The brain’s love circuit or Something in the Way She Moves

A reader sent along this article from AOL News. There is some oversimplification but it is a good summary and good read.

WASHINGTON -Like any young woman in love, Bianca Acevedo has exchanged valentine hearts with her fiance. But the New York neuroscientist knows better. The source of love is in the head, not the heart. She’s one of the researchers in a relatively new field focused on explaining the biology of romantic love. And the unpoetic explanation is that love mostly can be understood through brain images, hormones and genetics.

That seems to be the case for the newly in love, the long in love and the brokenhearted.

“It has a biological basis. We know some of the key players,” said Larry Young of the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University in Atlanta. There, he studies the brains of an unusual monogamous rodent to get a better clue about what goes on in the minds of people in love.

In humans, there are four tiny areas of the brain that some researchers say form a circuit of love. Acevedo, who works at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is part of a team that has isolated those regions with the unromantic names of ventral tegmental area (VTA), the nucleus accumbens, the ventral pallidum and raphe nucleus.

The hot spot is the teardrop-shaped VTA. When people newly in love were put in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine and shown pictures of their beloved, the VTA lit up. Same for people still madly in love after 20 years.

Read the rest of it…

Honey, I love you with all my ventral tegmental area.

Or you could sing this to the significant O on VDay. Pretty much the same thing.

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  • Evan

    Sent mine this one.

    We don’t have VDay here, we have a local tradition a few days later, but I’m getting in the spirit! :)

  • Evan

    the unromantic names of ventral tegmental area (VTA), the nucleus accumbens, the ventral pallidum and raphe nucleus.

    If I remember well the course I took last year, they’re part of the reward circuitry? Love, addiction, food, whatever is considered “sugary” attractive goes right through there.

    +1 piece of news for those lab geeks.

  • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton Warren

    @Evan:

    May help explain those songs that compare love to candy…

    E.g., http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTXeJwyR1Kw

  • Evan

    Well, science schmience… They knew it all back in the 60′s. :)

  • Ann

    James Taylor = “yes, please”


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