The Basis of Emotions in the Brain

Posted 17 Nov 2003 at 00:11 UTC by steve Share This

A news release from the Society for Neuroscience highlights recent studies that have advanced our understanding of emotions. The first study reveals the neurobiological basis of romantic love. It turns out our mammal brains include three types of circuitry involved in reproduction: sex drive, which makes us want to mate with any handy partner; attraction, which encourages the pursuit of preferred partners; and attachment, which creates a desire to remain with a partner long enough for species-specific parenting duties. What we know as romantic love results from dopamine pathways associated with the attraction circuitry. Another study revealed a hormone, oxytocin, whose level in our blood seems to correspond to the level of trust exhibited in us during social interactions. The final study used rapid event MRI scans to determine why we can hear our own name clearly from within the "din of a cocktail party or the fog of sleep".

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