My newlywed cousin Natalie and cousin-in-law Austin are equally as neuro nerdy as me. Their wedding ceremony, in an appreciative untraditional manner, focused on the neuroscience of love; what occurs biochemically when one becomes sexually and emotionally attracted to someone. As anticipated, neuromodulatory systems regulating hedonism, optimism, and enthusiasm often felt during the act of falling or being in love, are highly activated during the process of courting, flirting, and every other love-associated behavior. Release of the hormone oxytocin strengthens bonding and accentuates orgasms. A recent article in Nature reviews this “perfectly normal” (to quote Eugene Levy) physiologically-mediated process which, of course, has provocative implications; a possible multi-billion dollar drug industry that modifies one’s ability to stay, earn, or abandon love for another with additional, yet sadly complementing responsibilities for family practice lawyers; moderating lawsuits amongst duped or “roofied,” if you will, individuals. This type of niche would significantly hurt cosmetic/hygienic companies that market aphrodisiac products, but the eradication of these superfluous products would be advantageous for the environment, right?. I wonder though, if these drugs, if strictly regulated (though a black market will inevitably exist), can help the few percentage of the population who are asexual, emotionally-speaking of course. You would also wonder if these pharmacological agents would be capable of eliciting human bonding and attachment in autistic individuals. Or perhaps these drugs could assuage the Facebook-induced “green-eyed monster” observed by Canadian researchers? In other words, how to compromise for those individuals whom have difficulty loving, attaching, and bonding with others of the same and opposite sex, but still restrict abuse by the general public?
For my philosophically and/or late 90s enamored friends……..
Young LJ (2009). Being human: love: neuroscience reveals all. Nature, 457 (7226) PMID: 19129828
Muise A, Christofides E, & Desmarais S (2009). More information than you ever wanted: does Facebook bring out the green-eyed monster of jealousy? Cyberpsychology & behavior : the impact of the Internet, multimedia and virtual reality on behavior and society, 12 (4), 441-4 PMID: 19366318