Could brain scans tell you if your relationship will last?
Have you ever read your love horoscope or visited a psychic hoping to find out if your relationship will stand the test of time? Well, according to recent research, there’s a new way to reveal the future--by getting a brain scan! Neuroscientists have found that by charting brain activity with an fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging), they can tell when you’re in the early stages of love and depending on the brains responses, if you and your significant other will still be together in a few years.
The experiment originally took place several years ago on 18 Chinese men and women who reported being in a newly romantic relationship. After looking at photographs of their loved ones, researchers saw that regions of the participants’ brains seemed to be glowing on the fMRI.
Now, three and half years later, the scientists contacted 12 of the original participants and found that six of the participants are still in the relationships they were in at the time of the brain scans three and a half years ago. The other half weren’t. So, what’s the big deal? Looking back at the original images of the participants, researchers found that there were clear and obvious differences between the brain activity of the people whose relationships succeeded and those whose didn’t.
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Among the people whose relationships became long-term, looking at a picture of their loved one caused a dip in activity in regions of the brain that are associated with making judgments and sense of self, which consists of one’s own interests and desires. These two behaviors imply that the relationship will be successful since they show that the individual will refrain from judging their beloved and will also put the needs and desires of their partner above their own. The researchers plan to conduct a larger-scale study soon.
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OK, I have to admit, I am weirdly fascinated by the brain. There are so many insights into our lives in there! Still, I found this research to be a little bit scary. Can you imagine getting a brain scan and having your doctor tell you that your relationship won’t last based on what he saw? Creepy! And while I guess monitoring your brain patterns could potentially save you the time and effort of dealing with a relationship that isn’t going to last anyway, isn’t that what dating is for? Learning from our mistakes? I definitely believe science has its place but when it comes to love, I think you need to use your brain and follow your heart.
What do you think? Would you ever get a brain scan to see if your relationship will last?
Image via DesertMonsterBell/flickr