How We Love

Update: 2016-10-0711


Love is instinctive and essential, but what is it that brings certain people together? In this hour, TED speakers examine the mystery of connection and relationships. (Original broadcast date: April 25, 2014).

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support for this podcast in the following message come from concur a service where employees get simplified expense reports and business leaders get full visibility into their company spending habits expense travel invoice learn more at concurred dot com slash Radio Hour eight sky here just a quick note to tell you we've got a prayer and new episode coming up next week but in the meantime take a listen to this one from archives called How We Love and it's all about love why we love and how using mathematics might help you find the perfect person enjoy this the the radio hour each week the groundbreaking had talked the Ted Technology Design that stems from and Ted conferences around the world gift of the human imagination we had to believe in impossible the true nature of reality beckons just beyond those talks those ideas adapted for radio NPR guy Russ and I show today the ideas around how we love so love is instinctive right it's buried deep inside the most primitive part of our brains but the way it works why we're trying to certain people and not others it's still not entirely understood so that our speakers who are all exploring love not just romantic love that kind of love u might feel for your daddy or brother or best friends suffer story is a romantic love story with help from math data and algorithms as told on the Ted stage my name is Amy Webb and a few years ago I found myself at the end of yet another fantastic relationship that came burning down and spectacular fashion and I thought what's wrong with me I don't understand why this keeps happening so I asked everybody in my life what they thought it turned my grandmother who always had plenty of advice on it she said stop being so picky and eight around and most importantly true love will find you when you least expect it a shot as trying to figure out what's the probability of my finding Mr. Right by the time I was living in the city of Philadelphia and the big city and I figured you know in this entire place there are lots of possibilities the population of Philadelphia has won twenty five million people half of batter men's that takes the number down to seven hundred and fifty thousand looking for guy between the ages of thirty and thirty six which was only four percent of the populations in ongoing with the possibility of thirty thousand men I was looking for somebody who is Jewish because that's what I am it was important to me it's only two point three percent of the population figure I'm attracted to may be won ten of those men and the reason you know no way I was going to deal with somebody who was an avid golfer I basically meant there were thirty five men for me that I can possibly Day in the entire city the stuff I have two possible strategies at this point him for figuring out one I can take my grandmother's advice and sort of least expect my way and have maybe bumping into one of thirty five possible men and the entire one point five million person city of Philadelphia or I could try online dating now I like the idea of online dating because it's predicated on an algorithm and that's really just a simple way of saying about a problem may you someday to run it through the system and get to a solution so in my case I thought Will data and an algorithm lead me to my prince charming so I decided to sign on the the now the biggest problem is I hate filling out questionnaires of any kind and I certainly don't like questionnaires that are like Cosmo quizzes so I just copied and pasted from my resume the the sewer in the Empire up top I said that I was an award winning journalist and a future thing to when I was asked about fun activities like my ideal date by side monetization the fluency in Japanese a lot about JavaScript The fluent in Japanese in JavaScript that is that hot but super sexy sassy yet maybe that wasn't the best way for me to to introduce myself but you know the crazy thing is that even though I had foolishly copied and pasted from a resume it didn't stop the dating services for matching with other people and it certainly didn't stop those people from asking me out on dates this had to go yes I had some dates that were pretty rough time I was being set up with very very Orthodox rabbis which was like a no go from the get go people who are super interested in sports there was being stuck with the check there was another guy who was diminutive and ordered a lot of long island ice teas and we were out doing karaoke will be on our first aid and he he ran up on stage and sang a bunch of songs and dedicated them to his girlfriend and I was like I have no idea who I'd just met you like twenty minutes ago I am not your girlfriend to the the wealthy should know about anywhere is that she crunches numbers for living she analyzes data that helps big companies make more accurate predictions she start to wonder what if love isn't so mysterious at all what if instead of analyzing data for clients by dua for herself and what if by doing that she could gain the system you know in any other case we do market research why wouldn't I do market research you know on myself so dating websites are predicated on some pretty basic not very exciting match name and in order to make things work the has to be a limited number of choices a limited number of variables it's a lot easier to parse do like cats or dogs that it is to parse something like chemistry right the knowing that there was superficial data that was being used to match up with other people I decided instead to ask my own questions but with every single possible thing that I could think of that I was looking for enemy was looking for a compatibility in terms of work ethic religion I started writing a musical tastes and writing I wanted somebody who had a certain attitude towards money and right I was looking for somebody who was going to be twenty pounds heavier than I was an all time somebody who was going to be totally okay with forcing a child after taking Cal lessons at age three was a pretty exhaustive list and at the end I had amassed seventy two different data points which to be fair is a lot so I did