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Is It the Heart or the Brain?
I saw you from across the room, and I knew immediately. My pulse began to race; Istarted to sweat; I could barely breathe. From the first moment that I laid eyes on you, Iwas convinced that you were the one. On our first date, the chemistry was obvious. Welaughed and smiled and held hands and talked for hours. I couldn't sleep or eat or even05pay attention at work. I just had to be with you.Within one-fifth of a second, your physical appearance and body language caused anexcessive release of dopamine in my brain creating feelings of excitement and happiness.We made eye contact for 8.2 seconds; your pheromones were indistinguishable frommy mother's. Then, your voice triggered my brain mechanism for generating long-term10attachment; and, for the next several days, my neurotransmitters sent obsessive messageafter message, accompanying thoughts of you with feelings of euphoria. Once vasopressinand oxytocin reached my receptors, I knew that I could never be without you.Although the former description of "falling in love" is far more prevalent, it is thelatter that has scientists speculating that love is more biological than cultural. Helen15Fisher, American anthropologist and professor at Rutgers University, studies romanticinterpersonal attraction and states that love begins with a focus on one person thatresults in obsessive thinking. In her essay, "The Realities of Love at First Sight," Fisherexplains how we evaluate an individual within three minutes of meeting them basedon their physical attributes, voice, and words. First, we decide if they are attractive,20then we evaluate their clothing and stature, before moving on to the sound and tone oftheir voice. Lastly, we consider what they actually say. She concludes that we choosepartners whose biological chemicals complement our own.Fisher's research has even gone further to explain the science behind falling inlove. She theorizes that humans have three brain systems for loving: lust, which is25associated with testosterone; attraction, which is linked to dopamine; and attachment,which is brought on by increased levels of oxytocin and vasopressin. While these threesystems can surely overlap, they also exist separately from one another which, forFisher, explains why loving more than one person at a time is quite possible. However,Fisher isn't convinced that love is entirely biological. The Economist describes the30phenomenon like this: "a chemical state with genetic roots and environmentalinfluences."Yet, the connection between love and brain chemicals is far too certain to ignore.Psychology Today renders love a three-step scientific process. First, a release of thehormone dopamine causes "feel good" emotions. In this stage, we feel attracted to an35individual and associate them with feelings of intense joy. Next, our neurotransmitters—norepinephrine and phenylethylamine—lead to focused attention on the objectof our attraction and feelings of giddiness that make it hard to sleep and decrease ourappetite. Lastly, our brain reward system is activated, sending chemical messages tovarious parts of the body that elevate mood and make an addiction-like urge to be with40that person. Biologically, that is the extent of love.Comparing love to a chemical addiction is actually a quite common metaphor,within poetry and music, but it also happens within the sciences. Deepak Chopra,physician and public speaker, postulates that love stems from an impulse and behaveswithin our brain very similarly to a drug addiction. Stephanie Ortigue is a professor45at Syracuse University and describes the addiction-like qualities as a result of twelvedifferent areas of the brain working in tandem to release euphoria-inducing chemicalssuch as adrenaline, dopamine, oxytocin, and vasopressin. Oxytocin, known as "thelove hormone," is why we feel calm and cuddly with our significant others.When it comes to "love at first sight," biologists are asserting that it actually50does happen—in about 11% of love encounters, the attachment mechanism withinthe brain can be triggered within the first few minutes of meeting someone. TheHuffington Post contends that the optimal environment for love at first sight takesplace in encounters with about 8 seconds of continuous eye contact; in cases whereindividuals stared into one another's eyes for 4.5 seconds or less, the chances for love55were dismal. It would appear that new research has love down to a science.
When Did I Fall in Love?
1. What is the overall point of the passage?
2. The different perspectives represented by the first and second paragraphs are generally described as what, respectively?
3. As used in line 3, the word "chemistry" most closely means
4. The author makes the most broad use of which of the following to build her case?
5. It can be reasonably inferred from the passage that which of the following chemicals is most important to a long-lasting loving relationship?
6. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
7. As used in line 22, the word "complement" most closely means
8. Lines 41-42 ("Comparing . . . sciences") most strongly serve to
9. Based on the information in the graph, it is most likely that the sample of people researchers referred to in lines 49-51 ("When it . . . someone") was a
10. After approximately how many months into their current relationship would the majority of men surveyed in the graph state that they were in love with their partner?
11. The information in the graph most directly contradicts what evidence from the passage?
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