Match.com’s Chief Science Advisor Helen Fisher discussed her belief that romantic love is a survival mechanism during a recent appearance on the TED Radio Hour on NPR.
The renowned biological anthropologist was discussing the effects that love has on the brain, and explained that love and attachment should be considered “drives” instead of feelings.
This means they fulfil a biological need. The “factory” that houses romantic love is situated at the base of the brain next to thirst, hunger and other drives that keep humans alive.
Fisher revealed that her team consider love to be a “survival mechanism”.
She also acknowledges that humans still make a lot of choices when it comes to finding a partner.
She said on NPR: “We tend to fall in love with somebody who has the same socioeconomic background, same general level of intelligence, same level of good looks.
“We carry in our head what I call a ‘love map’, an unconscious list of what you’re looking for in a partner. When the timing is right and somebody comes by who fits within that general perspective… you can instantly trigger that brain circuitry for romantic love.”
Finally, on a more negative note, Fisher stated that it is harder to fall out of love than it is to fall in love, and getting over a heartbreak should be treated in the same way as an addiction.
In a study with 15 people who had recently been through a break up, it was found that there was activity within the part of their brain associated with addiction and physical pain. However, the participants with relationships that ended longer ago showed less feelings of attachment, suggesting that time is one of the best cures.
Listen to the full show here.