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Neuroscientist Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo on the Ways Our Brains Are ‘Wired for Love’

0 2 years ago

Dr. Stephanie Cacioppo was well into her 30s before she fell in love. Perhaps that seems odd for a neuroscientist who studies the effects and activity of love in the brain, but this gave her an objectivity that she otherwise wouldn’t have had. She valued her independence and emotional distance from what she was studying. But when she met her husband, John Cacioppo, a co-founder of the field of social neuroscience, she describes the love that bloomed between them as a source of new and expanded learning rather than a hindrance. She understood what love meant on a “cellular level” — something that had been missing from her work and life all along. And though John passed away in 2018, this love continues to inform her work.

Dr. Cacioppo currently works as an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral neuroscience at the University of Chicago, where she directs the Brain Dynamics Laboratory at the Pritzker School of Medicine. In her new book, Wired for Love: A Neuroscientist’s Journey Through Romance, Loss, and the Essence of Human Connection, Dr. Cacioppo focuses on the groundbreaking discoveries that she’s made when it comes to love, alongside her personal story of experiencing it.

Shondaland spoke with Dr. Cacioppo about the biochemistry of love, neuroplasticity, learning from falling in love, and the overlap of science and poetry.


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