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"Darling, I'm Dopaminergic Motivated", Or What Is Love - Relations
"Darling, I'm Dopaminergic Motivated", Or What Is Love - Relations

Video: "Darling, I'm Dopaminergic Motivated", Or What Is Love - Relations

Video: "Darling, I'm Dopaminergic Motivated", Or What Is Love - Relations
Video: What Is Love? 2023, March

In a small series of articles based on my lectures, I will try to briefly talk about how various scientific directions are gradually bringing us closer to understanding what love is - this is the most wonderful and beautiful mental phenomenon, a feeling that evolution has given us.


Alexander Markov is a Russian biologist, paleontologist, popularizer of science. Laureate (2011) of the main prize in Russia in the field of popular science literature "Enlightener". Graduated from the biological faculty of Moscow State University in 1987. At the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences since 1987. Doctor of Biological Sciences, leading researcher at the Paleontological Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Author of over 130 scientific publications on zoology, paleontology, theory of evolution, historical dynamics of biodiversity and other areas of evolutionary biology. RAS Medal in Biology. H. Rausing Prize (1998). He made a significant contribution to the development of the general theory of biological macroevolution and to the mathematical modeling of macroevolutionary processes.

The easiest way would be to reduce the conversation to sex and sexual reproduction. One could talk about theories of the origin of sexual reproduction, about what advantages it gives and what price one has to pay for it, about sexual selection, about the reasons for the division into two sexes - male and female, about sex hormones, about ways to choose a marriage partner and so on - all these are large, well-developed directions in biology; there are many beautiful theories, facts and experimental works.

But we still usually mean by the word "love" not sex and reproduction, or, at least, not only sex and reproduction. We understand by this word, first of all, a strong and stable, and sometimes even lifelong emotional attachment of one person to another: when we feel good with this person and bad without him, when we really care about what happens to this person and what he feels, including - what he feels in relation to us, etc.

There is no doubt that mammals have emotional attachment to other individuals, and this is also confirmed experimentally (mice feel other people's pain, rats help out friends from trouble).

But as far as persistent attachment to a marriage partner is concerned, this phenomenon is much less common than attachment to children, for example. Only five percent of mammals are monogamous. There are monogamous species among monkeys.

But for our closest relatives - chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans - conjugal love is not very common. Although they have a complex relationship, of course, emotionally colored: friendship, enmity, likes and dislikes. And even stable attachments between sexual partners are found in chimpanzees. Still, it does not come to the formation of permanent married couples, although chimpanzees may have preferred partners who clearly find pleasure in each other's company.

So how can love be defined in this context? Biologists propose this formulation:

Love is a dopaminergic goal-directed motivation for pair-bonding *.

I'm not a fan of strict definitions in biology, but this definition of love, made by neuroscientists based on the study of the brain of lovers, seems to be quite meaningful. We know that dopamine is a neurotransmitter produced in the brains of humans and animals and is one of the chemical factors of internal reward (ERE), that is, it serves as an important part of the brain's "reward system" because it induces feelings of pleasure (or satisfaction).

Of course, something like "Darling, I am dopaminergically motivated to form a stable paired connection with you" - sounds unusual. And in this regard, I will understand if you share my feelings in relation to strict biological definitions. And yet, I would like this definition to become a starting point for us in our joint travels through the corners of our brain that are responsible for this wonderful feeling.

* Ortigue S., Bianchi-Demicheli F., Patel N., Frum C., Lewis JW Neuroimaging of Love: fMRI Meta-Analisys Evidence toward New Perspectives in Sexual Medicine // The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2010. V. 7 (11). P. 3541-3552.

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