was I went through I prioritize that list I broke it into a top here in the second tear of points on why I ranked everything starting a hundred on going all the way down to ninety one so what all this time I then built a scoring system I wanted to do was sort of mathematically calculate whether or not I thought the guy that I found on line would be a match with me I figured there'd be a minimum of seven hundred points before I would agree that you know somebody or respond to an email message for nine hundred point I'd agree to go on a date I would even consider any kind of relationship before somebody had crossed the fifteen hundred point threshold may know this is like unbelievable you you are like Alan Turing like cracking the enigma code you've cracked the on line dating code credit for myself and I think that's what this comes right down to a lot of people are there either go into relationships not really knowing what they want and they change or they've settled and when you make or less when you really think about who it is it's going to make you happy in the long term and what you're going to need that she the time that you make the most detailed list of your entire life I know people who have a handful of things are looking for a maid but who have grocery lists that are three pages long we were grocery shopping for a soulmate there's a lot of science behind cracking the code it's it's about figuring out what you need to make you happy and then going out getting in my case i din wanna go on fifty dates and wanted to go out on one date with the right person and be done as it turns out this worked pretty well so I go back on line now I found Jewish stock fifty seven was incredibly good looking incredibly well spoken he had walked along the Great Wall he likes to travel as long as it doesn't involve a cruise ship right and I five I've done in class I have just found the Jewish prince charming have my family streams of only one problem he unlike me back and I guess the one variable that I haven't considered is the competition who are all of the other women on these dating sites I found smiley girl nineteen seventy eight the Dutch is a fun girl who is happy now going to stick her job as teacher she said she is silly nice and friendly she likes to make people laugh alot at this moment clicking after profile after profile for what it looked like this that I needed to do some market research so I created ten fake profiles an hour before I lose all of you the I understand that I did this strictly to gather data about everybody else in the system I didn't carry on Krazy Kat fist our relationships with anybody I really was just scraping their data I didn't want everybody's data I only wanted data on the women who are going to be attracted to the type of man I really really wanted to marry and mainly what I was looking at was different data sets as looking at qualitative data so was the humor the tone of voice communication style that these women shared in common and also quantitative data so what was the average length of their profile with much time spent between messages I wanted to figure out how to maximize my own profile on line and as it turns out really good job I was the most popular person on line the the and the wants of man wanted to date me well not too long after that I found this guy and he said that he was culturally Jewish but he talks in detail about travel he looked and talked exactly like what I wanted and immediately he scored eight hundred and fifty points it was enough for a date three weeks later we met up in person for what turned out to be a fourteen hour long conversation that went from coffeeshop to restaurant to another coffee shop to another restaurant well a year and half after that we were done on cruise ships traveling through Petra Jordan when he got down on his knee and proposed a year after that we were married and about a year and a half after that our daughter Petra was born the the the the incredible it's come to the movie and it's it's amazing that that happened at all that happened it is so afterwords I eventually did show him the list so forth day dan IDE said listen I know that I sometime get and I took the list out and I said here's how we came to be together and he thought that it was great the things that that was on the listeners looking for somebody who would appreciate the beauty of a well crafted spreadsheet and holy it's exactly the right way to go well and it was and he did wow I mean so so technologies like changing the way we find love right in at the algorithms can be gained and cannot legally to the perfect person like the person you are meant to be with forever I think technology is really useful tool to bring people together but at the end of the day it's up to this technology has made a lot of things in life much more efficient much easier love is something that takes work and it takes work even if you found your soulmate your fifteen hundred point man or woman the person that you are looking for who is is the perfect person for you both still have to put in some effort and technology can't solve for that critical element of any relationship for love to endure it takes human capital take sweat equity understanding and it takes people the US she told a story in a memoir called Data A Love Story a full tuck is at Ted that NPR dot org in a moment the science behind who you love or show today how we love and I rise and listening to Ted Radio Hour from NPR the aural to Hey Everyone Just a quick thanks to two of our sponsors who help keep this podcast going first to the Tim Ferris show each podcast episode Tim de constructs World Class performers from every walk of life business sports aren't investing and more to find the tools tactics and routines you can use favorite books check morning routines check and that's just the beginning the podcast has been downloaded more than eighty million times and was selected as one of I tunes best of two thousand and fifteen past guests include Arnold Schwarzenegger Laird Hamilton and serial entrepreneur Peter teal for a great place to start listen to the episode featuring BJ Miller the man who studied thousand deaths to learn to live is it four Hour workweek dot com slash B J s f o u r h o u r workweek com forward slash VJ the salsa to buy shares because the best preparation for tomorrow is building your future today so whatever you're