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Friday, July 13, 2012
CAN LOVE MAKE YOU DUMB?
JOIN TOM STEINFORT AND I AS WE FIND OUT ONCE AND FOR ALL! We all know that Love is Blind but... Can it really make you dumb? Or is it actually good for your health?
"Love is blind" says the well known adage and now it
officially also renders you stupid, according to new research.
Prof. Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of
Oxford, argues that the rational parts of the human brain shut down when
experiencing the feelings of love, The (London) Times reported.
Dunbar developed his theory after analyzing the findings of UK brain
experiments carried out over a decade ago at the University College of London.
The magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) research looked at the brain
activity of 17 volunteers as they were shown pictures of their boyfriends and
girlfriends, with whom they were "truly, madly and deeply in love."
Dunbar says that when the people gazed at images of their loved ones,
the rational parts of their brain were affected by "rose-tinted spectacle
syndrome" and their hearts ruled their heads, dulling their critical
"What seems to be happening is that you have subconsciously made up
your mind that you are interested in the person and the rational bit of the
brain -- the bit that would normally say 'hang on a minute' -- gets switched
off," Dunbar explained at The Times Cheltenham Science Festival on Friday.
"In a relationship you are in a trade-off between caution and just
going for it. There is a view that emotion exists to get you off the fence.
"A purely rational organism would sit on the fence all the time to
avoid being hurt. But if you don't engage, you won't form relationships. If the
prefrontal cortex is shut down, that protective and cautious element
This is not surprising. There have been many scientific
studies (if I had more time here at work, I’d look some of them up) indicating
that love and pre-sex hormones make us stupid.
It’s not merely the “hey, I could get some here, but I
don’t have a condom with me… what the hell, just this once, because I don’t
want to let this opportunity slip away” aspect, we actually, in scientifically
measurable ways, lose common sense and IQ points, which lead us to do stupid
things like assume that the person we’re with COULDN’T be one of the ones who
actually has any of the nasty diseases, and that WE won’t be the unlucky ones
to conceive a child.
This is one of the things I try to teach my children, that
it’s not just a matter of KNOWING the right thing to do, it’s a matter of
making it extremely easy TO do, because in the heat of battle (so to speak), we
already have physiology working against us (not to mention the biological urge
to reproduce and the fact that it just feels better without a condom), we don’t
need any extra reasons why this time is the time we should do without.
Health benefits of being in love
Love lowers risk of
Research has shown that you are less likely to
abuse or depend upon alcohol if you are in a relationship.
Love keeps us young
Research suggests that making love keeps us young. A
study conducted by researchers at the Royal Edinburgh Hospital in Scotland
found that those women who have sex four or more times a week look 10 years
younger than their actual age.
Love: good for
women, bad for men?
Women report a higher quality of life when they are in a
relationship, but their husbands or partners report having a significantly
lower quality of life.
Love improves our
They found that people who had been in a relationship for
longer than five years were less likely to be depressed and attempt suicide.
Other studies have found similar findings, stating that married people report
lower levels of depression and distress.
Love gives us more
The mortality rates for single males aged between 30 and
59 are two and half times higher than their non-single counterparts!
Love heals the
Perhaps it’s no coincidence that love is often depicted
using a heart shape. A recent study by researchers at the University of
Rochester in New York found that those in a happy relationship are three times
more likely to survive heart surgery