Falling in Love
What does love have to do with losing your mind? Do you even have to ask? Anthropologist Helen Fisher posed the question when she put 32 people who were madly in love under a functional MRI scanner. Fifteen of those people were madly in love but had been dumped by the object of their affection. The other participants were luckier. Their love had been requited [source: Fisher].
During the test, each person looked at a photo of his or her sweetheart. They also looked at a neutral photo. By comparing the results, Fisher found that the most active part of the brain was the same region that feels the rush and euphoria of cocaine. Romantic love, Fisher concluded, wasn't an emotion as the poets and songwriters would have us believe, but a physical drive that comes from the "craving part of the mind" [source: Fisher].
The anthropologist found that when a person falls in love he or she becomes extremely sexually possessive, which she says, has its roots in evolution. In other words, it's nature's way of preserving the species. Fisher also says that people who fall in love have "an intense craving" to be emotionally (not just sexually) connected to that other person. People who were in love were also obsessed.
"My final question [to each subject] was always the same ... 'would you die for him or her?' And, indeed, these people would say 'Yes!' as if I had asked them to pass the salt," Fisher said in her 2006 TED talk.