What is love and liking?

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Shadow1, Apr 9, 2012.

  1. Shadow1 Valued Senior Member

    Why does some people, like some category of people more than another (in the physical looks I mean), for example, some guys like blond girls, others like girls with brown hair, etc...

    Rather than psycological reasons, is there any biological reason for that?
    & how can love be explained? What happends in the brain when someone loves somone else? How can it be explained?
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  3. GeoffP Caput gerat lupinum Valued Senior Member

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  5. Buddha12 Valued Senior Member

    Physical characteristics of some people attract others to them just like different varieties of food attract different types of people to them.

    As for love, no one yet has solved that mysterious ailment.
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  7. Literphor I is for ignorance Registered Member

    Sounds more like lust to me. Relationships like this usually end badly when they realize physical attraction is no substitute for emotional compatibility. Friction is a problem in any relationship and the more psychological obstacles, the less chance of reconciliation.

    It doesn't always pay to be good looking. Beautiful people seem to share this attitude of entitlement and when they don't get what they want, it can be ugly.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Most of the other species of Great Apes (chimpanzees and gorillas, I'm not so sure about orangutans) routinely breed within their own family. They form small family groups and inbreed so intensely that the skulls of two gorilla families living a couple of hundred miles apart are so different that they look like different species of animals.

    But humans are different. We appear to have an instinct to outbreed with other tribes. Even in the Paleolithic Era, when we lived in small extended-family units who regarded each other with suspicion and hostility, there's evidence that summer celebrations were held during which the various clans would warily meet for a couple of weeks during which they would go mate with each other and even bring brides home from other tribes.

    There's a name for this: the Westermark Effect. Children who live together usually grow up with no sexual attraction for each other. It's an incest-inhibitor. It was first codified after the Israeli kibbutzes implemented the policy of putting all the children in gigantic care centers on weekdays and only going to live with their parents on weekends. They tracked these kids into adulthood and discovered that even though they are not blood relatives, the rate of marriage between them is much lower than, say, between kids who meet in high school or college.

    It's also been pointed out that it's almost a cliche for us to find people who look much different from us "exotic" and "desirable." Social taboos often prevent us from acting on those impulses, especially back in my day when racism was rampant. But today, as we become more tolerant and cosmopolitan, look around and see if you don't agree that people are often very strongly attracted to those who look like they could not possibly be related.
    This is a long story. The human brain is about four times as big as any other great ape brain, in relation to body size. It's a real struggle to fit that gigantic head through the birth canal, so there have been adaptations in both directions: on one hand the human birth canal is enormously wide (this is why we have such a wide stance), and on the other hand human babies are born with the smallest possible brains so they can squeeze through. Our babies are more helpless at birth than almost any other placental mammal, and it takes 15-20 years for their brains to grow to full size.

    Naturally, although they are not completely helpless during all that time, they are not capable of living on their own. So human childhood lasts much longer than any other species: even whales grow up in two years and even elephants only take five. In most mammals the mother takes care of the young. But in a species in which the young are so utterly helpless for so long and then still require intense parenting for many years after that, it's absolutely necessary for every child to have two parents.

    So the problem is, how do you get the father to stick around for years after the babies are born? There is one trick our species developed that I won't talk about on my company's corporate server, but another one is love. Love keeps parents together, and so love keeps the children alive and thriving.
  9. Crunchy Cat F-in' *meow* baby!!! Valued Senior Member

    Each person's brain is hardwired to experience more pleasure in the presence of certain traits.

    Brains hardwired to yield more pleasure in the presence of certain traits. If red hair gives you more pleasure than brown hair then you are probably going to like red hair more.

    I am not sure. All I can say is that a person's brain forms a dependence where their happiness / well being are dependent on someone elses.
  10. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Edit to my earlier post: The other trick our species developed to keep parents together.

    Humans are one of very few species of mammals in which females are physically capable of copulation outside of their estrus cycle. This means that even while they're between ovulations, even when they're nursing, and even when they're pregnant, they can still have sex.

    So when a woman is impregnated by a man and will spend the next year and a half gestating and nursing his baby, she can still satisfy him sexually. And all through life she can continue to do that any time, 24/7, rather than for a few days a month.

    This makes it much easier to keep the father around the hearth so the two parents can raise their children together. So it can be argued that, in humans, love has a lot to do with sex.

    Chimpanzees, our closest relatives, also have this trait. So do dolphins. They don't form tight mother-father units like we do, instead they use it as a way to maintain good relations within the pack/pod.
  11. Jeeves Valued Senior Member

    Human sexual attraction has many aspects, simply because the human brain experiences the world in many kinds of interaction. What physical type one finds attractive depends partly on how you feel about yourself and your parent of the opposite sex - generally, high self-esteem and parental identification leads to attraction to same type; low self-esteem, poor parental relation, leads to attraction to a type unlike self image. There is a geographic element: what phenotypes one has encountered; which seem familiar and 'safe'; which are perceived as 'strange' or 'threatening' - and whether those emotions trigger a sexual response. Another component is cultural: what's been depicted in one's formative environment as desirable, associated with success and happiness.
    Many young people are disproportionately influenced by popular images and fashions; for example, if a series of teen vampire stories was overhyped for a few years, dark, sleek toothy boys are all the girls want; if a line of overpriced underwear is advertised by models with long blonde hair, that's what all the boys are after.

    If the superficial appearance is all one goes by in choosing partners, one usually ends up with a succession of disappointments and departures.
    The psychological reasons must supersede the physical ones in maturity. A very young man may have eyes and boners only for willowy blondes during his lustful years, yet end up marrying a buxom brunette ... who fills his need for companionship, understanding, validation, trust, etc. We have few and simple criteria for sexual arousal, but many complex ones for a long-term loving relationship.

    As to what love is, i'm not qualified to explain it in neurological terms.

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