empirical support for the shared neural mechanisms between trust and affiliative bonding is missing. Here, we conducted a coordinate-based meta-analysis on functional magnetic resonance imaging studies on interpersonal trust and affiliative bonding using the activation likelihood estimation method. Our results demonstrated that decisions to trust strangers in repeated interactions (i.e., identification-based trust) engaged the ventral striatum (vSTR, part of the mesolimbic dopaminergic pathway), likely signaling the reward anticipation. Further, both feedbacks in repeated interactions and affiliative bonding engaged the dorsal striatum (dSTR, part of the nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathway), likely encoding learning dynamics. Our findings suggest that identification-based trust can be understood in the light of affiliative bonding, involving the mesocorticolimbic “reward” pathway (vSTR) and nigrostriatal “habit formation” pathway (dSTR) in building and sustaining social relationships.
... However, in humans there may be an increased role for the cortex (see Feldman, 2017), a brain region that is greatly expanded in humans compared to other species and that likely enables many human-specific cognitive and emotional processes (Teffer and Semendeferi, 2012). For example, in humans, many regions in the prefrontal cortex, cingulate cortex, and insula project to the mid-brain pairbonding circuitry (Bartels and Zeki, 2000;Feldman, 2017;Marsh, 2018). These neural processes likely enable a vast suite of cognitive abilities that allow partners to evaluate and interpret each other's thoughts, feelings, intentions, goals, emotions, and character (Fletcher et al., 2015), manifest in both behavior and language. ...
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Pair bonding is a psychological construct that we attempt to operationalize via behavioral and physiological measurements. Yet, pair bonding has been both defined differently in various taxonomic groups as well as used loosely to describe not just a psychological and affective phenomenon, but also a social structure or mating system (either social monogamy or just pair living). In this review, we ask the questions: What has been the historical definition of a pair bond? Has this definition differed across taxonomic groups? What behavioral evidence do we see of pair bonding in these groups? Does this observed evidence alter the definition of pair bonding? Does the observed neurobiology underlying these behaviors affect this definition as well? And finally, what are the upcoming directions in which the study of pair bonding needs to head?
... For example, social buffering of stress responses does not require physical interactions between a dyad of male rats and conspecific olfactory signals can block stress responses and associated neuronal activation in the brain of male rats (Takahashi et al., 2013). Vocalizations and visual cues are also able to reduce stress and alter affective states in isolated marmosets (Rukstalis and French, 2005) and in humans (Bartels and Zeki, 2000). In prairie voles, chemosensory cues have been shown to mediate anxiety-like behavior, social and partner preferences, paternal care, and can alter context-dependent neuronal activation and adult neurogenesis (Jean-Baptiste et al., 2008;Liu et al., 2014;Tubbiola and Wysocki, 1997;Williams et al., 1992). ...
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Social buffering can provide protective effects on stress responses and their subsequent negative health outcomes. Although social buffering is beneficial for the recipient, it can also have anxiogenic effects on the provider of the social buffering – a phenomena referred to as stress contagion. Social buffering and stress contagion usually occur together, but they have traditionally been studied independently, thus limiting our understanding of this dyadic social interaction. In the present study, we examined the effects of preventative social buffering and stress contagion in socially monogamous prairie voles (Microtus ochrogaster). We tested the hypothesis that this dynamic social interaction is associated with coordinated alterations in behaviors, neurochemical activation, and neuroimmune responses. To do so, adult male prairie voles were stressed via an acute immobilization restraint tube (IMO) either alone (Alone) or with their previously pair-bonded female partner (Partner) in the cage for one hour. In contrast, females were placed in a cage containing either an empty IMO tube (Empty) or one that contained their pair-bonded male (Partner). Anxiety-like behavior was tested on the elevated plus maze (EPM) following the 60-mins test and brain sections were processed for neurochemical/neuroimmune marker labeling for all subjects. Our data indicate that females in the Partner group were in contact with and sniffed the IMO tube more, showed fewer anxiety-like behaviors, and had a higher level of oxytocin expression in the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus (PVN) compared to the Empty group females. Males in the Partner group had lower levels of anxiety-like behavior during the EPM test, greater activation of corticotropin-releasing hormone expressing neurons in the PVN, lower activation of serotonin neurons in the dorsal raphe, and lower levels of microgliosis in the nucleus accumbens. Taken together, these data suggest brain region- and neurochemical-specific alterations as well as neuroinflammatory changes that may be involved in the regulation of social buffering and stress contagion behaviors.
