It’s a fine line between love and hate in the brain.
Researchers have found results that suggest that the areas in the brain involved in hatred are also activated by love. The researchers scanned human subjects while they viewed the face of a person they hated, and also faces of acquaintances for whom they had neutral feelings.
They then calculated a “hate score” - this was to quantify how much the participant hated each individual. Their results showed that viewing a hated face revealed a basic pattern of activity in the brain, that seems unique to “hate”. This “hate network” has components that have been considered to be important in generating aggressive behaviour and translating this behaviour into action. Most intriguingly though, the network involved regions that are almost identical to the ones activated by passionate, romantic love.
The researchers conclude that the link of these two brain areas may account for why love and hate are so closely linked to each other in life.
I think it is important to remember that there could be so many possible explanations for why these areas light up in both hate and love - a reaction to faces, threats (i.e. maybe you are super sensitive to threat when thinking about the person you love being taken away, etc.) but it’s an interesting study none the less.
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