Love, especially “moments of love,” are very emotional (indeed, “love” is the first example most people give when asked to name an emotion). However, love, especially passionate love, may not be a specific emotion in its own right. Rather, passionate love may be better described as a goal-oriented state (the desire for a relationship with a particular partner) that can lead to a variety of emotions depending on the partner’s response. Also, unlike basic emotions, passionate love is not associated with any specific facial expression, it is more focused on a highly specific goal, and it is particularly hard to control (it is almost impossible to make yourself feel passionate love for someone). Similarly, brain scan studies show that passionate love engages a common reward-area brain system across individuals, a system similar to that which becomes active when one takes cocaine, but the emotional parts of the brain show different patterns for different individuals.
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