Love Concluded

19 Apr

It is true what they say, love is actually a drug.  Love has been shown to prevent pain, last decades, and even cause silly behavior (Barber).  Chemistry is to blame for all these reactions but research is still being done to get a full look into the mind of someone in love (Barber). 

It is still unknown if humans are naturally meant to be monogamous but “married couples are addicted to each others company and spend so much time together that it limits their opportunities for relationships with other people they find sexually attractive” (Barber).  The chemicals in our brain do wonders attracting us to others, creating butterflies and establishing bonds (Newman, 10).  Limited research is available on love in the online realm but various studies have shown that it is equally as emotion filled (Simply Zesty). 

No need to worry though if you are not one of those local, lucky people to find their brains overcome with this love drug.  The Daily Beast ranked Washington, D.C. No. 10 among the “Best Cities to Find a Date in 2012” (DailyBeast.com).  Glamour magazine also found that “86.7 percent of District women interviewed are happy with their dating lives” (DCist.com).  This survey was a partnership with Match.com dating service, proving that local online daters are finding love over the internet (DCist.com).  If anything was learned through this blog, it’s that online relationships spark the same feelings felt offline (Simply Zesty).  Our brains are hardwired to adapt to social networking’s ability to connect us with anyone, anywhere.  It’s human nature to bond and form relationships and with modern social networking, the chemical process of love is limitless.        

Work Cited

Barber, Nigel. “Monogamy Is Social Not Sexual.” The Human Beast. Psychology Today, 27 July 2010. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-human-beast/201007/monogamy-is-social-not-sexual&gt;.

“Best Cities to Find a Date in 2012, From Atlanta to Boston.” The Daily Beast. Newsweek. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. <http://www.thedailybeast.com/galleries/2011/12/26/best-cities-to-find-a-date-in-2012-from-atlanta-to-boston-photos.html&gt;.

“Magazine Survey Says Single Women Are Happiest in D.C.” DCist. 8 Mar. 2012. Web. 19 Apr. 2012. <http://dcist.com/2012/03/dc_single_women_the_happiest.php&gt;.

Newman, Judith. “The Science of Love.” Parade 12 Feb. 2012: 8+. Print.

“Why Your Internet Addiction Is Simply Biological.” Simply Zesty. 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. <http://www.simplyzesty.com/technology/the-science-behind-your-internet-addiction/&gt;.

Image Credit: http://www.nosexandthesuburbs.com/tag/love/

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Love: It’s Truly All About Chemisty

19 Apr

Love makes people do crazy things, we all know that.  People will chase their significant other around the world to be with them, mothers will do whatever it takes to protect their children, and high school students will formulate extravagant plans just to ask their crushes to prom.  What drives these unexplainable emotions?  It is all linked back to chemistry and the human body.  These scientific terms do not make love any less real, it is just a way for us to explain our sometimes outrageous emotions. 

This blog has proven that love is something we can physically feel.  A computer screen separating two people does not hinder these feelings.  Technology’s integration into our everyday lives is something no one can ignore.  Love and acceptance is a human necessity, so it is only natural that we use technology to assist us on our quest for love.  Some may be skeptical of online dating’s ability to foster “real” emotions.  Social media interaction has been shown to excite chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, which is also released during face-to-face conversation with a love interest (Simply Zesty).  “When it comes to social networking, our dopamine receptors are spoiled for choice, much like a kid in a candy store” (Simply Zesty). 

Social networking and online dating does prevent the reception of pheromones (Newman, 10).  However, by narrowing down potential partners based on interests, online dating expedites the first date “get to know you” conversation and allows for successful relationships.  “According to statistics, the average length of courtship for marriages that met offline is 42 months while the average length of courtship for marriages that met online is 18.5 months” (Jezebel.com). 

It is certainly not necessary to have face-to-face contact to feel “real” emotions when technology is such an integral part of our lives.  From stress due to break-ups and fights, to attraction and bonding, people are able to experience these natural feelings in the online realm.  You better believe it, love is truly about the chemistry.   

Work Cited

Newman, Judith. “The Science of Love.” Parade 12 Feb. 2012: 8+. Print.

Ryan, Erin G. “Data Suggests That Online Dating Is Utterly Inescapable.” Jezebel. 4 Jan. 2012. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. <http://jezebel.com/5873119/data-suggests-that-online-dating-is-utterly-inescapable&gt;.

“Why Your Internet Addiction Is Simply Biological.” Simply Zesty. 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. <http://www.simplyzesty.com/technology/the-science-behind-your-internet-addiction/&gt;.

