The neural correlates of many emotional states have been studied, most recently through the technique of fMRI. However, nothing is known about the neural substrates involved in evoking one of the most overwhelming of all affective states, that of romantic love, about which we report here. The activity in the brains of 17 subjects who were deeply in love was scanned using fMRI, while they viewed pictures of their partners, and compared with the activity produced by viewing pictures of three friends of similar age, sex and duration of friendship as their partners.
Research on the neural mechanisms of face identity constitutes a fruitful method to explore the affective contributions to face processing. Here, we investigated central and peripheral electrophysiological indices associated with the perception of loved faces. Subjects viewed black-and-white photographs of faces that belonged to one of five categories: loved ones, famous people, unknown people, babies, and neutral faces from the Eckman and Friesen system. Subcategories of loved faces included romantic partner, parents, siblings, second-degree relatives, and friends.
A major problem in recent neuroscience research on the processing of loved familiar faces is the absence of evidence concerning the elicitation of a genuine positive emotional response (love). These studies have two confounds: familiarity and arousal. The present investigation controlled for both factors in female university students. Two categories of loved faces were chosen: one with higher familiarity but lower emotionality (fathers) and the other with higher emotionality but lower familiarity (romantic partners). Unfamiliar and baby faces were used as control faces.
Although dozens of studies have examined the autonomic nervous system (ANS) aspects of negative emotions, less is known about ANS responding in positive emotion. An evolutionary framework was used to define five positive emotions in terms of fitness-enhancing function, and to guide hypotheses regarding autonomic responding. In a repeated measures design, participants viewed sets of visual images eliciting these positive emotions (anticipatory enthusiasm, attachment love, nurturant love, amusement, and awe) plus an emotionally neutral state.
Emotion-eliciting films are commonly used to evoke subjective emotional responses in experimental settings. The main aim of the present study was to investigate whether a set of film clips with discrete emotions were capable to elicit measurable objective physiological responses. The convergence between subjective and objective measures was evaluated. Finally, the effect of gender on emotional responses was investigated. A sample of 123 subjects participated in the study.
We have known for decades that social support is associated with positive health outcomes. And yet, the neurophysiological mechanisms underlying this association remain poorly understood. The link between social support and positive health outcomes is likely to depend on the neurophysiological regulatory mechanisms underlying reward and defensive reactions. The present study examines the hypothesis that emotional social support (love) provides safety cues that activate the appetitive reward system and simultaneously inhibit defense reactions.
The psychophysiological responses of 60 subjects were measured as they observed a performer play a roulette game. Half of the subjects were led to believe that they were similar to the performer in personality and values, and half were led to believe that they were dissimilar. Half of the subjects in each condition believed that the performer won money and experienced pain as he played the game, and half believed that he performed a cognitive and motor skill task.
Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (New York, N.Y.)
OBJECTIVES: Previous studies have shown that grounding produces quantifiable physiologic changes. This study was set up to reproduce and expand earlier electrophysiologic and physiologic parameters measured immediately after grounding with improved methodology and state-of-the-art equipment. DESIGN AND SUBJECTS: A multiparameter double-blind experiment was conducted with 14 men and 14 women (age range: 18-80) in relatively good health. Subjects were screened for health problems using a commonly used health questionnaire.