The Love Competition

2012, Society  -   42 Comments
Ratings: 7.00/10 from 5 users.

The Love CompetitionThe Love Competition is an unusual hybrid of a short documentary film and scientific study.

Brent Hoff, a filmmaker and editor, teamed up with Stanford University's Center for Cognitive and Neurobiological Imaging to investigate the neurochemical nature of love, with a competitive twist.

The beauty of the film, and the study, lies in how sincerely the research subjects tackle the task at hand. They share the stories of their greatest loves in amazingly heartfelt on-camera interviews.

From a 10-year-old kid to a couple that has been happily married for over 50 years, everyone describes love (or lack of it) differently.

For some, their time in the fMRI scanner has a transformative effect. In the end, of course, it isn't really about winning anyway.

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42 Comments / User Reviews

  1. ben

    Doesnt seem to comply with occam's razor! Love cannot be synonymous with a regular unencumbered positive approach to the world; it is an aberration, an out of the ordinary surge. The two winners are positive people. The premise of Dr. Melinda apparently was wrong; Love is not to be measured at the nucleus accumbens.

  2. Manu Hashidate

    Magnetic Resonance Imaging, or MRI scans actually expose the subject to the equivalent of more than 5000 dental X-rays. Dat's bad!

    These kind, ill-informed folk must have been remunerated generously for this faux 'Unbearable Lightness of Being'

    1. Nagi El Sabbagh

      I hate to correct you but the MRI actually exposes the patient to ZERO rads.. it is a technique based on protons floating in a magnetic field. no radiation is emitted or detected. it is the spin of the proton that is reflected into an image. please refrain from posting nonsense non scientific statements.

  3. Jo McKay

    love like a young boys joy for a brand new cousin, and with the wisdom and stability of an older man's gratitude for all of his life... I think that says a lot.

  4. Gordon Johnson

    Very interesting. I would like to see a comparative graph of all of the participants. I was a little disappointed that they didn't show the actual scans/results. For example, was the young boy's scan similar or different to the 75 year-old gentleman? Were the men's scans similar or different than the females'? Age differences? I was surprised that the young adult subjects didn't win hands-down, the passion of early-life love being so intense. Perhaps the young gentleman was correct when he pointed out that he had maybe exhausted his chemical energy for his former lover.

  5. noconman

    You cannot truely love yourself, without the help of others. To love others, is the only way to truely love yourself.

    1. Guest

      Although i can agree with what you say here, i still end up twisting it differently for me.
      I think we can love ourself the most when we are alone but it is in contact with others that we come to test and improve that love.

  6. Guest

    love is above all, to look at someone and say: "I love me through you" and to know that for that lover the feeling is equal.
    A lover is a mirror who reflects all that is you, for you to love.

    1. noconman

      I have seen your comments on other docs, as well as this one. I am impressed by your depth and insight. I am an old man who admires such wise words. We are all students of life, however, you seem to have actually listened in class. Impressive.

  7. Robyn318

    Not bragging, just very fortunate to have someone that loves me as much as I love her, and I know it.

    1. dewflirt

      I've had my man for 15 years, I love him more now than ever, also never had a single fight in all that time. Not even the usual stuff has caused us to argue, kids, work, money, even when we had to raid the supermarket bins to feed the kids it felt like fun. It's all fun as long as we do it together :)

    2. Robyn318

      We’ve had our moments. We both brought a lot of baggage to the relationship; but somehow or for some reason, we always knew there was an unusual bond between us. Out side of the first couple years where two individuals grate each other, smoothing the rough edges until there is a comfortable fit, we really don’t argue either. In 26 years we’ve had 2 major issues, both about boundaries, and during those times nothing really changed except we didn’t talk to each other until one day we looked at each other and just started laughing about how stupid we were both being.

    3. dewflirt

      It's the laughing that makes it work. I get what your saying about that first few years, the bit between the honeymoon and the got it sorted bit. Even that's fun in its own way though :)

    4. Robyn318

      It was fun, often it wasn’t funny then, but now that we’ve survived the ‘relationship initiation period’, we can look back and see the humor in who we were being at the time. We both came from really bad first marriages where we both felt we got the sh*tty end of the stick. So for both of us, the foremost requirement for a relationship is trust; without that there is nothing to build on and under no circumstances do we ever violate it. I think that is the glue that really makes it work.

  8. wcb123

    I dont think love is as many perceive it. Its a reaction of our desire to continue living, which we can't, so its simply a form of natural selection to procreate. Nothing more.

    1. dewflirt

      Still, a wonderful reaction to our desire to continue living :)

    2. lakhotason

      Then why would a man fall in love with a woman who he knows is unable to bear children?

    3. dewflirt

      Maybe wbc123 thinks men don't love like women do.

    4. Robyn318

      I did a seminar on love back in the 90's and came away with the concept that love is accepting somebody for who they are and who they are not.

  9. Richard Raymond

    "Let me be who I am". That is the most profound statement I got from this video. If that doesn't happen, love doesn't happen. Too many of us want to change the other person to suit our own needs and wants.

    1. Mad

      Agreed Richard, that is in fact the basis of all voluntary relationships.

  10. Šar?nas .

    Love is interesting thing... I was never in a relationship but some time ago felt in love with a one girl. My love was so intense for her, I allways dreamt about her, danced from joy. That was beautiful, intense experience. Although we never met and she didn't like me at all. And now, one even more beautiful girl payed atention to me (first time in my life),we met and had a great time together but strangly, I can't feel the same intense feeling for her. I rememmber her often, I wish to meet her again but there isn't the same desperation as it was with my "first love". I can't understand that. Maybe I'm afraid to love not to waste my feelings in vain like at first time? Or maybe simply she isn't for me?

  11. William Hart

    did anyone get the girl who metal detected her bra in front of the guy then rub his leg when leaving the room?......thats why he won!! haha

  12. Robyn318

    I can believe the 75 year old man won, he talked about how madly in love they were when they first met. His wife talked about how blessed her life was. Love is an affectionate feeling toward someone or something external to yourself, he was experiencing that. His wife was expressing appreciation about her own experiences, not something external to herself like how much she loved him.

    Another reason I am not surprised a male came in first is that males are evolutionarily wired to have intense feelings for a (potential) mate, enough to fight off rivals if necessary. And males are wired to have these intense feelings for short bursts, to allow for insemination, then he loses that intensity to look for another female, where the process recycles itself.

    Females are nest builders instinctively; their affection is divided among children (most intensely), their nest and mate. That seems to be what she was implying when she said she thought about how ‘blessed’ she was, no major tragedies to her mate, nest or children.

    I am surprised that the boy came in second; maybe it is the wired thing, even though he never experienced ‘crush love’.

    1. dewflirt

      Hey Robyn318, I think you undid your own argument there, if a man has only temporary love for a mate, surely he would feel less love than his women does? 50 years is not a short burst and he doesn't appear to love the lady any less now. As for evolution, maybe men scatter their seed to the four winds because they have to. It might be better for the species if the female puts it about a bit, lots of young by different men. What if their genes mix badly and they end up with a bunch of weak offspring? Safer to not carry all your eggs in one basket, improve the chances of getting strong offspring. That could be why men have to fight to keep their lovers ;)

    2. Robyn318

      I don’t see how I undid my own argument. