CR4 - The Engineer's Place for News and Discussion®


The Engineer's Notebook

The Engineer's Notebook is a shared blog for entries that don't fit into a specific CR4 blog. Topics may range from grammar to physics and could be research or or an individual's thoughts - like you'd jot down in a well-used notebook.

Previous in Blog: Fact or Fiction? Uncommon Uses for Household Items (Part 2)   Next in Blog: Fat To The Rescue?
Close

Comments Format:






Close

Subscribe to Discussion:

CR4 allows you to "subscribe" to a discussion
so that you can be notified of new comments to
the discussion via email.

Close

Rating Vote:







13 comments

Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

Posted February 11, 2009 12:00 AM by Sharkles

In the 1992 Disney film Aladdin, a boy was granted three wishes by a genie in a lamp. The powerful genie only had three provisions of things that he couldn't do – one being that he couldn't make someone fall in love with anybody else.

Love is often described as being a highly-complex chemical reaction that one person feels towards another. This feeling, it has been assumed, cannot be replicated. Scientists, however, are working to identify brain patterns associated with different human emotions. From this research, they hope to create a neurochemical process that can "tweak" human emotions and allow people to feel different types of hormonal connections, including love.

The Love Doctor

Larry Young, an Emory University neurobiologist, is a researcher who specializes in how the brain forms bonds with friends and loved ones. He has been conducting studies of the monogamous North American prairie vole to shed light on the complex neural and genetic components of love.

His studies suggest that oxytocin, a hormone in the brain that acts as a neurotransmitter, is important for intimate bonding. The hormone interplays with the pleasure-inducing transmitter dopamine, causing an emotional reaction. Human brain regions associated with dopamine become active during a lover's gaze, maternal bonding, or other means of pleasure – like addictions.

Young's research is also working towards uncovering genes that determine if people are suited for marriage. Men with a variant of the gene "avpr1a", for example, are more likely to remain bachelors – or if they do marry, are likely to be unhappy.

In studying the prairie vole, researchers were able to detect a gene associated with paternal, long-term bonding. This discovery loosely relates to the ability of men to form stable relationships. Young hopes that this information will lead to a treatment for lovelessness. "Drugs that manipulate brain systems at whim to enhance or diminish our love for another may not be far away," he said.

Is Love On The Way?

Young believes that the right mixture of oxytocin could enhance love, or turn it off completely. The prospect, he claims, is very real although not necessarily the best thing for society. "You're in love. No matter how you get to that end product, the feeling is the same. (But), in terms of society, I hope we don't go down that route. I just don't think we should be using drugs to manipulate emotions, especially those of other people," said Young.

Potential uses for a "love drug" include marriage therapy, as oxytocin allows people to be more trusting and attune to other people's feelings. Taking oxytocin can be as easy as a nasal spray. Studies remain ongoing in Australia to determine if such a spray would be effective in therapy.

"I don't think it's inevitable. I think it's possible," said Young.

What do you think?

Resources:

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/scienceandtechnology/science/sciencenews/4162273/Love-spray-being-developed-by-scientists.html

http://www.canada.com/topics/lifestyle/relationships/story.html?id=1155238

http://blog.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/01/scienceoflove.html

Reply

Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Commentator

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Troy, NY
Posts: 87
Good Answers: 5
#1

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/11/2009 9:07 AM

Great post, Sharkles - Very interesting research.

I can see this drug being abused. Although, it is just helping people fall in love, and not so much making them.

I could also see this turning into an M. Night Shyamalan film...

Reply
Anonymous Poster
#2

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/11/2009 10:13 AM

"Love is often described as being a highly-complex chemical reaction that one person feels towards another. This feeling, it has been assumed, cannot be replicated."

The chemical reaction has been replicated. It's called MDMA.

Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Defreestville, NY
Posts: 1081
Good Answers: 88
#3
In reply to #2

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/11/2009 11:32 AM

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20126954.500-ecstasys-legacy-so-far-so-good.html

__________________
Charlie don't surf.
Reply
Guru
United States - Member - New Member Engineering Fields - Electrical Engineering - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 1163
Good Answers: 37
#4

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/11/2009 3:02 PM

I LOOOOOOOOOVE the picture (with that many o's )

This is one drug that I would love not to come to a store near you. The last thing people need is another easy alternative to not putting in the hard work to find someone that you love. Someone may say that it would be good for marriage counseling, but creating a false sense of trust is more dangerous to a marriage than not trusting at all in some senses.

Wouldn't you want to know that what you are feeling is real? There are already things that manipulate emotions. Some people have cited ecstasy, but don't forget that alcohol can make you do crazy things (the emotions may be harder to control though, in that case).

Drugs are only temporary fixes. I wouldn't want to be the person that gets caught by their significant other after wooing them with a love potion.

Reply
2
Commentator

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Troy, NY
Posts: 87
Good Answers: 5
#6
In reply to #4

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/12/2009 8:46 AM

I agree with you, Jaxy, if the drug does actually make you fall in love with someone that you might not actually want to be with. Although, I 'm not sure the drug can target who you will fall in love with.

