Love, Meet Your Close Cousin, Aggression

The chemical, oxytocin, that makes us want to cuddle, also makes us very suspicious of out-groups, people who are not in our relationship.

What’s interesting is that many of the neuro-chemicals that are involved in love are also involved in aggression.  So this chemical, oxytocin, that makes us want to cuddle, it also makes us very suspicious of out-groups, people who are not in our relationship.  It’s involved with jealousy. It’s involved with protecting – wanting to protect your young or your partner.  So, it would seem that maybe there is this really thin line between love and hate.  And certainly anecdotally, anybody who’s been in a relationship and it ended very, very badly, knows how easily it could make that jump.  


The one neuro-imaging study that’s been done to date was looking for a unique brain signature for hate.  The problem was that most of the participants in this study claimed to hate a person that they were once in love with.  They did find some overlap between romantic love and hate in this study, but again, was this just some kind of leftover from the previous relationship?  Maybe they still felt a little something for that past partner and that’s why that showed up or is this actually showing an actual movement across that thin line?  We don’t know.

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

Why a federal judge ordered White House to restore Jim Acosta's press badge

A federal judge ruled that the Trump administration likely violated the reporter's Fifth Amendment rights when it stripped his press credentials earlier this month.

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 16: CNN chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta (R) returns to the White House with CNN Washington bureau chief Sam Feist after Federal judge Timothy J. Kelly ordered the White House to reinstate his press pass November 16, 2018 in Washington, DC. CNN has filed a lawsuit against the White House after Acosta's press pass was revoked after a dispute involving a news conference last week. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Acosta will be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
  • The judge described the ruling as narrow, and didn't rule one way or the other on violations of the First Amendment.
  • The case is still open, and the administration may choose to appeal the ruling.
Keep reading Show less

How to split the USA into two countries: Red and Blue

Progressive America would be half as big, but twice as populated as its conservative twin.

Image: Dicken Schrader
Strange Maps
  • America's two political tribes have consolidated into 'red' and 'blue' nations, with seemingly irreconcilable differences.
  • Perhaps the best way to stop the infighting is to go for a divorce and give the two nations a country each
  • Based on the UN's partition plan for Israel/Palestine, this proposal provides territorial contiguity and sea access to both 'red' and 'blue' America
Keep reading Show less

Scientists just voted to change the definition of a kilogram

The definition of a kilogram will now be fixed to Planck's constant, a fundamental part of quantum physics.

Greg L via Wikipedia
Surprising Science
  • The new definition of a kilogram is based on a physical constant in quantum physics.
  • Unlike the current definition of a kilogram, this measurement will never change.
  • Scientists also voted to update the definitions of several other measurements in physics.
Keep reading Show less