Avoiding heartbreak with science: A Love drug helps couples stay in love


What if love is just another neuro-biological process? Like sweating? Oh yes it is Valentine's Day but forget the romance, what about inhaling a puff or two of Oxytocin to keep you out of divorce court. We hear from two scientists convinced they're on the right neurological wavelength to spare people the pain of a break-up with a little medical tinkering.

Oxford Researchers, Anders Sandberg and Julian Savulescu

People have gone to great lengths to find passion ... and even greater lengths to hang on to it. All the while, we've tended to think of love as this elusive, inexplicable, almost magical thing.

According to Anders Sandberg and Julian Savulescu, that may be where we go wrong. They both work at Oxford University. And the trick to finding and keeping love, they say, is to think of love for what it is ... a neuro-biological process that runs deeper than chocolate, booze, salad or caterpillar fungi. Once you do that, they believe it will be possible to develop a drug that would help keep people from falling out of love.

Anders Sandberg is a neuroscientist at Oxford University's Future of Humanity Institute.

And Julian Savulescu is a bio-ethicist and the Director of Oxford University's Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics.

Journalist specializing in neuroscience, Maia Szalavitz

Shakespeare once wrote that "love looks not with the eyes but with the mind." And suddenly, those words feel a lot less romantic than they used to.

For her thoughts on our brains and love, we were joined by Maia Szalavitz. She is a journalist for Time and writes extensively about neuroscience, as well as addiction, love and empathy. She's currently working on a book about the limits of neuroscience. Maia Szalavitz was in New York City.

This segment was produced by The Current's Naheed Mustafa, Hassan Santur and Lara O'Brien.

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Other segments from today's show:

Is courtship dead and gone or just evolving?

Checking-In: Listener Response

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