I think it's purpose is to help those you have a hard time with commitment. They would still have to work to find the right person.

Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member United States - Member - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Tech Valley, NY
Posts: 4393
Good Answers: 15
#9
In reply to #6

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/12/2009 11:45 AM

GA coonj!

The impression I got from reading the different articles is that the brain alterations may trigger feelings of love, but not necessarily determine who you fall in love with. I took it to mean that it can allow you to connect to people on deeper emotional levels, rather than feeling a "puppy love" kind of feeling.

I'm interested to see where this research goes. Hopefully we will get more details as it progresses.

__________________
Sharkles
Reply
Guru

Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 4545
Good Answers: 90
#11
In reply to #6

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/13/2009 8:43 AM

coonj sez: "Although, I 'm not sure the drug can target who you will fall in love with ... I think it's purpose is to help those you have a hard time with commitment. They would still have to work to find the right person."

If you're down and confused

And you don't remember who you're talkin' to
Concentration slip away
'Cause your baby is so far away

[Refrain]
Well, there's a rose in a fisted glove
And the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can't be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you're with (4X)

Don't be angry, don't be sad
Don't sit cryin' over good times you've had
There's a girl right next to you
And she's just waiting for something to do

[Refrain]
Do do do do do do do do, do do do do do do do do
Do do do do do do do do, do do do, do do do

Love the one you're with (3X)

Turn your heartache right into your joy
She's a girl, and you're a boy
Get it together make it nice
Ain't gonna need anymore advice

[Refrain]

Do do do...

---

Lyrics: Stephen Stills

Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young, Woodstock, 1969

Reply
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member United States - Member - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Tech Valley, NY
Posts: 4393
Good Answers: 15
#12
In reply to #11

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/13/2009 8:45 AM

I LOVE this song! Now I am going to have to listen to it...

__________________
Sharkles
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member United States - Member - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Tech Valley, NY
Posts: 4393
Good Answers: 15
#8
In reply to #4

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/12/2009 11:40 AM

Thanks, I love the picture as well. When I was very young I watched Aladdin all the time and aspired to be as pretty as Princess Jasmin.

__________________
Sharkles
Reply Off Topic (Score 5)
Guru

Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Etats Unis
Posts: 1857
Good Answers: 45
#5

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/12/2009 2:28 AM

We are creating new ethical questions faster than we are developing the wisdom to answer them.

So let's say I have a robot for a partner (when they become available, and they will), would it be ok for me to use the drug to enhance my feelings toward my robot? And what about the robot's rights?

So many questions...

__________________
The hardest thing to overcome, is not knowing that you don't know.
Reply Score 1 for Good Answer
Guru
Technical Fields - Technical Writing - New Member United States - Member - New Member

Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Tech Valley, NY
Posts: 4393
Good Answers: 15
#7
In reply to #5

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/12/2009 11:37 AM

We are creating new ethical questions faster than we are developing the wisdom to answer them.

GA!

The research could possibly be beneficial, but there are already so many conflicts about people and relationships in society already - not even considering robots, etc. I do think it could be useful in marriage counseling if people are having a hard time communicating. But, like you indicated, allowing it to be used at all opens a whole new can of worms.

__________________
Sharkles
Reply
2
Guru

Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Milky Way galaxy, Sol solar system, Earth (not Giaha), USA, WA, N.E.
Posts: 692
Good Answers: 13
#10

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

02/12/2009 3:55 PM

So here we come to another age-old question.

Just what is love exactly.

Are we talking hormonal/sexual/animal love? How about philio/familial/mother love? And then what some call Godly/agape love - identified by the ability to love ones enemies, as in wanting good for them in spite of how they may have treated you.

People are already confusing the first type with the whole of the matter. Having a drug that assists just one aspect sounds like a potential recipe for even more disasterous relationships than we already have.

To my mind, true love is a choice we make - tending more toward the third form. That is the kind of love that will outlast the trials and tests of time.

__________________
They that do not learn from history and apply those lessons to the present are bound to repeat its failures.
Reply Good Answer (Score 2)
Anonymous Poster
#13

Re: Can Science Let You Fall In Love?

11/13/2009 5:17 PM

Well the dose of oxitocine that would make me love missus again is more than enough to kill an elephant. No thanks!

Reply
Reply to Blog Entry 13 comments
Interested in this topic? By joining CR4 you can "subscribe" to
this discussion and receive notification when new comments are added.

Comments rated to be Good Answers:

These comments received enough positive ratings to make them "good answers".

Comments rated to be "almost" Good Answers:

Check out these comments that don't yet have enough votes to be "official" good answers and, if you agree with them, rate them!
Copy to Clipboard

Users who posted comments:

Anonymous Poster (2); coonj (2); Jaxy (1); rcapper (1); Shadetree (1); Sharkles (4); stevem (1); user-deleted-13 (1)

Previous in Blog: Fact or Fiction? Uncommon Uses for Household Items (Part 2)   Next in Blog: Fat To The Rescue?

Advertisement