"The heart (♥) has long been used as a symbol to refer to the spiritual, emotional, moral, and in the past also intellectual core of a human being. As the heart was once widely believed to be the seat of the human mind, the word heart continues to be used poetically to refer to the soul, and stylized depictions of hearts are used as prevalent symbols representing love."
"For this was on seynt Volantynys daySo there isn't a lot of saintly connection to St. Valentine's Day as a romantic tradition.
Whan euery bryd comyth there to chese his make."
("For this was Saint Valentine's Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate.")
|ancient coin from the Greek city|
of Cyrene, Libya, founded in 630 B.C.
featuring the silphium
Surprise discovery: romance is on the right, 'attractiveness' to the left
Another important discovery, Brown said, was that "to our surprise, the activation regions associated with intense romantic love were mostly on the right side of the brain, while the activation regions associated with facial attractiveness were mostly on the left.But it isn't all a downer to our romantic imagination; there are some interesting discoveries to how we love in the brain:
"We didn't predict such a striking lateralization," Brown reported. "It is well known that speech is largely a left-sided cortical function. But our data indicate that lateralization also occurs in lower parts of the brain. Moreover, different kinds of rewards (in this case, the "rush" of romantic love, compared with the pleasing experience of looking at a pretty or handsome face) is also lateralized. These results give us a lot to think about how the normal human brain learns and remembers and functions in general," Brown added.
Love physiology changes over time; 'Romantic love more powerful than sex'It would be a mistake to rule out our sex drive in the bonding experience of love though. We have good old
Another breakthrough, Brown noted, was that "we found several brain areas where the strength of neural activity changed with the length of the romance. Everyone knows that relationships are dynamic over time, but we are beginning to track what happens in the brain as a love relationship matures."
Helen E. Fisher, a research anthropologist at Rutgers University, New Jersey, noted that not only did the brain change as romantic love endured, but that some of these changes were in regions associated with pair-bonding in prairie voles. The fMRI images showed more activity in the ventral pallidum portion of the basal ganglia in people with longer romantic relationships. It's in this region where receptors for the hormone vasopressin are critical for vole pair-bonding, or attachment.
"Humans have evolved three distinct but interrelated brain systems for mating and reproduction – the sex drive, romantic love, and attachment to a long term partner," Fisher said, "and our results suggest how feelings of romantic love might change into feelings of attachment. Our results support what people have always assumed – that romantic love is one of the most powerful of all human experiences. It is definitely more powerful than the sex drive."
Keeping it G-rated, I will simply link to here. And the explanation for the relationship to chocolate and romance here, along with a further explanation for the biochemistry of love. Here is hoping that today bring each of us who connect here at Penigma a reminder that we are loved by someone..........and chocolate (not necessarily in that order).