In the talk below, anthropologist Helen Fisher investigates LOVE – how it evolved, how the “love” chemicals behave in our brains, and how antidepressant abuse can affect it all…
Fisher researched 32 people, who were madly in love and scanned their brains to discover some fascinating results. Of the 32 people, 17 had their love reciprocated, while 15 had just been dumped.
One of the questions Fisher asked them was, “Would you die for him or her?”
“These people would say ‘Yes!’” exclaims Fisher. “As if I had asked them to pass the salt. I was just staggered by it.”
“The main characteristics of romantic love are cravings, motivation, and obsession” says Fisher. “An intense craving to be with a particular person, not just sexually, but emotionally. All day. All night. I can never stop thinking about him or her.”
Who’s more adulterous?
“I’m always astonished when people come to me and say, ‘Why is it that men are so adulterous?’” says Fisher. “And I say, ‘Who do you think these men are sleeping with?’”
“In the Western world, women start sooner at sex, have more partners, express less remorse for the partners that they do, marry later, have fewer children, leave bad marriages in order to get good ones. We are seeing the rise of female sexual expression.”
How are antidepressants affecting love and romance?
“Over 100 million prescriptions of antidepressants are written every year in the United States,” warns Fisher.
“I’ve got nothing against people who take them short term, when they’re going through something horrible. They want to commit suicide or kill somebody else. I would recommend it. But more and more people in the United States are taking them long term.”
“What these drugs do is raise levels of serotonin. And by raising levels of serotonin, you suppress the dopamine circuit. Dopamine is associated with romantic love. Not only do they suppress the dopamine circuit, but they kill the sex drive. And when you kill the sex drive, you kill orgasm. And when you kill orgasm, you kill that flood of drugs associated with attachment. The things are connected in the brain. And when you tamper with one brain system, you’re going to tamper with another. I’m just simply saying that a world without love is a deadly place.”