Nov 5, 2012


This NYT article, entitled "I Heart Upredictable Love" by Richard Friedman really struck a chord with me.  Here are two excerpts:
Professor Berns discovered that the water and juice elicited greater activation in the brain’s reward circuit when the reward was unanticipated than when it was delivered in a predictable fashion. The pattern held true whether the reward was water or fruit juice — even though most subjects claimed a clear preference.
These data might explain, in part, the paradox of people who complain constantly about their unreliable lovers, but keep coming back to them, time and again.

I dated a boy in high school, and it started out as your typical teenage love affair but ended in a total train wreck, finally, my freshman year of college.  I've never been able to reconcile why, when I knew better, I still turned to him again and again no matter how many times he broke my heart.  I feel like this article offered that lightbulb moment.  The pain of the first break-up was so acute, I would have done anything just to make my lungs fill with air again - even forgive his infidelity.  Each successive break-up was less painful, but more embarrassing.  When was I going to learn?  According to this article, not until the "reward" of his affection was less than the pleasure of finally being free of the nightmare.


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