When Neil deGrasse Tyson brought up Tinder during a recent episode of his StarTalk Radio show, it inspired a hilarious discussion. But the dating-based-on-looks-alone app also brought up an interesting question: Is love at first sight real?
It depends on your personal experience and how you define love, according to two experts that Tyson had on the show.
“Some people believe [love at first sight] is true because it jves with their personal experience,” relationship expert Dan Savage said. “But it’s a logical fallacy because you may have had the exact same initial feelings for somebody and it didn’t work out. Love at first sight, hate and divorce court 15 years later.”
It’s easy for people to focus on the times when love at first sight lasted, and to forget about the times when they felt love at first sight toward someone who turned out to be a jerk, Tyson added.
“They remember the hits not the misses,” Tyson said.
But the bottom line answer is that biologically speaking, love at first can absolutely happen. It just might not be true love that lasts a lifetime, said biological anthropologist Helen Fisher.
“The brain system for romantic love is like the fear system,” Fisher said during the show. “You can be scared instantly and you can fall in love instantly.”
Many people claim that love at first sight is really just lust at first sight. Fisher has an explanation for that too. Love and sex are very closely related in the brain, she said.
“So it’s very often both,” Fisher said. “You can trigger the brain circuitry for romantic love and then everything about that person is sexy from that moment on.”
It works the other way too. Lust at first sight can very quickly turn into love.
“And then you can go to bed with somebody and trigger the brain circuitry for romantic love,” Fisher said. “So [love and lust] can be very well-connected.”
So it seems love at first sight can sneak up on us any time with very little warning.
You can listen to the full StarTalk Radio episode below:
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