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Soc Neurosci. 2006;1(2):90-103. doi: 10.1080/17470910600976547.

The power of love on the human brain.

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Geneva University Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland.


Romantic love has been the source for some of the greatest achievements of mankind throughout the ages. The recent localization of romantic love within subcortico-cortical reward, motivation and emotion systems in the human brain has suggested that love is a goal-directed drive with predictable facilitation effects on cognitive behavior, rather than a pure emotion. Here we show that the subliminal exposure of a beloved's name (romantic prime) during a lexical decision task dramatically improves performance in women in love (Experiment 1), as the subliminal presentation of a passion's descriptive noun does (Experiment 2). The parallel between love and passion allows us to interpret these facilitation effects as corresponding to cognitive top-down processes within a motivation-enhanced neural network.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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