The Love Competition
Happy Valentine’s Day! In honor of V-day, we wanted to get nerdy with the subject of love. Is it possible for one person to love more than another person can?
On yours marks, get set, LOVE. This short documentary explores the 1st Annual Love Competition that took place at the Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurological Imaging. Scientists asked 7 participants to “love” as hard as they could for 5 minutes while measuring brain activity via fMRI. The participants ranged in age, love experiences, and general “hipster-ness.” The researchers looked closely at the brain activity with special focus on the Nucleus Accumbens, an area which has been shown to be an epicenter for various neural pathways signaling love.
While the skeptic science student in me questions such bold claims of quantifiable love based off of barely understood neural pathways (I mean, no control group…really?), the normal human in me can’t help but go ‘awww, how cute.’ Some questions that lingered on after watching the documentary included:
1. Could brain activity be supplemented with other physiological variables to give a more accurate reading of love experiences?
2. Could brain plasticity at a young age affect love’s neurobiological activity?
3. Can Hipsters really even fall in love?
4. Where can I sign up for next years???
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