Differences and Similarities on Neuronal Activities of People Being Happily and Unhappily in Love: A Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study

Christina Stoessel, Juliane Stiller, Stefan Bleich, Dominikus Boensch, Arnd Doerfler, Meritxell Garcia, Tanja Richter-Schmidinger, Johannes Kornhuber, Clemens Forster
2011 Neuropsychobiology  
Unhappy lovers also revealed clinical depressive symptoms in the BDI. Conclusion: Unhappy lovers compared to happy lovers exhibited clinical depressive symptoms and reduced blood oxygen level dependency changes in a brain network which has been described as being involved in major depression. This might be a cue for the close relationship between grief and depression. Introduction Romantic love is a sparsely understood part of the human mind and is regarded as a highly rewarding experience. It
more » ... s characterized by focused attention to a preferred individual, intrusive, obsessive thinking about the beloved as well as emotional dependency, and it involves erotic, cognitive, emotional and behavioural components [1] . On the one hand, it can provide a feeling of ecstasy, Abstract Background: Brain activity was studied in grief following frustrated love compared to romantic love, and it was hypothesized that unhappy lovers compared to happy lovers would have decreased brain activity in regions specific to emotional and reward circuits, such as frontal brain areas, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), bilateral insula or posterior cingulate cortex (PCC). Methods: Twelve volunteers intensely in love and 12 volunteers recently separated from their romantic partners were scanned performing 3 runs of functional magnetic resonance imaging acquisition. Subjects viewed partner pictures versus erotic pictures during the first run of the scanning process, autobiographical pictures versus neutral pictures during the second and autobiographical texts versus neutral texts during the third run. The Passionate Love Scale (PLS) and the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI) were additionally recorded. Results: Decreased brain activity in unhappy lovers compared to happy lovers occurred in frontal areas, ACC and PCC and bilateral insula.
doi:10.1159/000325076 pmid:21606659 fatcat:vo3rsz2k6vepled5ynon7q465m