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It may be better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but why is it so hard to find again? It may be that our brains are fixated on our former lovers, according to scientists.

Researchers at Florida State University examined the nature of love by studying the brains and behaviour of male prairie voles, picked for their habit of lifelong monogamy and aggression1 towards other females once they have found a mate.

The scientists found that males became devoted2 to females only after they had mated. The bond coincided with a huge release of the feelgood chemical dopamine inside their brains.

Brandon Aragona, who led the study, demonstrated that dopamine was the voles' love drug by injecting the chemical into the brains of males who had not yet had sex with female companions. Immediately, they lost interest in other females and spent all of their time with their chosen one. Further experiments showed that dopamine restructured a part of the vole's brain called the nucleus3 accumbens, a region that many animals have, including humans. The change was so drastic that when paired-up males were introduced to new females, although their brains still produced dopamine on sight, the chemical was channelled into a different neural4 circuit that made them go cold towards the new female.

"It seems that the first time they get together and the bond forms, it locks them into that monogamous behaviour ... You can take a female away from a male once he's formed a bond with her and two weeks later put him with a different female and he won't be remotely interested," said Dr Aragona, whose study appears in the journal Nature Neuroscience.

The researchers said that while the love lives of voles differ from those of humans, the same brain structures work in much the same ways across different species. "Things are always going to be more complicated in humans because we have larger brains and are under different pressures, but the basic mechanisms5 are there", said Dr Aragona. 



  据《卫报 》12月6日报道,美国佛罗里达州大学的研究人员通过研究雄性田鼠的大脑和行为来探索人类爱情的本质。和人一样,田鼠属于终生单配偶动物(即一夫一妻制),且一旦有了配偶后就本能地对其它异性产生排斥。






1 aggression WKjyF     
  • So long as we are firmly united, we need fear no aggression.只要我们紧密地团结,就不必惧怕外来侵略。
  • Her view is that aggression is part of human nature.她认为攻击性是人类本性的一部份。
2 devoted xu9zka     
  • He devoted his life to the educational cause of the motherland.他为祖国的教育事业贡献了一生。
  • We devoted a lengthy and full discussion to this topic.我们对这个题目进行了长时间的充分讨论。
3 nucleus avSyg     
  • These young people formed the nucleus of the club.这些年轻人成了俱乐部的核心。
  • These councils would form the nucleus of a future regime.这些委员会将成为一个未来政权的核心。
4 neural DnXzFt     
  • The neural network can preferably solve the non- linear problem.利用神经网络建模可以较好地解决非线性问题。
  • The information transmission in neural system depends on neurotransmitters.信息传递的神经途径有赖于神经递质。
5 mechanisms d0db71d70348ef1c49f05f59097917b8     
n.机械( mechanism的名词复数 );机械装置;[生物学] 机制;机械作用
  • The research will provide direct insight into molecular mechanisms. 这项研究将使人能够直接地了解分子的机理。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • He explained how the two mechanisms worked. 他解释这两台机械装置是如何工作的。 来自《简明英汉词典》