Image Credit: http://www.geekologie.com/2011/10/geeky-ways-to-say-i-love-you-or-somethin.php

Brains in Love versus Brains in Lust: An fMRI Study

18 Apr

In the early stages of attraction, love can be easily confused with lust (Cohen).  Neurotransmitters like dopamine and oxytocin are raging and the honeymoon phase can cause intense, emotional feelings (Cohen).  However, functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has proven that the brain experiences different reactions during love and lust (“Love’s all in the brain”).

Scientists looked at images of the brain to study the chemical reactions to love versus lust (Cohen).  Studying brains in love “The scientists found that the caudate area of the brain – which is involved in cravings – became very active.  Another area that lit up: the ventral tegmental, which produces dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter that affects pleasure and motivation” (Cohen).  As mentioned in earlier posts, dopamine is responsible for the excitement and butterflies felt in a new relationship.  This high is only felt during a real connection rather than strictly sexual arousal (Cohen).

A sexually stimulated brain looked much different using fMRI (Cohen).  “They found activity in the hypothalamus and amygdale areas of the brain.  The hypothalamus controls drives like hunger and thirst and the amygdale handles arousal, among other things” (Cohen).  These findings align with Maslow’s famous pyramid of needs (McLeod).  Sex is placed on the lowest level, biological and physiological needs, along with food, drink, and air (McLeod).  The fact that the area of the brain that controls thirst and hunger also handles arousal concludes that sex is a need that is quite different from the experience of love (Cohen).

These biological findings can be transferred into the online realm (Simply Zesty).  Making a romantic connection online produces the same chemicals in one’s brain as does meeting face to face (Simply Zesty).  If love is sparked through social networking, dopamine and other love chemicals will establish feelings (Simply Zesty).  On the other hand, surfing the internet for porn does not trigger feelings of love (Cohen).  Instead, the areas of the brain that control lust and sexual arousal are activated (Cohen).  With today’s integration of online technology into our everyday lives, the brain has been able to relocate offline chemical reactions into online spaces (Simply Zesty).

Work Cited

Cohen, Elizabeth. “Loving with All Your … Brain.” CNNHealth. CNN.com, 14 Feb. 2007. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://articles.cnn.com/2007-02-14/health/love.science_1_scans-caudate-amygdala?_s=PM:HEALTH&gt;.

“Love’s All in the Brain: FMRI Study Shows Strong, Lateralized Reward, Not Sex, Drive.” EurekAlert! The American Physiological Society, 31 May 2005. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2005-05/aps-lai053105.php&gt;.

“Why Your Internet Addiction Is Simply Biological.” Simply Zesty. 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. <http://www.simplyzesty.com/technology/the-science-behind-your-internet-addiction/&gt;.

Image Credit: http://ind-k.blogspot.com/2011/04/brain-in-love.html

The Painful Effects of Break-Ups and Rejection

18 Apr

Conflicts in relationships take a toll on the body due to increased stress levels which have been shown to cause actual health problems (Smith).  Break-ups and separation have also been proven to cause a variety of biological reactions within the body (“How Does a Broken Heart”).  The aforementioned love chemicals, like oxytocin, decrease and “Mania and an obsession with regaining what has been lost may set in” (“How Does a Broken Heart”).  Physical pain may also be felt and scientists have found that it is possible to die of a broken heart (“Broken heart can be fatal”).

High pressure stress from break-ups can disrupt the rhythm of the heart and may induce heart attacks (“Broken heart can be fatal”).  In less extreme situations, physical pain is felt (Cohen).  As the stress hormone increases, people may experience sickness and fatigue due to a deteriorating immune system (“How Does a Broken Heart”).  Chemicals in the brain can also cause depression, insomnia, and a change in eating patterns (“How Does a Broken Heart”).

From break-ups and separation to rejection and exclusion, feelings can actually be hurt (Cohen).  “At the same time they had brain scans, which showed the pain of being socially rejected was process in the same area of the brain as physical pain- in the anterior cingulate cortex” (Cohen).  This discovery showed that painkillers such as Tylenol can also be used to reduce the pain felt after a break-up (Cohen).

Rejection is all too real when it comes to online dating (Bartz).  One may spend hours sifting through online profiles in order to find “the one” (Bartz).  It seems like the perfect match until the other person has decided not to write back (Bartz).  “Instead, we’d like to tell you, starry-eyed romantics with big dreams of finding love: Toughen up.  Don’t take things so personally.  Stop weeping onto your keyboard in the online quest for love” (Bartz).  It can be hard to control one’s emotions when chemistry is to blame (Bartz).  “Online dating is not for the faint of heart,” but in time the pain of rejection will feel less severe.

