Can Love Last? SBU Imaging Study Attempts to Provide an Answer

An imaging study by the Psychology Department at Stonybrook University in New York attempts to answer the age old question 'can love last'. Using functional MRI study led by Bianca Acevedo, Ph.D., and Arthur Aron, Ph.D. compared neural correlates of the long time mattied and in love with the individuals who had recently fallen in love.

The researchers used fMRI to scan the brains of 10 women and 7 men who were intensely in love after an average 21 years of marriage. Results were compared with an earlier study of individuals who had fallen madly in love within the past year.
They discovered highly similar brain activity in regions associated with reward, motivation and “wanting” in both sets of couples. “We found many very clear similarities between those who were in love long term and those who had just fallen madly in love,” says Dr. Aron, referring to key reward and motivation regions of the brain, largely parts of the dopamine-rich ventral tegmental area (VTA). “In this latest study, the VTA showed greater response to images of a long-term partner when compared with images of a close friend or any of the other facial images.”

Overall, Drs. Acevedo and Aron explain that the brain imaging data on the long-term couples suggest that reward-value associated with a long-term partner may be sustained, similar to new love. Additionally, the results support theories proposing that there might be specific brain mechanisms by which romantic love is sustained in some long-term relationships.


FAPsafety said...
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FAPsafety said...

Interesting article on how MRI technology can be used to examine love in long term relationships versus those who have recently fallen madly in love. Through careful research your study has brought to light that perhaps the secret to long term success in a relationship is perhaps how the mind regards the relationship. Very interesting, continue the good work.