Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Love: Math and Bio

N had this link to a very interesting NYTimes opinion piece on the Math behind love as her google status today. Some snippets

The premise:
suppose Romeo is in love with Juliet, but in our version of the story, Juliet is a fickle lover. The more Romeo loves her, the more she wants to run away and hide. But when he takes the hint and backs off, she begins to find him strangely attractive. He, on the other hand, tends to echo her: he warms up when she loves him and cools down when she hates him.

and then he goes to model them... using differential equations, no less
Add to those possibilities the two ways Romeo could react to Juliet’s affections — either increasing or decreasing his own — and you see that there are four personality types, each corresponding to a different romantic style.


Although these examples are whimsical, the equations that arise in them are of the far-reaching kind known as differential equations. They represent the most powerful tool humanity has ever created for making sense of the material world. Sir Isaac Newton used them to solve the ancient mystery of planetary motion. In so doing, he unified the heavens and the earth, showing that the same laws of motion applied to both.
And in the end, he shares with us what happened when he applied math to his own love-situation back in the day, and why math stopped working beyond a point, but only due to a clearly mathematical reason.

Seriously, go read it.

Moving on, another discussion today (with M) made me do a little googling, and brought me to this article about the biological aspects of love. (Sorry but their claims do not have citations).

First, the premise:
We call it love. It feels like love. But the most exhilarating of all human emotions is probably nature’s beautiful way of keeping the human species alive and reproducing.

With an irresistible cocktail of chemicals, our brain entices us to fall in love. We believe we’re choosing a partner. But we may merely be the happy victims of nature’s lovely plan.
Then, the interesting bit about how the body behaves, in reaction to hormones, during the phases of "love" - lust, attraction, and attachment. Among others, this gem:
Does love change the way you think?
A landmark experiment in Pisa, Italy showed that early love (the attraction phase) really changes the way you think.

Dr Donatella Marazziti, a psychiatrist at the University of Pisa advertised for twenty couples who'd been madly in love for less than six months. She wanted to see if the brain mechanisms that cause you to constantly think about your lover, were related to the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder.

By analysing blood samples from the lovers, Dr Marazitti discovered that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients.
And finally, they talk about a fool-proof three step procedure titled "how to fall in love". But for that, you should read the article :).

So, what do _you_ think ? Feel free to comment anonymously if you so desire :-).
P.S. Another way to increase your dopamine level - sports! And I sure _love_ the fact that I have resumed playing tennis regularly :).


  1. heh, seems like a pretty dangerous experiment :)

  2. @Neva: The Pisa one? Well, the only danger is finding out that you are OCD :). The more dangerous (?) one is the "3 steps on how to fall in love" one IMO :)

  3. Sir,U are turning into romantic technocrat.First Ghazals,now this rationalism behind love. I think a change(read mutation) is about to come in your life.

  4. je wala link to ekdum dhinchak hai!

  5. @Y haha. Let's see.
    @khanna thanks. But which one, the first or the second?

  6. Differential equation of love? And we thought love 'integrates'. :)