March 26, 2008

I'm the Love Doctor!

Violent angelsOne of my papers is now out in Neuroethics 1:1: Neuroenhancement of Love and Marriage: The Chemicals Between Us by me and Julian Savulescu (access apparently free for 2008 - the first hit is always free!).

Our paper is about the neuropharmacological enhancement of love and why it is likely a good idea, why it is not immoral and some ideas of how it could be done in the near future if the pharmacology goes the way we expect. Basically, we evolved the love-systems in our brains in a very different environment from the present, where people died young and there was not much point in having multidecade bonding. Add to this the usual evo psych reasons men and women may want to get different things, and we get a plausible explanation for some of the high divorce rate - and subsequent psychological suffering. To reduce this we could modulate the bonding system using oxytocin-like compounds, make the partners more similar in desire by modulating testosterone or even try to recreate imprinting. This is not inauthentic when applied to an already existing, authentic but faltering relation (it might be problematic in the classic "love potion" scenario when a drug engenders an emotion that is not based on the partner's normal mental life). There are of course a lot of other ways to strengthen pair relations, the neurochemical one is just yet another interesting option that is becoming possible.

I really want to write a more extended and deep version of this paper, this one was a bit rushed. I have so much material to play with and the subject is fun - although I'm definitely not qualified by any practical experience to write about lasting relationships... but I'm an unashamed theoretician anyway!

Posted by Anders3 at March 26, 2008 12:44 AM