Love Is Biological Bribery

Love Is Biological Bribery

In an episode of the satirical comedy The Great, the reign of the reason-and-science-loving Russian empress Catherine nearly collapses when her husband Peter, the deposed emperor, storms into her private quarters, determined to imprison her. But seeing her tearful and in despair, he forgets his vindictiveness and hugs her. Later, he tells her, “I wanted your happiness more than my own.” “Wow,” she responds. “Indeed,” Peter says. “Love has done a strange thing to me. I wonder if you cut a man who has loved fiercely, you will see a different-shaped heart from a man who has not?”

Of course, no literal imprint of fierce love would be found in the heart if scientists went looking. But it’s safe to say that Peter was on to something. Love, scientists have shown, leaves noticeable and widespread traces of its impact on us. “Love is so important,” says evolutionary anthropologist Anna Machin, “that evolution has seen fit to engage every mechanism in your body to make sure you’re as close and bonded as you can be.”

Read More at Nautilus

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