Biological Basis of Love
The aim of this essay is to discuss and evaluate a more recent area of neuropsychology, which is the biological basis of attraction. The focus of the essay will be on how certain brain activities in regions of the brain are associated with feelings of attraction in an individual. These forms of attractions can be seen as types of love towards a potential mate and this essay will be targeted at defining what love is and the type of loves there are. The essay will then link these types of loves to neuropsychological research to find the connections between these types of feelings and brain activity. The research will then be evaluated on its validity and reliability to make a conclusion of attraction being based on these brain systems. The first key to achieving an understanding of what love is on a biological basis is made through defining the meaning of love and how exactly it differs from liking someone. Rubin (1973) felt that liking and loving someone, were completely different systems, where liking was shown to be defined more as a respect, whilst love was also composed of attachment, caring and intimacy as well. Rubin developed two scales for this theory and the discriminative validity of this theory was measured from at least a male perspective of liking and loving a woman through these scales (Dermer & Pszczynski 1978), the results suggested that there was a significant difference between the two systems. This however doesn’t entirely help us define what love is, considering there can be many types of love and it makes the idea of love very subjective. Sternberg (1998) agreed with the idea of many types of love and took an in-depth view of the type’s love that attracts us to an individual. Also similarly to Rubin (1973), Sternberg believed that attachment and intimacy were two of the main types of love as well as passionate love. These three together are said to form consummate love, but separately produce different kinds of love. For example intimacy alone is said to produces liking, whilst passion alone creates infatuation, however together they are said to produce romantic love. According to neuropsychology research by Fisher (2000) some of the types of loves Sternberg has referred to, are said to of been associated with different kinds of brain and hormone activity whilst looking at a potential mate. Fisher has also described love to follow a certain pattern of stages, which Fisher has called the 3 stages of love. The first Stage is similar to Sternberg’s (1998) passionate love and is represented by Fisher has lust. This stage is described to be driven by hormones such as androgens and estrogens in both genders, these hormones are located in the Gonads and are stimulated from gonadotropin hormones passed down by the circulatory system from the Anterior Pituitary gland, which is located just beneath the Hypothalamus of the brain on the anterior lobe of the Pituary gland (Canadian institutes of health research). The Pituary gland is not a part of the brain, but it said to be stimulated by the Hypothalamus, which assists in regulating emotion, sexual drives and pleasure and that is located in the Diencephalon section of the brain just below the Thamlus and connecting to the Amygdale that is responsible for emotions like sexual desire (Boree 2009). From using this information and what we know about the brain it can be comprehended that these areas can cause this passionate type of love formed as lust and certain sexual drives to arise from that, which will increase overall general attraction in mates. The only problem with this is on an evolutionary perspective in terms of sexual selection (Darwin 1859); it will cause a lot of problems. Because it will just lead to loads of mating and may not entirely lead to you finding the more dominant partner or genes, which could cause your child to have a lower chance of survival. This is why females have to be especially picky, due to having...
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