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Romantic love: Helen Fisher studies the brain of lovers

Why do all people crave love and are even ready to die for it? To answer this question, a research group led by Helen Fisher undertook to study the results of brain tomography of lovers and those who recently experienced a breakdown.

American anthropologist Helen Fisher
Helen Fisher
Professor Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University in New Jersey, author of five books and hundreds of scientific articles, studies human love as a biology phenomenon.

Fisher became known for her studies of the behavior of people in love. From the point of view of an anthropologist, man is primarily one of the representatives of the primates. Very unusual, with a lot of intriguing features, including behavioral. And the sphere of reproduction and courtship is especially bizarre.

Fisher identified the main intrigue of the behavior of a man in love. On the one hand, people form long-term pairs. Among animals there are few, but they are: albatrosses, lovebirds, swans. But, unlike these creatures, most people practice two deviations from this strategy: 1) they cheat on partners while remaining married; 2) change their marriage partners, although very rarely – only one to three times in their lives.

The researcher put forward the postulate that people have a double breeding strategy. Firstly, they always have one main partner for procreation (Fisher denies the importance of polygamy, rightly pointing out that even in those societies where it is allowed, it is practiced very little). Secondly, a person spreads his genes through another channel, producing bastards. This design, as well as the core partner replacement program, is served, according to Fisher, by three behavioral systems that are rooted in the human brain.

lovers brain
The first system is attraction. This instinct makes you look for partners, it is not aimed at anyone specifically. “You may suddenly want to sleep with anyone just by driving,” says Fisher. The second system is romantic love. It makes you focus on the main partner. The third system is attachment, which makes you stay with your partner for as long as you need to raise the child to his feet.

Conclusion Helen Fisher: these three systems are not stages in a relationship, they are just three systems that can work in parallel and independently. “Here you are lying in bed with someone who is very dear to you, to whom you are very attached, but at the same time do not experience any attraction. At the same time, you can be madly in love with someone else and at the same time do not mind having to sleep with someone else. You can be very attached to a school friend, but circumstances change somehow, your spouse leaves you, your friend breaks up with someone too, and love breaks out between you. Or you just sleep with someone, and then suddenly fall in love … And so on. ”

The main scientific theme of Fisher is the study of the second system, romantic love. Since the late 1990s, she began to study the brains of people in love on a functional MRI scanner. A public lecture by Helen Fisher, dedicated to the results of many years of research, is brought to your attention.

I, Art Heron, Lucy Brown and other colleagues did a brain tomography of 37 passionately in love people. 17 of them are happy in love, 15 have just parted with their beloved. At the initial stage, there is a third experiment: our subjects claim that even after 10-25 years of living together, they are still in love with their life partners. So, I present to your attention a brief history of this experiment.

In the jungles of Guatemala, in Tikal, stands a temple. It was built by the greatest ruler of the Sun, the greatest city-state, the greatest civilization of Central America – Maya. The ruler was called Khasav-Chan-Cavil. Tall, over 1 m 80 cm tall, he lived more than 80 years. His body was buried at the base of this temple in 720 AD. An epitaph in Mayan language at the ruler’s grave says that he was passionately in love with his wife. In her honor, he built a temple opposite his. And every spring and autumn, as if in the equinox, the sun rises from behind the temple of the ruler, and shrouds the temple of his wife in the shade. And in the afternoon, at sunset, the shadow of the temple of the wife closes the temple of the ruler. And 1300 years later, these two lovers still send each other touches and kisses from nonexistence.

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