... Finally, neuroimaging supports the overlap of love addiction and drug addiction based on a study on exposing the participants to images of their romantic partners before neuroimaging. Reportedly, these images evoke self-reported feelings and show the heavy activation of the brain's reward regions (Aron et al., 2005;Bartels and Zeki, 2000;Fisher et al., 2006). There are just a few neurochemical and functional similarities between love and drug addiction. ...
... At a simpler level, MINS activity relates to the pleasantness of chocolate (Small et al., 2001), PINS FC to NAcb at rest and for food rewards is greater when hungry (Charroud et al., 2021), and dorsal MINS processes gustatory signals and visceral interoception (Avery et al., 2015). Also, left MINS is related to love under long-term romantic conditions (including greater subjective and autonomic activation) (Bartels et al., 2000). Further, MINS/PINS are active when learning an intuition-based coordination task; while this would seem to involve uncertainty, insula activity is related to subjective effortlessness (Kuo et al., 2009), suggesting that the subjective relationship to the task may lead to certainty that the game is solvable. ...
Article
Insula function is considered critical for many motivated behaviors, with proposed functions ranging from attention, behavioral control, emotional regulation, goal-directed and aversion-resistant responding. Further, the insula is implicated in many neuropsychiatric conditions including substance abuse. More recently, multiple insula subregions have been distinguished based on anatomy, connectivity, and functional contributions. Generally, posterior insula is thought to encode more somatosensory inputs, which integrate with limbic/emotional information in middle insula, that in turn integrate with cognitive processes in anterior insula. Together, these regions provide rapid interoceptive information about the current or predicted situation, facilitating autonomic recruitment and quick, flexible action. Here, we seek to create a robust foundation from which to understand potential subregion differences, and provide direction for future studies. We address subregion differences across humans and rodents, so that the latter's mechanistic interventions can best mesh with clinical relevance of human conditions. We first consider the insula's suggested roles in humans, then compare subregional studies, and finally describe rodent work. One primary goal is to encourage precision in describing insula subregions, since imprecision (e.g. including both posterior and anterior studies when describing insula work) does a disservice to a larger understanding of insula contributions. Additionally, we note that specific task details can greatly impact recruitment of various subregions, requiring care and nuance in design and interpretation of studies. Nonetheless, the central ethological importance of the insula makes continued research to uncover mechanistic, mood, and behavioral contributions of paramount importance and interest. This article is part of the special Issue on ‘Neurocircuitry Modulating Drug and Alcohol Abuse'.
... Spirituality can alleviate pain and augment placebo (51), consistent with the role of the PAG in opiate and nonopiate analgesia (45,52). Finally, spirituality and religiosity have been linked to, if not equated with, unconditional love (53,54), consistent with the role of the PAG in maternal and pair bonding (47,(55)(56)(57)(58)(59)(60), unconditional love (47), maternal love (61), nonsexual love (59), compassion (62), and the duration of longterm relationships (55). These findings of shared brain circuitry for spiritual acceptance and altruism are also convergent with the hypothesis that spiritual beliefs facilitated the expansion of prosociality over the course of human evolution (63). ...
Article
Background Over 80% of the global population consider themselves religious with even more identifying as spiritual, but the neural substrates of spirituality and religiosity remain unresolved. Methods In two independent brain lesion datasets (N1=88; N2=105), we apply lesion network mapping to test whether lesion locations associated with spiritual and religious belief map to a specific human brain circuit. Results We found that brain lesions associated with self-reported spirituality map to a brain circuit centered on the periaqueductal grey. Intersection of lesion locations with this same circuit aligned with self-reported religiosity in an independent dataset, as well as prior reports of lesions associated with hyper-religiosity. Lesion locations causing delusions and alien limb syndrome also intersected this circuit. Conclusions These findings suggest that spirituality and religiosity map to a common brain circuit centered on the periaqueductal grey, a brainstem region previously implicated in fear conditioning, pain modulation, and altruistic behavior.
