Tuesday, February 8, 2011
I Love: Helen Fisher
I remember lying in bed a year ago, heartbroken, listening to Helens talk at the Ted Conference. I felt enlightened by a better understanding of what was happening chemically in my brain at that particular moment. When you're in love the "rewards" portion of the brain releases dopamine. Dopamine is similar to adrenaline, and is what allows you to feel that "high on life" "kick up your heels" feeling of being in love. As Helen points out, the same part of the brain is active in a person who has taken cocaine. So it is no surprise that when we are rejected, we become obsessive, thinking about this person more than half the day and trying to figure out ways to get them back. In "The Anatomy of Love" Helen points out that the name for what you go through when you are rejected by someone you love and feeling this way is called limerence. (This term was coined by Dorothy Tennov in the 1970's) So, it's safe to assume that if being in love is like a drug, being limerent is like the really horrible withdrawal symptoms. So for you addicts out there just remember, kicking the habit takes time.
Click on the links above to read more on Limerence and to listen to Helens talk at the Ted Conference.