Valentine’s Day might be over, but love is everlasting! Or at least good for 48 hours. In fact, scientists at the Stanford Medical School’s Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging started wondering about love, and how it’s processed in the brain. They concentrated on a particular region where the pathways for dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin meet, and speculated that activity measured in this region might be what we think of as love.
So they set up a friendly “competition”: they asked a sampling of volunteers to lie in an MRI machine and, for five minutes, LOVE as hard as they could. That’s it. They chose old people and young people, men and women, those who were in love, had once been, and felt they had never been. Once everyone had been scanned, the person with the most activity “won.” (But I suppose if you have the most love activity in your brain, you’re already a winner.)
The video is long but terrific–stick with it to the end to find out who wins. The best part, though, was seeing how the very experience of loving, hard, for five minutes, uplifted everyone who tried it, whether or not they were “winners.” It seemed to be almost an ecstatic experience for some, and it was moving just to watch.
It’s made me think about how I can sometimes take my loved ones for granted. It’s so easy to relax in the security of a strong, loving relationship so much that you allow yourself to be distracted, inattentive or unappreciative. But that’s no way to treat something so valuable. I’m going to use this video as a lesson, and try to take time each day to love, as hard as I can.
Here’s a link to the video.