... Helen Fisher (2016) plausibly argues that three distinct brain systems-erotic lust, romantic love, and attachment-evolved to motivate reproduction and cooperative solutions to the unique challenges that came with human offspring. These systems can drive us toward different mates for different purposes, facilitated by distinct types of hormones that underpin distinct cycles of bonding, some of which can be likened to drug addiction (Bartels and Zeki 2000). ...
... Helen Fisher (2016) plausibly argues that three distinct brain systems-erotic lust, romantic love, and attachment-evolved to motivate reproduction and cooperative solutions to the unique challenges that came with human offspring. These systems can drive us toward different mates for different purposes, facilitated by distinct types of hormones that underpin distinct cycles of bonding, some of which can be likened to drug addiction (Bartels and Zeki 2000). ...
Article
The myth of true, lifelong love promoted low divorce rates among farmers who depended on each other for survival. In the urban ecology after industrialization, it became increasingly clear that long-term monogamy goes against human nature. In the Scandinavian Modern Breakthrough, a late-1800s literary movement, Henrik Ibsen, August Strindberg, and others clashed in a battle over modern mating morality. Each interpreted Darwin to fit their own agenda, suggesting naturalistic understandings of "free love" and "true marriage ," some of which were laughable while others landed authors in prison. Evolutionary theory from our present era suggests that human mate choice is guided by three brain systems: erotic lust, romantic love, and feelings of deep attachment; our species thus evolved for serial pair-bonding with extra-pair copulation. Using these and other evolutionary insights, this article evaluates narratives from the Modern Breakthrough, which laid the foundation for today's gender-equal and sexually liberal Nordic societies.
... Finally, neuroimaging supports the overlap of love addiction and drug addiction based on a study on exposing the participants to images of their romantic partners before neuroimaging. Reportedly, these images evoke self-reported feelings and show the heavy activation of the brain's reward regions (Aron et al., 2005;Bartels and Zeki, 2000;Fisher et al., 2006). There are just a few neurochemical and functional similarities between love and drug addiction. ...
Article
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Love addiction is a controversial and highly debated condition and, even today, not recognized by DSM-5 as a specific diagnosis, although there is enough literature to support its characterization as an addictive disorder. Love addiction, also called pathological love, can be defined as a pattern of behavior characterized by a maladaptive, pervasive, and excessive interest towards one or more romantic partners, resulting in lack of control, renounce of other interests, and other negative consequences. This focused review uses the evidence from recent studies to compare the neural alterations in romantic love and drug addiction; moreover, we also compare the behavioral alterations in romantic love and drug addiction. From the behavioral comparisons, we found that there are many similarities between the early stage of romantic love and drug addiction, and this stage of romantic love is considered a behavioral addiction. At the same time, significant differences exist between the later stage of romantic love and drug addiction, and this stage of romantic love eventually develops into prosocial behavior. The diagnosis and management of love addiction may be a controversial but promising area of research.
... Considering the extensive literature on romantic love and its many definitions, for this study we wanted to refer to constructs about love derived from the field of neuroscience. Romantic love, which has long been held to be a pure emotion, has recently been revealed to be rather a goal-directed mechanism which combines cognitive and emotional processes [28][29][30] and personality. 31 It mobilizes attachment, 32 sexual attraction, 33,34 positive as well as negative emotions, obsessive thoughts (typical of passionate love), and idealization. ...
Article
In recent years, research on high-risk athletes has focused mainly on personality traits, highlighting a complex and often ambivalent personality structure. Although scholars pointed out emotional difficulties amongst high-risk athletes, there exists to this day no in-depth investigation of the affective aspect. In an effort to address this so-far neglected question, this study offers the first thorough exploration of patterns of romantic relationships among high-risk athletes. Two groups were selected: people who practice extreme sports (N = 189; Extreme) and those who practice other types of sports (N = 207; Non-extreme). A series of tests were administered to evaluate romantic love, personality traits and self-esteem. Results showed that Extreme tend to display less intense feelings than their Non-extreme counterparts; conversely, their sentimental relationships are characterized by positive emotions and stable feelings, avoiding negative emotions. Hence, despite stereotypes which characterize Extreme as thrill-seekers prone to impulsivity, it seems that this group do not in fact seek as many thrills in their love life, but rather seek stability and contentment. Although still in it explorative phase, this study produced preliminary data which should be considered in devising further assessment and therapeutic strategies for this population of athletes.
