UCL study establishes common biological ground for maternal and romantic love in humans

A new study of young mothers by researchers at University College London (UCL) has shown that romantic and maternal love activate many of the same specific regions of the brain, and lead to a suppression of neural activity associated with critical social assessment of other people and negative emotions. The findings suggest that once one is closely familiar with a person, the need to assess the character and personality of that person is reduced, and bring us closer to explaining why, in neurological terms, ‘love makes blind.’

In the experiment, published in February’s NeuroImage online preview edition, the brains of 20 young mothers were scanned while they viewed pictures of their own children, children they were acquainted with, and adult friends, to control for feelings of familiarity and friendship (the brain regions involved in romantic love having been identified by the authors in an earlier study).

The similarity of the activity recorded in this study compared to those obtained in the earlier study was striking; with activity in several regions of the brain overlapping precisely in the two studies. In summary, the findings showed that both types of love activate specific regions in the reward system, while reducing activity in the systems necessary for making negative judgements.

The new results demonstrated also that the mechanisms of love are similar in animals and humans, and that the brain regions activated are the same ones as respond to the brain-produced drugs oxytocin and vasopressin. These neuro-hormones have been shown in animals to be both sufficient and necessary to induce both mother-infant bonding and male-female bonding. The new research therefore provides a link to the previous work on animals, showing that the same ’love-potion,’ produced by the brain, known to work in animals is also at work in humans.

“Both romantic and maternal love are highly rewarding experiences that are linked to the perpetuation of the species, and consequently have a closely linked biological function of crucial evolutionary importance,” said Andreas Bartels, of UCL’s Wellcome Department of Imaging Neuroscience. “Yet almost nothing is known about their neural correlates in the human.

“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 (regions in the brain that induce euphoric feelings), explaining the power of love to motivate and exhilerate.”

Media Contact

Dominique Fourniol alfa

Weitere Informationen:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk

Alle Nachrichten aus der Kategorie: Social Sciences

This area deals with the latest developments in the field of empirical and theoretical research as it relates to the structure and function of institutes and systems, their social interdependence and how such systems interact with individual behavior processes.

innovations-report offers informative reports and articles related to the social sciences field including demographic developments, family and career issues, geriatric research, conflict research, generational studies and criminology research.

Zurück zur Startseite

Kommentare (0)

Schreib Kommentar

Neueste Beiträge

Cyanobacteria: Small Candidates …

… as Great Hopes for Medicine and Biotechnology In the coming years, scientists at the Chair of Technical Biochemistry at TU Dresden will work on the genomic investigation of previously…

Do the twist: Making two-dimensional quantum materials using curved surfaces

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have discovered a way to control the growth of twisting, microscopic spirals of materials just one atom thick. The continuously twisting stacks of two-dimensional…

Big-hearted corvids

Social life as a driving factor of birds’ generosity. Ravens, crows, magpies and their relatives are known for their exceptional intelligence, which allows them to solve complex problems, use tools…

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.

Close