Is Romantic Love a Better High Than Drugs? Find Out Thursday at NYCA

For Immediate Release
New York City Atheists
Press Contact: 212-879-2687
 
 Is Romantic Love a Better High Than Drugs?
 
You Bet—and It’s Evolutionary, Brain Researcher Assures NYCA
 
New York, Sept. 18--Guess what, romantic love is not only good for you, it has evolved through millenniums to make you happy and perpetuate the species.
 
What’s more, romantic love gives you a high that’s not unlike that of cocaine. So says Dr. Lucy Brown, professor of neurology and neuroscience at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, who explains that she actually started out her brain research on love because she was interested in studying natural euphoria: “I was interested, as a neuroscientist, in what the basis of drug addiction was and whether a natural euphoria would be similar to the euphoria they found in drug addiction.”
 
What she and her research partner, Dr. Helen Fisher, found was startling: Romantic love is better than drugs. “They both use the same brain system, especially cocaine.” But the euphoria from love, having evolved naturally, evidently comes with a lot fewer problems and has a real function physiologically—reproduction.
 
Is Love Scientific?
 
In the beginning, Dr. Brown was skeptical that love could even be the subject of a study. But then she met behavioral anthropologist Helen E. Fisher, Ph.D. of Rutgers University. “Dr. Fisher talked to me of her ideas on romantic love, how important it was for the human reproductive strategy and that it was not just some silly ephemeral thing but was an important aspect of reproduction for all mammals.”
 
Drs. Brown and Fisher have now been studying the brain physiology of love since 1996, using MRIs to study the blood flow patterns in the human brain connected with different kinds of love. On Thursday, September 24, Dr. Brown will share her discoveries with NYC Atheists at the NYCA’s monthly meeting.
 
Lust, Love and Ever After
 
The research duo has found, among other things, that the human reproductive strategy involves three kinds, or stages, of love. There is lust, (“you need lust to get out there and get going to have sex,” says Dr. Brown); there is romantic love (“focusing on one individual, probably an evolutionary evolvement to save your energy because that person is there every night”); and thirdly, emotional attachment with that person (“or what happens three or four years after romantic love diminishes: attachment keeps the long-term relationship going.”)
 
Dr. Brown points out that romantic love is different from lust because you desire not just sex but emotional attachment with the object of your romantic love: “You desire emotional union,” she explains. And, while romantic love may have some anxiety in it, the third stage of love, attachment, elicits a calmer feeling associated with experiencing a secure closeness to the other person.
 
Programmed for Romance
 
So, moonlight and roses are not just frivolity but a basic instinct dependent on brain physiology? Yes, says the scientific researcher. Moonlight and roses, Valentine’s Day and love poetry, it’s all hard wired into the brain.
 
We basically cannot escape the attraction of romantic love because we’re programmed to bond and mate and enjoy the romantic high of being in love, says Dr. Brown.  And that, fellow Atheists, may be the best news for eHarmony and Match.com since the Internet hit the ether.
 
Come, on Thursday, September 24, to find out how a better understanding of human brain physiology may open you up to happiness and eliminate any desire for drugs.
Come, hear about the natural euphoria of life and love! Enjoy the affirmation of scientific research for the most intimate of our relationships—the love of one human for another.
 
EVENT SUMMARY
 
WHAT:     “How Our Brains Are Hard-Wired for Love,” by Lucy L. Brown, Ph.D.,
                    professor of neuroscience at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, a talk
                    on the brain physiology of romantic love.
 
WHEN:      Thursday, September 24 at 6:30 pm.
 
WHERE:    SLC Conference Center
                   352 Seventh Ave. (bet. 29th & 30th)
                   16th Floor
 
COST:       We would appreciate a donation of $5 to cover cost of the space.
                   Unemployed exempt.
 
For further information:
 
Jane Everhart
Director of Communications
New York City Atheists
212-879-2687
 
 
New York City Atheists is a 501C not-for-profit association dedicated to the separation of church and state and to the advancement of the atheist lifestyle and values. All are welcome, including agnostics, atheists, skeptics, humanists, freethinkers and those who are questioning and seeking.
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