... • Barterls., et al. (2000) explored the mechanism of love [4]. ...
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Feeling is a fundamental aspect of behavioral, social-psychological, and neurobiological sciences, encompassing a range of experiences adapted subjectively by humans. Emotion forms the center of everyday human experiences. Behavior, physiological arousal, cognitive appraisal, motor expression, and subjective experiences are considered critical components in studying emotions or feelings. Beliefs integrate external and personal reflections for their behavior. The relational beliefs are developed instantaneously by associating with those of the same or similar ideologies. In contrast, language forms the basis of conceptualizing more complex beliefs, based on extensive participation in ritual acts and narratives. Awareness and consciousness are stimuli of human biochemistry. Beliefs help in decision-making and pave the way for moral judgment. Beliefs influence factors directly or indirectly involved in psychopathology. Feelings also evaluate an individual's beliefs , and express the power of self-reliance. This paper describes the neural network of emotions, feelings, beliefs, and perceptions, which appear diverse on the surface.
... Studies have shown that oxytocin, vasopressin, cortisol, serotonin, dopamine, follicle-stimulating hormone, and testosterone are involved in romantic love [18][19][20][21][22]. In addition, the caudate, putamen, ventral tegmental area, insula, amygdala, cingulate cortex, globus pallidus, substantia nigra, raphe nucleus, cerebellum, nucleus accumbens, thalamus, and various parts of the cortex have been shown to play a role in romantic love [23][24][25][26][27][28][29]. ...
Article
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Science is starting to unravel the neural basis of romantic love. The goal of this literature review was to identify and interpret the electrophysiological correlates of romantic love. Electroencephalography (EEG) and event-related potential (ERP) studies with a design that elicits romantic love feelings were included. The methods of previous EEG studies are too heterogeneous to draw conclusions. Multiple ERP studies, however, have shown that beloved stimuli elicit an enhanced late positive potential (LPP/P3/P300), which is not due to familiarity, positive valence, or objective beauty. This effect occurs in Western and Eastern cultures and for pictorial and verbal information, and results from bottom-up rather than top-down factors. Studies have also shown that beloved stimuli elicit an early posterior negativity (EPN), which also does not seem to be due to familiarity or positive valence. Data on earlier ERP components (P1, N1, P2, N170/VPP, N2) is scarce and mixed. Of course, the enhanced LPP and EPN are not specific to romantic love. Instead, they suggest that the beloved captures early attention, within 200-300 ms after stimulus onset that is relatively resource-independent, and subsequently receives sustained motivated attention. Future research would benefit from employing cognitive tasks and testing participants who are in love regardless of relationship status.
... Although not all researchers agree, many argue that an attachment/caregiving neural system provides the underlying developmental framework for other affiliative behaviors later in life (see Depue & Morrone-Strupinsky, 2005). Indeed, Bartels and Zeki showed that, although they are not isomorphic, maternal and romantic love overlap in the brain, activating many of the same regions in striatum, insula, and cingulate cortex, and deactivating many of the same regions in prefrontal cortex (Bartels & Zeki, 2000. ...
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Resilience is the process by which individuals adapt successfully to acute or chronic challenge and adversity (see Preface, this volume). Initially studied in developmental contexts, it is now a focus in adult psychology, where it vies with risk-based models to explain behavior and health-related outcomes. Resilience researchers ask “Why are most people able to overcome trauma or misfortune, even to thrive in their wake, whereas others are critically damaged by these experiences?” Some answers to this question suggest a powerful resiliencepromoting role for interpersonal relationships and social connection (Cacioppo, Reis, & Zautra, 2011). As noted by Berkman and colleagues, relationships influence well-being by providing opportunities for social integration and engagement, giving and receiving social support, influencing and being influenced by others, experiencing positive and negative social interactions, and feeling companionship or loneliness (Berkman, Glass, Brissette, & Seeman, 2000). Relationships also provide opportunities for interpersonal touch, particularly physical affection.
... In particular, the hypothalamus was proposed as key region regulating both human adult interpersonal relationship and adult-child interaction. Bartels and Zeki, comparing neural activations in mothers presented with pictures of their own children (maternal love) with those elicited by presentation of pictures of their partners (romantic love) [83], showed several overlapping regions in the dopaminergic reward system, although only romantic love and not maternal love elicited activation in the hypothalamus [53]. This single study did not show hypothalamic activity associated with mother-infant relationship maternal love but several other studies reported its involvement [54][55][56] and corroborated indications of a partially common neural substrate for different types of attachment relationships. ...
