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Posted July 16, 2008
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Helen Fisher: The brain in love
TED - Why do we crave love so much, even to the point that we would die for it? To learn more about our very real, very physical need for romantic love, Helen Fisher and her research team took MRIs of people in love -- and people who had just been dumped.
Anthropologist Helen Fisher studies gender differences and the evolution of human emotions. She's best known as an expert on romantic love, and her beautifully penned books -- including Anatomy of Love and Why We Love -- lay bare the mysteries of our most treasured emotion.
Helen Fisher's courageous investigations of romantic love -- its evolution, its biochemical foundations and its vital importance to human society -- are informing and transforming the way we understand ourselves. Fisher describes love as a universal human drive (stronger than the sex drive; stronger than thirst or hunger; stronger perhaps than the will to live), and her many areas of inquiry shed light on timeless human mysteries, like why we choose one partner over another.
Almost unique among scientists, Fisher explores the science of love without losing a sense of romance: Her work frequently invokes poetry, literature and art -- along with scientific findings -- helping us appreciate our love affair with love itself. In her research, and in books such as Anatomy of Love and 2004's Why We Love, Fisher looks at questions with real impact on modern life. Her latest research raises serious concerns about the widespread, long-term use of antidepressants, which may undermine our natural process of attachment by tampering with hormone levels in the brain.