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A study of people's ability to love

A study of people's ability to love

To celebrate Valentine’s Day, quarterly DVD magazine Wholphin has released a short film documenting an experiment by Stanford neuroscientists to determine if it’s possible for one person to love more than another person can.

In the film, titled The Love Competition, researchers at the Stanford Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging use functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure the brain activity of seven people as they ponder love. Bob Dougherty, PhD, research director at the center, helped develop the love test and Stanford psychology postdoctoral fellow Melina Uncapher, PhD, served as scientific director for the film.
Wired reports:

It turns out — based on the levels of activity in the dopamine, serotonin and ocytocin/vasopressin pathways — it is possible for one person to exhibit that they can love someone more deeply than another person can. But what’s amazing about The Love Competition is seeing the participants talk about their loves and the effects the fMRI tests had on them. Many come out almost giddy when the test is complete, and one woman tearily explains that she just feels lucky for the love she’s had in her life.

The film is definitely worth watching. Personally, my favorite contestant is 10-year-old Milo.

Previously: Ask Stanford Med: Neuroscientist taking questions on pain and love’s analgesic effects, Long-term love may dull pain, study shows and Love blocks pain, Stanford study shows

11 Responses to “ A study of people's ability to love ”

  1. Eric Nelson Says:

    Wow. Wow. Thank you.

  2. Abby Says:

    This was so moving to watch! And what a way to express our mind-body connections.

  3. Jo Scoville Says:

    Loved it!

  4. Alex Says:

    That’s a beautiful background song.May i know the title of the song please?

  5. Mica Says:

    Indeed, Milo is simply great! What about the other contestants (especially the girl who used meditation techniques), is there a little more detailed report of the experiment that we can check? I know that the sample is too small to allow patterns to be registered, but still I’m curious to see the lower and upper limits and also how high the variation between the different contestant was :)
    Nice idea, worth to be taken at a larger scale.

  6. Nik Says:

    I’m with Mica. I’d love to know more about the results!

  7. MYSTI Says:

    I’m with you both I’d love to know more and I’d also love to be a part of that to see how I would fair.

  8. Dave Says:

    Very interesting research. I would love to learn more about the findings of this research. Well done!

  9. Lauren Says:

    Loved the video, watched it, and then watched it again. Found the research fascinating and i even mentioned the research and this video in a paper I had to write for my graduate work in relation to the assessment of human emotion. What does this research mean for the future of the assessment of human emotion?!

  10. Chris Says:

    Milo is so full of love and affection, he just has no words to express it yet – but the proof is in the fMRI (and his eyes)! His cousin Ingrid is so lucky to have him around, as will anybody touched by this wonderful soul :)

  11. AJ Says:

    The video says it’s the first annual contest; are the filmmakers just being cute, or is this happening again?


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