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There exist extensive animal research and lesion studies in humans demonstrating a tight association between the hypothalamus and socioemotional behavior. However, human neuroimaging literature in this direction is still rather limited. In order to reexamine the functional role of this region in regulating human social behavior, we here provided a synthesis of neuroimaging studies showing hypothalamic activation during affiliative, cooperative interactions, and in relation to ticklish laughter and humor. In addition, studies reporting involvement of the hypothalamus during aggressive and antisocial interactions were also considered. Our systematic review revealed a growing number of investigations demonstrating that the evolutionary conserved hypothalamic neural circuity is involved in multiple and diverse aspects of human socioemotional behavior. On the basis of the observed heterogeneity of hypothalamus-mediated socioemotional responses, we concluded that the hypothalamus might play an extended functional role for species survival and preservation, ranging from exploratory and approaching behaviors promoting social interactions to aggressive and avoidance responses protecting and defending the established social bonds.
... Bowlby argued that separation anxiety is an injury to primary narcissism [18]. It is hypothesized in SAT that this affectional bond with the childhood self induces dopamine in the brain's reward circuitry as is the case in romantic love [37,38], maternal love [39] and love of God [40]. ...
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The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate the efficacy of the new Self-Attachment Technique (SAT) in treating resistant anxiety and depression, lasting at least three years, among Iranian women from different social backgrounds. In this self-administrable and algorithmic intervention, the participant, using their childhood photos, imaginatively creates an affectional bond with their childhood self, vows to consistently support and lovingly re-raise this child to emotional well-being. We conducted a longitudinal study with repeated measurement to evaluate the efficacy of SAT using ANOVA. Thirty-eight women satisfying the inclusion and exclusion criteria were recruited from different parts of Tehran. To describe the SAT protocols, a total of eight one-to-one sessions were offered to the recruits, the first four were weekly while the last four were fortnightly. The participants were expected to practice the protocols for twenty minutes twice a day. Two questionnaires, GAD-7 and PHQ-9, were used to measure anxiety and depression levels before and after the intervention and in a three-month follow-up. Thirty women completed the course. The change in anxiety level between the pre-test and the post-test was significant at p < 0.001 with effect size 2.5. The change in anxiety between pre-test and follow-up test was also significant at p < 0.001 with effect size 3.5. The change in anxiety between the post-test and the follow-up was significant at p < 0.05 with effect size 0.6. For depression, the changes between pre-test and post-test as well as between pre-test and follow-up were significant at p < 0.001 with effect size 2.3 and 3.1 respectively.
... Emotional regulation is extremely important in everyday life, above all in social interactions. The primary role of the amygdala is to facilitate the adaptation of the individual to its environment [104], where emotions with negative valence are associated with an increased activity of the amygdala, whereas emotions with positive valence, such as romantic love, are associated with the deactivation of the amygdala [213]. Dysfunction of the amygdala is primarily associated with disordered emotional regulation of fear and aggression. ...
Article
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Emotions arise from activations of specialized neuronal populations in several parts of the cerebral cortex, notably the anterior cingulate, insula, ventromedial prefrontal, and subcortical structures, such as the amygdala, ventral striatum, putamen, caudate nucleus, and ventral tegmental area. Feelings are conscious, emotional experiences of these activations that contribute to neuronal networks mediating thoughts, language, and behavior, thus enhancing the ability to predict, learn, and reappraise stimuli and situations in the environment based on previous experiences. Contemporary theories of emotion converge around the key role of the amygdala as the central subcortical emotional brain structure that constantly evaluates and integrates a variety of sensory information from the surroundings and assigns them appropriate values of emotional dimensions, such as valence, intensity, and approachability. The amygdala participates in the regulation of autonomic and endocrine functions, decision-making and adaptations of instinctive and motivational behaviors to changes in the environment through implicit associative learning, changes in short- and long-term synaptic plasticity, and activation of the fight-or-flight response via efferent projections from its central nucleus to cortical and subcortical structures.
