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However, Descartes reasoned that the seat of our intelligence and emotionality, the “mind”, existed outside of our bodies and communicated with our brain by way of the pineal gland.Indeed, those are just two examples of where exceptionally smart people have gotten it wrong.But with the advent of computerised tomography (CT) scanning and functional magnetic resonance imaging (f MRI), Fisher was handed a game changer.“When brain scanning came along I thought to myself ‘well then, here’s a great opportunity’,” she recalls.Before you jump to conclusions, a great deal of effort has gone into exploring the neural correlates of romantic love, and the results are most definitely convincing.If you’re searching for an explanation of the synaptic sources of romantic love, there’s probably no one better qualified to comment than Helen Fisher.
For the dualistically-inclined Frenchman, our central nervous system acted like a hydraulic machine, channeling information to and from the brain.
Here we chat to the eminent anthropologist Helen Fisher and learn how brain science is being used to explain another awe-inspiring corporeal condition; the act of falling in love.
Ever since the dawn of recorded history, successive civilisations have been completely fascinated with the 3lb of cerebral matter housed between our ears.
And much like the chronicles of brain science, love is also something that’s been discussed down the ages. “The amount of myths, poems and legends about love around the globe is astronomical,” says Fisher, “and until very recently people still regarded romantic love as part of the supernatural.” The veil of mystic surrounding love was something Fisher had to confront early on, especially as people were quick to query the American’s work.
“It absolutely staggered me that people would come up and say to me ‘why do you want to study love, it’s supposed to be magic and you’re ruining it by understanding it,” she says.