About this Research Topic
Love, especially romantic love, is actually a motivational state associated with a desire to enter or maintain a close relationship with a specific person. Love has similar behavioral patterns as addiction, such as high craving for the preferred individual, modulated in part by the brain’s reward system. Furthermore, some neuroscientists suggest the reward system is the shared neural mechanism between love and addition.
However, it is clear that love is overall different from addiction. Whereas addiction lies in the realm of negative psychopathology, love on the other hand may improve cognition, life satisfaction, interpersonal relationships, and social interaction. Furthermore, love may also be considered an evolutionary adaptation to ensure survival, whereas addiction deters survival and functioning. Additionally, romantic love leads to the development of personal attachment with a loved one, while addiction negatively affects close relationships. Thus, understanding how love differs from addiction beyond its rewarding aspects seems to arise naturally, and its elucidation would enable us to better understand both addiction and romantic love.
The core purpose of this topic is to identify how the reward system interacts with other functional systems throughout the process of love and/or addiction. Furthermore, by clarifying the similarity and differences between being in love and being addicted, we may better inform potential empirical interventions for addiction prevention. To achieve this goal, we encourage submissions that are broadly related to the following themes in order to expand our current knowledge. We welcome original research papers as well as meta-analyses and reviews.
- How does romantic love develop with time? Why and how does romantic love finally change into a kind of attachment?
- How does recreational drug use change into compulsive and uncontrolled use (i.e., addiction)? Can differences in cognitive control or other individual difference help slow down the addiction process?
- How does romantic love or addiction influence the way our brain works at the network level?
- How does romantic love or addiction influence cognitive processes other than reward (e.g., emotion, self-control, memory, decision-making, etc.), and what are the neural mechanisms for this influence?
- Are there existing cognitive interventions (e.g., CET, CBT, etc.) or non-invasive brain stimulation techniques (e.g., TMS, tDCS, etc.) that may be effective for interrupting addiction or the influence of love, and what are the neural mechanisms for modulating these changes?
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.