... Diese können anhand experimenteller Untersuchungen, in denen Probanden Reize ihrer geliebten Partner dargeboten werden, mit diversen Messmethoden wie etwa dem Elektroenzephalogramm (EEG) oder funktionelle Magnetresonanztomographie (fMRT) untersucht werden (z. B.Bartels & Zeki, 2000). Eine der ersten Studien in denen diese Techniken zur "Vermessung romantischer Liebe" genutzt wurde, wurde vonBartels und Zeki (2000) durchgeführt. ...
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Positive Psychologie ist die Wissenschaft dessen, was Individuen, Organisationen und Gesellschaften dazu befähigt, sich bestmöglich zu entwickeln und aufzublühen. Sie orientiert sich an den Stärken, Ressourcen und Potenzialen, die Menschen mitbringen. Im Mittelpunkt des Forschungsinteresses stehen daher psychisches Wohlbefinden und positive Entwicklung von Individuen, Organisationen und der Gesellschaft. In diesem Band werden grundlegende Forschungsbefunde der positiven Psychologie aus dem deutschsprachigen Raum vorgestellt. „Positive Psychologie und Leistung“, „Positive Psychologie und Glück“ sowie „Positive Psychologie und die Mensch-Computer-Interaktion“ sind dabei die Schwerpunkte. Themen wie Leistung, Flow, Urlaub, Liebe und Geld, Haben und Sein, Emotionen, Politik, Charakterstärken und Potentiale führen in die fesselnden Bereiche menschlicher Existenz.
... This behavior suggests an automaticity that must be relearned. In addition, however, changes in nucleus accumbens seen in animal and human fMRI research suggest that regions of the reward network (including caudate, orbitofrontal cortex, etc.) are important for predicting their presence and motivating us to seek/yearn for them [18][19][20][21][22]. [23]) and structural neuroimaging can help us see where problems in structural integrity of the brain can lead to PGD (Figure 1). ...
Article
Recent grief research suggests that the influential cognitive stress theory should be updated with evidence from cognitive neuroscience. Combining human and animal neuroscience with attachment theory, we propose that semantic knowledge of the everlasting nature of the attachment figure, and episodic, autobiographical memories of the death are in conflict, perhaps explaining the duration of grieving and generating predictions about complications in prolonged grief disorder (PGD). Our Gone-But-Also-Everlasting model emphasizes that grieving may be a form of learning, requiring time and experiential feedback. Difficulties pre-loss, such as spousal dependency or pre-existing hippocampal volume, can prolong learning and predict PGD. Complications such as avoidance, rumination, and stress-induced hippocampal atrophy may also develop post-loss, and create functional or structural mechanisms predicting PGD.
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In an integrative review, we examine four theories and models of romantic passion to determine what causes feelings of romantic passion. Although a growing consensus has emerged for the definition of romantic passion, we suggest that this is largely not the case for the source of romantic passion. We outline how four different perspectives—Limerence Theory, the Rate of Change in Intimacy Model, the Self‐Expansion Model, and the Triangular Theory of Love—propose four different potential sources of romantic passion and review empirical support in favor and against each. For each of these perspectives, we additionally outline the predicted trajectory of passion that follows from each theorized source of passion, as well as each perspective's view on the ability for passion to be controlled and up‐regulated. In identifying ways in which these theories and models offer conflicting predictions about the source of romantic passion, this review points to ways in which a more comprehensive model may be developed that integrates across these four perspectives.
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Dating is widely thought of as a test phase for romantic relationships, during which new romantic partners carefully evaluate each other for long-term fit. However, this cultural narrative assumes that people are well equipped to reject poorly suited partners. In this article, we argue that humans are biased toward pro-relationship decisions—decisions that favor the initiation, advancement, and maintenance of romantic relationships. We first review evidence for a progression bias in the context of relationship initiation, investment, and breakup decisions. We next consider possible theoretical underpinnings—both evolutionary and cultural—that may explain why getting into a relationship is often easier than getting out of one, and why being in a less desirable relationship is often preferred over being in no relationship at all. We discuss potential boundary conditions that the phenomenon may have, as well as its implications for existing theoretical models of mate selection and relationship development.