inspired to build in life this is the time to make it possible I shares by BlackRock inspired to build its the Ted Radio Hour from NPR and I rise today show ideas are and how we love and the thing about love is that for at least a century scientists have been getting closer to the mystery of how it works you know the elation the getting is euphoria the energy that possesses us that craving obsession this is Helen Fisher she teaches at Rutgers I'm biological anthropologist and study love romance and personally I'm also chief scientific advisor to match the outcome the dating service at school that section of the academic staff and the mesh back on that school thank you the town looks at the science behind love in her research is based on one big idea that our brains are actually wired to fall in love with physics in try the brain circuitry that developed millions of years ago that's devoted entirely to romantic love people have resisted thinking that romantic love actually is a plain system is scheduled to break the magic they want romantic love to be part of the supernatural but why can't they bring chemistry be kind of supernatural eye on some level than any I don't know I'm assigned to the people in brain scanners but you know what it actually happens to you it can feel super natural I mean why isn't a supernatural cause it's housed in the brain why do we want to feel that a supernatural cause it feels so good the case of this brings us some income like the sleeping cat it can be awakened at any time any time any place and is partly because as you grow up you begin to build what I call an unconscious list of which are looking for an apartment which I call your love map for example when you walk into a party and she fits within that love maps it triggers the brain's circuitry and after the race in all a sudden your brain starts flying through this very subjective list of criteria too tall too short too fat too thin too old too young too scruffy to air out strong accent they're out they smiled to the vet's there and if that person makes the cut your brain is becoming active is giving you that pleasing sensation is pumping out the dough for me to make you feel more optimistic energetic you feel that intense rush and it happens in a flash not really sure what's going on but you know something is going on so what's happening well Helen explains the science behind it on the Ted stage I and my colleagues are Aaron and Lucy Brown and others have put thirty seven people who are madly in love and a functional MRI brain scanner seventeen You are happily in love fifteen Who just been dumped and were just starting our third experiment to study people who report that they are still in love after ten to twenty five years of marriage so we found activity in a tiny little factory near the base of the brain called the event will take middle area without activity in some cells called the A ten cells cells that actually make dopamine a natural stimulant and spray it to many brain regions indeed this part of ETA is part of the brain's reward system is part of what we call the reptilian core of the brain associated with one teen with motivation with focus and with craving in fact the same brain region where we found activity becomes active also when you feel the rush of cocaine what makes you get that rash four for one person right over over somebody else I wondered about that and of course this is what interested me so much with the match dot com They asked me Why do you fall in love with one person camp and so I've spent the last three years on this and that psychologists can tell you we tend to follow somebody from the same socioeconomic background the same general level of intelligence the same general level of good looks and that's about it that's all they know they've never found the way to personalities fit together to make a good relationship so began to occur to me that maybe your biology pulls you towards some people rather than another and I have concocted a questionnaire to see to what degree you expressed open main baritone an estrogen and testosterone I think we've evolved for a very broad personality types associated with the ratios of these for chemicals in the brain and on this dating site that I've created called chemistry i com I ask you first series of questions to see to what degree you express these chemicals and I'm watching who chooses who to love the Palin calls a series of questions the fish or temperament inventory fifty six questions that can gauge whether you have higher levels of certain brain chemicals and questions include things like do you change your mind easily or is it important to you to respect authority and do you prefer interesting friends or loyal friends and over a thirteen million people have now taken that question her about thirty thousand taken every month and chemistry dot com so you know it's big data I mean match dot com enable me to really collect a lot of big data so what you find out the As it turns out people are very high indeed open system curious creative spontaneous energetic they go for people like themselves popular traditional serotonin system they also go for people like themselves in the other two cases opposites attract people with the trays link with the testosterone system the analytical logical direct decisive tough might they go for their opposite to a very expressive of the estrogen system imaginative intuitive comparable skills good people skills they also go for their obscene so when this happens and you meet your perfect neuro chemical match your brain is in love you are literally addicted to that person and then we get done for people who've been rejected in the show activity in brain regions the pain the in fact one of the brain regions this is a brain region that time also becomes active when you feel the tooth pain so it's of really powerfully painful literally painful experience when you've been rejected in Love Lucy Brown neuroscientist in my project looking at the data of the people who put into the machine have to they're just been dumped both thought it was very difficult actually putting these people mention because they were in such bad shape the And I do so anyway we found activating it exactly the same brain region associated with intense romantic love you know when you've been dumped the one thing you love to do is forget about this human being and then go