Mapping Love (and everything else that comes with it)

Mapping Love (and everything else that comes with it)

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’ve been on a hiatus for the past couple of months, due to the holidays and a somewhat drawn-out cross-country move (Hello, San Francisco!), but what better way to come back online than to trace the documentation of the best of all states of mind: LOVE.

According to science, love really is a state of mind, a kind of drunkenness induced by a complex yet primitive neurochemical cocktail–the brain being one kick-ass mixologist. Scientific American hones in on love in the brain, highlighting the exact locations where different stages of love (or at least the chemical reactions they produce) take place. There are about a dozen centers of love in the brain, which differ depending on whether one is experiencing passionate love, maternal love, or unconditional love. It also breaks down such abstract feelings as trust and attraction into their requisite neurotransmitters. So just remember, tonight when you are experiencing a a flurry of attraction or woozy butterflies that accompany your candlelit dinner date, you can chalk it up to dopamine or vasopressin lighting up those passionate regions of your Dorsolateral middle frontal gyrus. Romantic, eh?

Scientific American, Graphics by James W. Lewis, West Virginia University (brain), and Jen Christiansen (2011)

In the spirit of primal love, the internet has made one Valentine’s Day tradition just a little bit easier. Now, coupled-up individuals can flaunt their status to hapless singletons digitally, thanks to IJustMadeLove.com. Replete with humping bunnies, this site takes Google Maps API-crawling to a whole new level, allowing users from all over the world to brag (anonymously) about their sexual accomplishments. I’ll leave it to you to discover all of the additional features, but suffice it to say this is a prime example of data-rich, crowd-sourced, real-time mapping if ever there was one.

 

I Just Made Love

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