Romantic LoveJournal: International Journal of Behavioral Research & Psychology (IJBRP) (Vol.04, No. 03)
Publication Date: 2016-09-20
Authors : Field T;
Page : 185-190
Keywords : general arousal; troencephalography (EEG); magnetoencephalography (MEG);
This research review based on literature derived from a Pubmed search on the terms romantic love revealed only 149 studies from 1953 to 2016. These include self-report and behavior observation studies as well as research on neurotransmitter/ neurohormonal systems and electrophysiological monitoring and neuroimaging. The protocol used in most of these studies involved fMRI responses by the romantic love person viewing photos of the loved one versus photos of familiar and/or unfamiliar others. Although as many as nine areas have been activated by love photos, the most frequently included the orbitofrontal cortex, the ventral tegmental area, the caudate nucleus and the anterior and posterior cingulates. These areas are rich in dopamine and oxytocin, both of which have been notably high in romantic love partners. Overlapping areas in the brain have been reported for different types of love including romantic, maternal and filial love. The widespread activation by the different types of love suggests a “general arousal” effect. Behavioral observation research may be more functional for its therapeutic implications. However, to date, the observational research has focused on young adult couples who are newly in love. The paucity and limitations of this literature on romantic love highlight the need for future research that is focused on interaction behaviors in love relationships that have endured. These data might then be used for interaction coaching of those having difficulties in their love relationships.
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