Falling in love isn't emotional – it's more like eating chocolate

by Suw on November 13, 2003

Or obsessive compulsive disorder. *gulp*

From this week's New Scientist comes the report that the regions of the brain that are active when someone starts to fall in love are not the areas associated with emotion, but those to do with motivation and reward. These are the same areas that light up when you eat chocolate, or in those with obsessive compulsive disorder.

The whole emotional response bit doesn't kick in til later on, it seems, and does so earlier in women than in men. And no one will be surprised to hear that for men the early stages of love looks neurologically rather like lust.

I wonder if falling in love would be an effective way to counteract the lure of chocolate? I keep trying to give the damn stuff up as it can make me rather ill and I really shouldn't eat it, but it's so niiiiiiiiice. Maybe what I need is to be swept off my feet in a whirlwind, or even a small dust devil, romance.

(Applicants should email me a photo and their current bank balance, and I'll get back to you.)

“We are now looking at people who have just been rejected,” says Helen Fisher, an anthropologist from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Hm, well, I can give them chapter and verse on that one.

Sam Kuntz November 13, 2003 at 2:11 pm


Is there anything in the study that explains why women must have chocolate and why men usually don't care for it? Any thoughts.


Suw November 13, 2003 at 2:44 pm

Well… having done a quick google, it seems that we might crave chocolate because it contains hormones that are similar to amphetamines, or because it contains magnesium, or because of its luxurious texture, or any one of a dozen other reasons.

The difference between men and women liking chocolate appears to be either cultural, or just a myth. (Maybe men don't like admitting that they crave chocolate because it's seen as such a girly thing to enjoy.)

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