Or so the researchers at UCLA would have us believe. Assistant professor of psychology Naomi Eisenberger and psychology graduate Tristen Inagaki performed an experiment on 20 heterosexual couples in romantic relationships at UCLA’s Ahmanson-Lovelace Brain Mapping Center.
In the experiment, each boyfriend received painful electric shocks while his girlfriend’s brain activity was monitored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Inagaki and Eisenberger “explored the potentially beneficial effects of support giving by examining the neural substrates of giving support to a loved one.” They “focused on a priori regions of interest in the ventral striatum and septal area (SA) because of their role in maternal caregiving behavior in animals” (Inagaki and Eisenberger, 2012). Continue reading