on with delight but no you just love them harder that brain system the reward system for wanting for motivation for craving for focus becomes more active when you can't get what you want in this case life's greatest prize an appropriate mating partner the dairy is like a human need for companionship time I mean we we need that like I mean what is it about that because millions of years ago home the trees began to disappear and had to get out and we began to climb and they would rush out of the grasslands and stand up on two feet collect what they could to eight and raced back to a place where they were protected with the beginning of standing came walking and with that women have to begin to carry their babies in their arms instead of on their back so females began to need a partner to help them rear their baby and we evolved in the human animal of the brain circuitry for romantic love and for DB found attachment to another individual the very hallmarks of humanity so what have I learned from this experiment that I would like to tell the world's foremost I have come to think that romantic love is a drive a basic mating drive out the sex trade the six targets yet deliver whole range of partners are manic love enables you to focus or mating energy on just one of the time conserve your mating energy and start the mating process with a single individual what sums it up best is something that is said by Plato my eye over two thousand years ago he said the God of love lives in the state of need it is in need it is an urge it is a whole meal static imbalance like hunger and thirst it's almost impossible to stamp out so my final payment is love is in knife it's deeply imbedded in the brain our challenge is to understand each other thank you fish are sure about her groundbreaking research and the book Why We Love given several other tax check out all of them had come to that that love is like at the construct music it's a fact that an experience it's an experience that is meant to emotion and physical sensual and sensory all encompassing that part of weight some ran this because it leaves any part of verse doesn't leave any part of a sometimes can you introduce yourself please I'm a Stamper and I made couple therapist and am the author of the book mating in captivity as well as a sex therapist when people meet you and you say I'm a Stamper ally wrote this book in her the mating in captivity like the most common question you get from people when the first reaction is usually to the Titan mating in captivity some people know exactly what they mean and they understand immediately that we don't necessarily like to mate in captivity and so then the next question is so can desire be sustained in the long corridors can you reconcile the domestic and erratic in one relationship can you reconcile its intimacy and sexuality with the same person for the long haul and those questions there at the heart of what Mr. Pearl's been studying for thirty years questions she explores on the Ted stage I was good sex so often fade even for couples who continue to love each other as much as ever and why does that intimacy not guarantee good sex contrary to popular belief or the next question would be Can we want what we already have that's the million dollar question right and wise before been so erratic what is it about transgression that makes desire so potent and why does sex make babies and baby spit up the disaster in couples the scan of the fate of Iraq to go isn't it and when you love how does it feel and when you desire how is it different is the sum of the questions that are at the center of my exploration on the nature of erotic desire and its concomitant Dean M as in mild enough so I travelled to go and what I'm noticing is that everywhere where romanticism his answer this seems to be a crisis of desire a crisis of desire as in owning the wanting desire as an expression of our individuality of our free choice of our preferences of our identity desire that has become a central concept as part of modern of an individualistic societies desire was never the organizing principle of sexuality for sure in marriage you know we had sex because we needed lots of children and we had sex because it was a woman's marital duty so desire is very much a concept of our society of our culture today if a consumer society of a society that has the I am the center and dis i knows who she is and knows what he wants and is constantly urge to define it and to walk more into what I do what's the result crumble under the weight of expectation this you know we've never invested more in love and we've never divorced more in the name of love when other having a very nice resides that doesn't mean that when we have less expectations marriages were happier occasions but some people had different expectations of life you know one of the most important things we've done around marriage that we've brought happiness down from the heaven and made it first a possibility in the two dates amend it so you know I happy in my marriage was that ever such an important question to say Did that my marriage is supposed to give me something that ask us to get something for my partner and that my partner owes me that because somehow it was implicit in our agreement and are joining together that we're going to give the sad stuff but things like I'll never feel alone again now and never worry about abandonment and never feel disconnected I've never seen a notice to assist this and atheists is that like many marriages great luck with it he is not speaking for myself here of course but of a it's it's it's it is that person it is that person that is you know that person is your best friend and that's our expectation and I can America but I continue to go to many parts of the word where I don't ever hear people say my partner is my best friends they have best friends and that's not their partner their partner is their partner that's a different thing and frankly many people treat their partners in ways that we would never read a best friends and allow themselves to say and do things that no best friend would ever accept friendship does not operate along the same lines the the the so what sustains desire and why is it so difficult in the hearts of sustaining desire in a committed relationship I think is the reconciliation of two fun
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How We Love