Work Cited

Bartz, Andrea, and Brenna Ehrlich. “Don’t Be Offended by Online-dating Rejection.” CNNTech. CNN.com, 14 Apr. 2011. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://articles.cnn.com/2011-04-14/tech/online.dating.netiquette_1_online-dating-online-meat-market-bad-first-dates?_s=PM:TECH&gt;.

“Broken Heart Can Be Fatal, Says Study.” Smh.com.au. The Sydney Morning Herald, 11 Apr. 2007. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://www.smh.com.au/news/science/broken-heart-can-be-fatal-says-study/2007/04/10/1175971101063.html&gt;.

Cohen, Tamara. “Nursing a Broken Heart? How Taking a Paracetamol Could Dull the Pain of Rejection.” Mail Online. 24 Feb. 2012. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2105813/The-pill-mend-broken-heart-Scientists-claim-simple-painkillers-dull-pain-rejection.html&gt;.

“How Does a Broken Heart Physically Affect the Body?” EHow. Demand Media, 28 Oct. 2008. Web. 18 Apr. 2012. <http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4568002_broken-heart-physically-affect-body.html&gt;.

Smith, Deborah. “Why a Bad Marriage Is Worse for Women than Men.” American Psychological Association (APA). Dec. 2001. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec01/badmarriage.aspx&gt;.

Image Credit: http://www.womansavers.com/Break-up-advice.asp

Can Unstable Relationships cause Stress Induced Health Complications?

17 Apr

Relationship conflicts can be caused by a variety of situations like online infidelity.  Men and women have differing reactions to conflict in relationships which can be linked back to chemistry (Turndorf).  Men are more likely to distance themselves from the conflict while women are more likely to be open about their anger (Turndorf).  “Men’s biology is hard wired to be hyperactive to stress and danger…his body sees danger and involuntarily switches to ANS arousal, which triggers the fight-flight response” (Turndorf).  These responses come in the form of physically leaving the situation, mentally shutting down, or “verbal fleeing,” i.e. making excuses (Turndorf).  Each of the reactions can be connected to Man’s prehistoric days when stress levels increased during hunting.

Women however, do not experience the same biological response.  “A woman thinks her guy is fleeing because he doesn’t care enough about her to resolve the conflict” (Turndorf).  They are able to read their husband’s response and tend to take on their emotional stress (Turndorf).  When wives take on the emotional stress of their husbands during a fight, and it adds to their own stress, unhealthy reactions can occur (Smith).  “In marriages, that continual heightened stress produces physiological responses in women that can lead to poorer health…” (Smith).  This only causes more anger and establishes a cycle within the conflict until both people have cleared their heads (Turndorf).  This “cool down” prevents the fight-flight response and the couple is ready to communicate (Turndorf).

Online dating can also be a stressful situation because one is expected to sort through numerous online profiles and make decisions based on a personal snapshot.  “Studies suggest that people often lack insight into what attracts them to others (and why), and therefore the characteristics they seek out in an online profile may be different from those that will create a connection in person” (Gardner).  Online dating for some people may become frustrating and cause emotional stress like that experienced during fights (Gardner).  It is known that stress takes its toll on the body, so like most things in life, it is important to take online dating with a grain of salt (Gardner).  Obsessing over relationships can actually have negative biological effects on one’s body, so it is essential to take a breather (Turndorf).

Work Cited

Gardner, Amanda. “Psychologists Highlight Pitfalls of Online Dating.” Health.com. CNN.com, 06 Feb. 2012. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.cnn.com/2012/02/06/health/online-dating-pitfalls/index.html&gt;.

Smith, Deborah. “Why a Bad Marriage Is Worse for Women than Men.” American Psychological Association (APA). Dec. 2001. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.apa.org/monitor/dec01/badmarriage.aspx&gt;.

Turndorf, Jamie. “The Chemistry of Conflict: How Disturbed Body Chemistry Causes Relationship Fighting.” We Can Work It Out. Psychology Today, 29 June 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/we-can-work-it-out/201106/the-chemistry-conflict-how-disturbed-body-chemistry-causes-relationsh&gt;.

Image Credit: http://thesmartvan.com/blog/2011/03/25/7558/3-myths-of-field-service-online-marketing-and-what-to-do-about-each/online-frustration/

Is Online Infidelity Cheating? Fantasy versus Reality

17 Apr

In today’s technological realm there are many opportunities to connect with people, formulate alternative identities, and share information that you might not disclose during a face to face interaction (Morales).  However, in today’s wired world is forming a non-physical yet emotional connection online without notifying your spouse considered cheating (Morales)?  Some would argue that these online relationships form intense bonds that have similar biological effects as offline relationships (Lynn).  Thus, these online infidelities become too real for the parties involved and can have the same hurtful effects as cheating (Lynn).

