All You Need Is Love


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True love; is science capable of measuring such a thing? Well, they tried. Scientists at Stony Brook University in New York took brain scans of newly joined couples and couples who've been together for the past twenty years. They saw the same reaction in ten percent of the older couples' brains as they did in the newer couples' brains when each saw photos of their loved ones. CNN claims this is enough evidence to prove that true love never fades. So scanning parts of the brain and having ten percent similarity proves love lasts forever? I believe in true love and I believe true love lasts. As for someone who thinks the opposite, I'm not sure this study does a good job of convincing him or her otherwise. The study is small, it was only conducted once, and the results themselves aren't even very promising.

Another news source says true love is spelled out in our genes, specifically our MHC genes. MHC genes help our bodies fight off infection and have some control over our pheromones, which affect our body scent. Scientists found that married couples have different MHC genes, one stronger and one weaker to ensure their offspring would have a healthy immune system somewhere in between. Scent plays a role in the physical attractiveness of the opposite sex as well, hence the correlation of the MHC gene to love and relationships. This study presents a logical hypothesis, but the evidence supporting it is slim and not strong enough to compete with powerful anecdotes of love and romance.

Correlation after correlation, not many studies have convinced me that science knows why we love whom we love. Love presents one of those obstacles in science where no matter how much scientific evidence is provided; the world will still see it the way it wants to. Influential anecdotes passed down from generation to generation and even more being created in society today adds to the reason why the idea of love cannot be defined scientifically.

I did an earlier blog post on fate and coincidence and how proving either is so hard, it still remains a mystery to science. Love can fit into this category as well, something that cannot be scientifically defined, yet left to the hands of chance and destiny. Science cannot predict whom we will fall in love with, when it will happen, or why it will happen. It just does and that is the beauty of it. It was difficult for me to find serious studies done on the emotion of love, not just random surveys and articles about how compatible two people are; this led me to think, maybe science has accepted love as a mystery and should be left as a mystery.

love.jpg

Is science accepting there is no way of defining love? Or is it leaving it up to fate like the rest of society believes?

2 Comments

Hey Taylor,
This is an interesting topic. I've honestly never thought of love in a scientific manner or even considered the fact that science could prove love or explain how it works. I have in the past read articles about how scent is a determining factor in overall attractiveness and how someone who looks healthy is more attractive to others than someone who does not. However those articles just explain certain factors of why we are attracted to certain people and not others and I would like to believe that most people agree that love is more than attraction.
In order for there to be serious scientific studies done that explain love there would have to be some sort of scientific definition of love and then of course there would have to be variables that are measurable. But what factors would they measure and test?

I think that love falls into the same category as the benefits of prayer. I think it would be very difficult to prove concrete evidence for either side. I don't see love as something that can be observed or experimented with on a scientific basis. Yes, the scans were interesting, but I'm sure there were cases of people that still loved each other that had different scans than the newlyweds. While I find the idea of trying to measure love intriguing, I don't think there will ever be a way to do it accurately. At least to me, attempts to measure love will continue to seem like the cheesy love calculators that you can find online. I think it would be more beneficial for scientists to just move on and work on a project that they are more likely to find success.
Just for fun, here's a link to one of those stupid calculators: http://www.lovecalculator.com/

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