Love, Pair-Bonding, and Prairie Voles

Doctor Larry Young explains that the experience of being in love activates pleasure centers in the brain, and comments that bonding in prairie voles may be similar to humans.

Of course we don’t know how well the neurochemistry in vole pair-bonding translates to human bonding; we can only speculate at this point. But certainly we know that when people look at images of a loved one or think about a loved one and we do brain scans to look at what parts of the brain are activated, we also see those same reward and reinforcement circuitry activated. I think it’s probably pretty clear to anyone who has been in love that being around that individual activates pleasure centers in the brain. So, I think that there’s a lot of evidence that there is at least some commonality between what we see in voles and what may be going on in our own species.

pair, bonding, love, neurochemistry, pleasure, prairie, vole, reward, reinforcement, larry, young

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