A study of people’s ability to love.
A study of people’s ability to love
To celebrate Valentine’s Day, quarterly DVD magazine Wholphin has released a short film documenting an experiment by Stanford neuroscientists to determine if it’s possible for one person to love more than another person can.
In the film, titled The Love Competition, researchers at the Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the brain activity of seven people as they ponder love. Bob Dougherty, PhD, research director at the center, helped develop the love test and Stanford psychology postdoctoral fellow Melina Uncapher, PhD, served as scientific director for the film.
It turns out — based on the levels of activity in the dopamine, serotonin and ocytocin/vasopressin pathways — it is possible for one person to exhibit that they can love someone more deeply than another person can. But what’s amazing aboutThe Love Competition is seeing the participants talk about their loves and the effects the fMRI tests had on them. Many come out almost giddy when the test is complete, and one woman tearily explains that she just feels lucky for the love she’s had in her life.
The film is definitely worth watching. Personally, my favorite contestant is 10-year-old Milo.
By Lia Steakley
Stanford University Medical Center
* Stanford University Medical Center integrates research, medical education and patient care at its three institutions – Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital.
** The above story is adapted from materials provided by Stanford University School of Medicine