Chapter
Although we spend more than ninety percent of our lives inside buildings, we understand very little about how the built environment affects our behavior, thoughts, emotions, and well-being. We are biological beings whose senses and neural systems have developed over millions of years; it stands to reason that research in the life sciences, particularly neuroscience, can offer compelling insights into the ways our buildings shape our interactions with the world. In Mind in Architecture, leading thinkers from architecture and other disciplines, including neuroscience, cognitive science, psychiatry, and philosophy, explore what architecture and neuroscience can learn from each other.
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Mate choice is a potent generator of diversity and a fundamental pillar for sexual selection and evolution. Mate choice is a multistage affair, where complex sensory information and elaborate actions are used to identify, scrutinize, and evaluate potential mating partners. While widely accepted that communication during mate assessment relies on multimodal cues, most studies investigating the mechanisms controlling this fundamental behavior have restricted their focus to the dominant sensory modality used by the species under examination, such as vision in humans and smell in rodents. However, despite their undeniable importance for the initial recognition, attraction, and approach towards a potential mate, other modalities gain relevance as the interaction progresses, amongst which are touch and audition. In this review, we will: (1) focus on recent findings of how touch and audition can contribute to the evaluation and choice of mating partners, and (2) outline our current knowledge regarding the neuronal circuits processing touch and audition (amongst others) in the context of mate choice and ask (3) how these neural circuits are connected to areas that have been studied in the light of multisensory integration.
Chapter
In these last decades, emotions and feelings, neglected for centuries by experimental sciences, have become the topic of extensive neuroscientific research. Currently, love, the most typically human feeling, can be viewed as the result of different phases (steps), each regulated by evolutionary well-conserved and integrated neural substrates. We have proposed that the early stage, generally called romantic love, is the result of the activation of the brain limbic structures regulating fear/anxiety reactions leading to changes of major neurotransmitters, such as increased monoamine levels and decreased serotonin concentrations. The second stage of love is mainly underlain by the structures regulating the attachment system and involving oxytocin and vasopressin neuropeptides and neurotrophins. This would explain why the positive effects of love can be extremely beneficial for both mental and physical health.
Chapter
This chapter “Socio-biological Models of Love” describes the basic principles, levels, and processes which are pertinent to evolutionary models of love. It shows how the evolution of biological, genetic, ecological, technological, and cultural parameters characterizing human species and societies shapes corresponding models of love. The chapter reviews the sexual reproduction, social bonding, and pair-bonding models of love.KeywordsBiological models of loveSocial models of loveCultural models of loveEvolutionary models of loveEvolution of loveEcology of loveLove as attractionNeurophysiology of loveGenetics of loveLove as sexual reproductionLove as matingMate preferencesSexual attractionCultural variability of attractionLove as bondingCommunity bondingPair bonding
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The neurobiological basis of brand and product attachment has received much attention in consumer neuroscience research, although it remains unclear. In this study, we conducted functional MRI experiments involving female users of famous luxury brand cosmetics as participants, based on the regions of interest involved in human attachment and object attachment. The results showed that the left ventral pallidum (VP), which is involved in positive reward, and the right posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), which is involved in self-concept, a key concept in object attachment, are the core regions in cosmetic attachment. Moreover, the performed psychophysiological interaction analyses showed that VP-temporoparietal junction connectivity positively correlated with activity in the dorsal raphe nucleus, and PCC–anterior hippocampus (aHC) connectivity positively correlated with subjective evaluation of attachment. The former suggests that object attachment is a human-like attachment and a stronger tendency of anthropomorphism is associated with stronger feelings of security. The latter suggests that the individual’s concept of attachment as well as the relationships with the attached cosmetics are represented in the aHC, and the PCC–aHC associations produce subjective awareness of the attachment relationships. These associations between memory and reward systems have been shown to play critical roles in cosmetic attachment.
Article
According to the Conceptual Metaphor Theory, abstract concepts can be understood in terms of concrete concepts, but not vice versa, suggesting the unidirectionality of metaphoric association. In the current four experiments (valid N = 541), we examined the directionality of taste-emotion metaphoric association. To test the taste-to-emotion metaphoric association, we had participants rate on pleasantness after consuming a chocolate or rate their change in emotion using different scales before and after consuming a chocolate. To examine the emotion-to-taste metaphoric association, we induced participants’ emotion via watching film clips or retrieving autobiographical memory and asked them to rate the sweetness and bitterness after consuming a chocolate. With a more optimal design, results showed that sweet chocolates increased positive emotion and reduced negative emotion, whereas bitter chocolates increased negative emotion and reduced positive emotion. In contrast, induced emotion did not influence participants’ perception of chocolate taste. Other possible mechanisms are discussed.
