Helen Fisher: Love is an addiction

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In the Brain, Romantic Love Is Basically an Addiction

By Helen Fisher | February 13, 2015 11:43 am

Excerpt 1) Scientists have now shown that food, sex, and gambling compulsions employ many of the same brain pathways activated by substance abuse.

Excerpt 2) The sooner we embrace what brain science is telling us—and use this information to upgrade the concept of addiction—the better we’ll understand ourselves and the billions of others on this planet who revel in the ecstasy and struggle with the sorrow of this profoundly powerful, natural, often positive addiction: romantic love.

See also: The Mind’s Eyes: Human Pheromones, Neuroscience, and Male Sexual Preferences Originally published in: Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality. 18;4: 313-369. 2006.


“…noradrenergic, dopaminergic, serotoninergic, and opiotergic pathways, as well as inhibitory neurotransmitters like gamma­aminobutyric acid and excitatory amino acids like glutamic and aspartic acids and other brain peptides including pineal secretions like melatonin and corticotrophin ­releasing hormone and the complex interactions among them, are subtle but functional species-­specific influences on the electrochemical transmission of neuronal signals that the hypothalamus translates to the chemical signal GnRH (Grumbach & Styne, 1992).  Individually, many of these influences on the frequency and amplitude of the GnRH pulse are linked through pharmacology and therapeutic drugs to reproductive function, sexual behavior, and various neurodegenerative diseases, some of which are manifest with olfactory deficits.  Collectively, these influences also make it difficult to establish whether, or how, reciprocal relationships among hypothalamic GnRH pulsatility, LH/FSH ratios, secretion of other hormones like E2 and T, and factors that alter neurotransmission affect human sexual behavior.  However, when it comes to mammalian pheromones, including putative human pheromones, their affect on sexual behavior is indicated by a measurable change in LH, which may vary with a number of other likely influences on hypothalamic GnRH pulse frequency and covary with sexual preferences.”

The pathways to the chemical signal GnRH link all sensory input from the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in the organized genomes of species from microbes to man. The fact that food odors and pheromones are directly linked to GnRH pulse frequency and the development of personal preferences for food and people continues to be hidden from view.

My comments to “Discover Magazine” and other discussion sites are typically blocked. Publishing them attests to the fact that most sources of news about behavior have ignored the importance of the human sense of smell for at least 2 decades. In 1995, for example, Helen Fisher said this about The scent of eros: mysteries of odor in human sexuality (by Kohl and Francoeur 1995): “This is science at its best, with adventure, ideas, and lots of facts”.

Most other serious scientists and nearly all pseudoscientists have continued to ignore what’s been known about the biological basis of romantic love, and the biological basis of other aspect of human behavior. Nearly all aspects of behavior in all species can be directly linked from the experience-dependent de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes.

That fact must be avoided by those who support the evolution industry and the Big Bang cosmology industry. See for example: Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation.(p. 210)

“This model is attractive in that it solves the “binding problem” of sexual attraction. By that I mean the problem of why all the different features of men or women (visual appearance and feel of face, body, and genitals; voice quality, smell; personality and behavior, etc.) attract people as a more or less coherent package representing one sex, rather than as an arbitrary collage of male and female characteristics. If all these characteristics come to be attractive because they were experienced in association with a male- or female-specific pheromone, then they will naturally go together even in the absence of complex genetically coded instructions.”

Still, even in fruit flies, other sensory input besides pheromones — acoustic, tactile, and visual stimuli — play a role in sexual attraction, and sex specific responses to these stimuli appear to be innate rather than learned by association [36.]. We simply don’t know where the boundary between prespecified attraction and learned association lie in our own species, nor do we have compelling evidence for the primacy of one sense over another.”

Theorists have failed to explain any aspect of how the nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled behavioral development of any species from microbes to man could be linked by mutations and natural selection to the evolution of human sexuality and/or love.  Unlike Helen Fisher, however, most of them seem to be afraid to make claims that link biologically-based cause and effect across all species via conserved molecular mechanisms that I have detailed in publications with others, and in monographs and presentations, during the past two decades.

At the cost of scientific progress that links physics and chemistry to the molecular biology of RNA-mediated cell type differentiation via amino acid substitutions, others continue to tout their ridiculous claims about evolution — none of which have been supported by experimental evidence of biologically-based cause and effect. All theories are based on a ridiculous gene-centric approach, instead of biological facts that link the epigenetic landscape to the physical landscape of DNA in organized genomes via conserved molecular mechanisms in all species.

For comparison to claims by others, Helen Fisher also wrote: in 2012 : WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE DEEP, ELEGANT, OR BEAUTIFUL EXPLANATION?

Excerpt 1:  To me, epigenetics is the most monumental explanation to emerge in the social and biological sciences since Darwin proposed his theories of Natural Selection and Sexual Selection.

Excerpt 2:  I am hardly the first to hail this new field of biology as revolutionary—the fundamental process by which nature and nurture interact. But to me as an anthropologist long trying to take a middle road in a scientific discipline intractably immersed in nature-versus-nurture warfare, epigenetics is the missing link.

My comment: See: Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors.

Socioaffective neuroscience and psychology may progress more quickly by keeping these apparent facts in mind: Olfaction and odor receptors provide a clear evolutionary trail that can be followed from unicellular organisms to insects to humans (Keller et al., 2007; Kohl, 2007; Villarreal, 2009; Vosshall, Wong, & Axel, 2000).

How has Helen Fisher stayed informed during the past two decades? Why haven’t others joined serious scientists who are Combating Evolution to Fight Disease?

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