Does science recognize love?

Every society has a romantic tradition, and the desire to form a long and (hopefully) lasting love with another human being is apparently an intrinsic part of being human. But while monogamy seems to be the ideal for most people, attaining that ideal is easier said than done. Like it or not, humans aren't likely to stay with one romantic partner for their entire lives. No matter how a society chooses to define marriage, nearly half of all such partnerships end in divorce.

Science cannot prove that your spouse loves you. When asked why so-and-so loves you, you may cite precedent (times when their behavior demonstrates their love for you) but this is a particular type of historical truth. There is no scientific test that can confirm a lifetime of experience of knowing a person.


Rubin (1970) introduced and validated a social-psychological construct of romantic love. Sternberg (1986) also came up with another theory called the Triangular Theory of Love.

In marketing, we also have a construct called Brand love. Based on the pioneering work of Rubin as well as that of other researchers, Carroll and Ahuvia (2006) proposed the brand love scale. This scale assesses satisfied consumers' passionate emotional attachment to particular brands and is is measured using 10 items or statements.

See:

Rubin, Z. (1970). Measurement of Romantic Love. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 16 (2), 265-273.

Sternberg, R. J. (1986). A Triangular Theory of Love. Psychological Review, 93, (2), 119-135.

Carroll, B.A. and Ahuvia, A.C., 2006. Some antecedents and outcomes of brand love. Marketing letters, 17(2), pp.79-89.


Can it be observed? Yes.  Can it be studied? Yes.  Can it be measured? Well, things about it can be measured: physiological reactions, emotional self-reports, long-term health effects.

Yes, science believes in love, because it can be demonstrated, observed, and tested.  There are some horrific experiments on primates about depriving them of parental love.  The results were so dramatic and horrible that they changed regulations on animal experimentation.

We can demonstrate love in MRIs, in skin galvanic response and heart rate, in both long-term and short-term hormonal responses.  We can do longitudinal epidemiological studies about the positive and negative effects of different forms of relationships.

We can show affection and love relationships in social animals as diverse as crows and rats.  We can observe cross-species altruistic behavior.

Science recognizes many different forms of love.

Fabulous question! I need a minute to enjoy it! Thank you very much for asking it.

YES. It is measurable scientifically. My knowledge is very limited on the science itself. Kinetic energy of the human body is measurable and I they are able to measure intimate love energy, and if memory serves me, measuring compassionate love was a challenge but again, I'm ignorant about the science itself. But I know the answer is Yes. Absolutely is scientifically detectable and measurable. At what levels, how, etc... Find out, and share it with everyone. Would be good to know more about it. Thank you for such a great question.


There is scientific research on love. There are even pop-science books summarizing the research every once in a while, such as: Amazon.com: Falling in Love: Why We Choose the Lovers We Choose (9780415951876): Ayala Malach Pines: Books

But there isn't a definitive scientific measure for "being in love", if that's what you mean by "recognizing love". They measure self-reported interest in a partner, or call-back rates, or pulse and sweating.


yes, even science believe that..

The Science of Love

  • There are three phases to falling in love and different hormones are involved at each stage.
  • Events occurring in the brain when we are in love have similarities with mental illness.
  • When we are attracted to somebody, it could be because subconsciously we like their genes.
  • Smell could be as important as looks when it comes to the fanciability factor. We like the look and smell of people who are most like our parents.

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