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Intranasal oxytocin (IN OXT) administration has been proposed as a pharmacological treatment for a range of biomedical conditions including neurodevelopmental disorders. However, studies evaluating the potential long-lasting effects of chronic IN OXT during development are still scarce. Here we conducted a follow-up study of a cohort of adult titi monkeys that received intranasal oxytocin 0.8 IU/kg (n = 15) or saline (n = 14) daily for six months during their juvenile period (12 to 18 months of age), with the goal of evaluating the potential long-lasting behavioral and neural effects one year post-treatment. Subjects were paired with an opposite-sex mate at 30 months of age (one year post-treatment). We examined pair affiliative behavior in the home cage during the first four months and tested for behavioral components of pair bonding at one week and four months post-pairing. We assessed long-term changes in brain glucose uptake using ¹⁸FDG positron emission tomography (PET) scans. Our results showed that OXT-treated animals were more affiliative across a number of measures, including tail twining, compared to SAL treated subjects (tail twining is considered the “highest” type of affiliation in titi monkeys). Neuroimaging showed no treatment differences in glucose uptake between SAL and OXT-treated animals; however, females showed higher glucose uptake in whole brain at 23 months, and in both the whole brain and the social salience network at 33 months of age compared to males. Our results suggest that chronic IN OXT administration during development can have long-term effects on adult social behavior.
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Romantic love is universally observed in human communities, and the manner in which a person chooses a long-term romantic partner has been a central question in studies on close relationships. Numerous empirical psychological studies have demonstrated that facial attractiveness greatly impacts initial romantic attraction. This close link was further investigated by neuroimaging studies showing that both viewing attractive faces and having romantic thoughts recruit the reward system. However, it remains unclear how our brains integrate perceived facial attractiveness into initial romantic attraction. In addition, it remains unclear how our brains shape a persistent attraction to a particular person through interactions; this persistent attraction is hypothesized to contribute to a long-term relationship. After reviewing related studies, I introduce methodologies that could help address these questions.
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Our ability to generate actions and to recognize actions performed by others is the bedrock of our social life. Behavioral evidence suggests that the processes underlying perception and action might share a common representational framework. That is, observers might understand the actions of another individual in terms of the same neural code that they use to produce the same actions themselves. What neurophysiological evidence, if any, supports such a hypothesis? In this article, brain imaging studies addressing this question are reviewed and examined in the light of the functional segregation of the perceptual mechanisms subtending visual recognition and those used for action. We suggest that there are not yet conclusive arguments for a clear neurophysiological substrate supporting a common coding between perception and action.
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Little is known about the function of the retrosplenial cortex and until recently, there was no evidence that it had any involvement in emotional processes. Surprisingly, recent functional neuroimaging studies show that the retrosplenial cortex is consistently activated by emotionally salient words. A review of the functional neuroimaging literature reveals a previously overlooked pattern of observations: the retrosplenial cortex is the cortical region most consistently activated by emotionally salient stimuli. Evidence that this region is also involved in episodic memory suggests that it might have a role in the interaction between emotion and episodic memory. Recognition that the retrosplenial cortex has a prominent role in the processing of emotionally salient stimuli invites further studies to define its specific functions and its interactions with other emotion-related brain regions.
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We have used the technique of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and a variety of colour paradigms to activate the human brain regions selective for colour. We show here that the region defined previously [Lueck et al. (1989) Nature, 340, 386-389; Zeki et al. (1991) J. Neurosci., 11, 641-649; McKeefry & Zeki (1997) Brain, 120, 2229-2242] as the human colour centre consists of two subdivisions, a posterior one, which we call V4 and an anterior one, which we refer to as V4alpha, the two together being part of the V4-complex. The posterior area is retinotopically organized while the anterior is not. We discuss our new findings in the context of previous studies of the cortical colour processing system in humans and monkeys. Our new insight into the organization of the colour centre in the human brain may also account for the variability in both severity and degree of recovery from lesions producing cerebral colour blindness (achromatopsia).
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