Love seems elusive. Sure, we’ve loved and been in love, but we’ve never known exactly why or how it happens, or if we love one person differently than another. But that could soon change. Writer A.J. Jacobs underwent an MRI while looking at photos of his wife and Angelina Jolie so scientists could study his brain activity. They believe love is the result of a “chemical cocktail,” as Jacobs calls it, based on a person’s sex drive, and feelings of attachment.
Jacobs looks at photos of his wife that represent the three proposed elements of love, and an MRI captures what his brain is up to when he sees them. Then, he looked at photos of Angelina Jolie. By comparing the two, neuroscientist Lucy Brown found that his brain shows that he’s not head-over-heels in love, as is expected of someone who has been married for several years, but that he’s still hot for his wife and has romantic feelings for her. Jacobs and his wife thought he would be more sexually attracted to Angelina, but that wasn’t the case. Jacobs didn’t find Jolie any more attractive than Julie, and he didn’t feel romantic love for the star. The three brain areas associated with love are related, so Julie’s overall scores added up to more than Angelina’s as the actress scored low in the attachment area. However, Jacobs’ brain activity while looking at Angelina was very similar to when he looked at photos of his wife. Close, but no cigar, which is probably good for Jacobs’ home and bedroom life. We’re just glad to have an explanation for how we can have strong feelings for Ryan Gosling and our boyfriends. [Esquire]