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Panksepp, J. (2008). Commentary on “Is There a Drive to Love?”. Neuropsychoanalysis, 10(2):166-169.

(2008). Neuropsychoanalysis, 10(2):166-169

Commentary on “Is There a Drive to Love?” Related Papers

Jaak Panksepp

Seeking the Epigenesis of Romantic Love

Yoram Yovell provides an intriguing analysis of the web of linkages among love, sexuality, and attachments, as he probes the currently irresolvable question of whether there is an intrinsic drive in the human brain/mind for “romantic love.” He cautiously and appropriately concludes that romantic love probably emerges from our more primitive urges for sexuality and social attachments, without falling into the pit of ruthless reductionism that is so common in neuro-science these days. In pursuing the rational middle ground, he provides an intriguing essay on the search for the roots of love through modern brain imaging. His analysis is uniquely integrated with a vision of primary-process mammalian emotions and motives arising from a cross-species affective neuroscience.

Yovell's reading of the evidence, as opposed to the hubris of theoretical speculation common in this field, leads him to conclude that those who have been willing to posit “romantic love” as a primary drive may be adding one too many evolutionary horses in front of the cart of our fundamental social motivations. While I largely agree, I would also like to add the intellectual spice of a few modest qualifications. As I highlighted in Affective Neuroscience, two of the major emotional forces for adult love surely arise from our LUST and CARE systems, leading often to confusions and to gender-typical cross-currents about the varieties of human love (Panksepp, 1998).

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