For Valentine's Day, Experts Available to Discuss the Neurobiology of Love


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  • newswise-fullscreen For Valentine's Day, Experts Available to Discuss the Neurobiology of Love

    Credit: CU Boulder

    Prairie voles are among the few species of mammals which mate for life. By studying them, scientists are learning more about the neurochemistry of love.

Newswise — With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, CU Boulder experts are available to discuss the neuroscience of love, how it impacts our health, and the secret to writing a good love poem.

The neurochemistry of love: Zoe Donaldson, an assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience, studies the brain chemicals and biological processes responsible for enabling humans to form lasting bonds with others – or fall in love. Through observations of prairie voles, one of the few other monogamous mammal species, she and others have identified two key hormones at play: vasopressin and oxytocin. She can discuss how they work, and how understanding them better can help humans. Zoe.Donaldson@colorado.edu

Pain-killing properties of hand-holding: Pavel Goldstein, a postdoctoral researcher with the Institute of Cognitive Science, studies “interpersonal synchronization” or the way in which we physiologically mirror the people we are with. His research has shown that holding hands with a loved one prompts our brain waves, breathing and heart rate to sync up with theirs and can also ease pain. Pavel.goldstein@colorado.edu

How the placebo-effect eases heartbreak: Tor Wager, a professor of psychology and neuroscience, has found that placebos – sham treatments with no active ingredients – not only work to kill physical pain but can also kill emotional pain. The takeaway: Doing something that you believe will help heal your broken heart will probably help. Tor.wager@colorado.edu or leonie.koban@gmail.com

On writing a love poem: Khadijah Queen, assistant professor of English, can break down the basics behind writing the perfect love letter or poem. Her poetry and prose have appeared in PoetryBuzzFeed News and more.  khadijah.queen@colorado.edu

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