Some may argue that online relationships are strictly fantasy, therefore a married person can communicate with other people online and turn off the connection once they sign off (Lynn).  “But anyone who has been affected by online love knows the emotions don’t turn on when we long on and turn off when we log off” (Lynn).  The notion that online connections transfer into reality is proven by the chemical reactions in one’s brain that occur during an online affair.  The brain becomes emotionally invested during these interactions and neurotransmitters such as dopamine and oxytocin are released similar to face to face interactions (Mileham 22).  “Thus, in a very real sense, individuals do share their mind-body systems with each other as they create and experience the other in an involving, engulfing flow of sexual and/or emotional energy” (Mileham 22).

Marriage is a vow to share these physical as well as emotional bonds with one person for the rest of one’s life.  When emotional connections are formed online with someone other than a spouse, those feelings cannot be suppressed in the offline arena. “The common thread among these stories is that people get deeply involved in online relationships and make decisions about their real lives.  Calling any of these online relationships “fantasy” dismisses the impact they have on people involved and on those closest to them” (Lynn).  Healthy relationships are not solely based on sexual connections therefore; infidelity should not be exclusively categorized based on a physical affair (Lynn).  The classification of internet infidelity is a gray line that varies by couple (English).  It is important to discuss what is appropriate conduct online while in the relationship because online relationships are sometimes all too real (English).

Work Cited

English, Marianne. “Is Online Flirting Cheating?” DiscoveryNews.com. 9 June 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://news.discovery.com/tech/anthony-weiner-online-infidelity-marriage-110609.html&gt;.

Lynn, Regina. “Don’t Dismiss Online Relationships as Fantasy.” Wired.com. 7 Sept. 2007. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/commentary/sexdrive/2007/09/sexdrive_0907?currentPage=2&gt;.

Mileham, Beatriz. “Online Infidelity in Internet Chat Rooms: An Ethnographic Exploration.” ScienceDirect (2004): 22. Sciencedirect.com. Elsevier, 13 Apr. 2004. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://english112ubc.pbworks.com/f/Online%2520Infidelity%2520in%2520Internet%2520Chatrooms%2520An%2520Ethnographic%2520Exploration.pdf&gt;.

Morales, Tatiana. “A Look at Internet Infidelity.” CBSNews.com. 11 Feb. 2009. Web. 17 Apr. 2012. <http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/08/04/earlyshow/living/caught/main566488.shtml&gt;.

Image Credit: http://gulfnews.com/opinions/speakyourmind/focus-online-infidelity-1.822559

Social Networking is About Being Social, Right?

16 Apr

Social networking is used to stay in touch with friends, share information, meet new people, and even date.  All these uses suggest social interaction and a wider circle of friends (Marche).  But what if the paranoia caused by social networking actually leads to increased levels of epinephrine, the stress hormone, and results in loneliness (Marche)?  It all depends on individual use and whether or not you take that interaction offline (Marche).

Passively using social networking to formulate a constructed image of oneself while obsessively browsing through status updates and photos does nothing for one’s sense of belonging (Marche).  Instead, “It’s a lonely business, wandering the labyrinths of our friends’ and pseudo-friends’ projected identities, trying to figure out what part of ourselves we ought to project, who will listen, and what they will hear” (Marche).  Social networking sites such as Facebook can be positively used to connect friends, participate in personal communication, and coordinate events.  It is the people who over-share, continuously promote themselves, and spend more time on Facebook that have increased stress levels and loneliness (Marche).  Researchers found “‘the tendency for neurotic and lonely individuals to spend greater amounts of time on Facebook per day than non-lonely individuals.’  And they found that neurotics are more likely to prefer to use the wall, while extroverts tend to use chat features in addition to the wall” (Marche).

By constantly comparing oneself to others’ profile pictures and wallowing in jealousy over a status update, the modern population is only isolating itself (Marche).  These false pretenses and obsessive behaviors are not the way to start healthy, lasting relationships (Marche).  Like most things in life, social networking must be balanced online as well as offline (Marche).  Epinephrine is continuously released causing stress over a variety of situations in our lives.  Social networking should not be another added stress and if used correctly, it can be prevented.  “A considerable part of Facebook’s appeal stems from its miraculous fusion of distance with intimacy, or the illusion of distance with the illusion of intimacy” (Marche).  Healthy relationships can be formed online, but the key is to not replace reality with online reality (Marche).

Work Cited

Marche, Stephen. “Is Facebook Making Us Lonely?” The Atlantic. The Atlantic Magazine, May 2012. Web. 16 Apr. 2012. <http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/8930/&gt;.

Image Credit: http://ph.yahoo.matchmove.com/newsarticle/facebook-obsession