Love Can Get Us To Put Others First; South Coast Researcher Says Science Backs It Up

Feb 14, 2019

It’s Valentine’s Day, a day when we celebrate the special people we love, and a scientist at UC Santa Barbara has been studying the science of love.

More specifically, Dr. Bianca Acevedo has been looking at how our feelings about loved ones prompt us to put their well being before our own.

Acevedo is a social neuroscientist who focuses on interpersonal relationships. She says researchers have been fascinated by this altruism for centuries.

So, they studied newlyweds, looking at how genetics and brain activity connect with the empathy towards their loved one. They study found that people will go the extra distance for someone special.

The UCSB researcher says the findings, just published in the scientific journal Behaviorial Neuroscience, correlate with other findings that go past romance to deeper levels of attachment.

Circling back to the question of romance and love, Acevedo says other studies she’s worked on say that spark can stay strong even as the years pass. She says testing involving brain scans show that people years into a marriage can show some of the same strong romantic reactions as newlyweds.

Acavedo says the science backs up the claim that love can last.

On a day like Valentine’s Day, however, she also adds that it’s nice to step back from the studies and just appreciate the concept of celebrating those you care about.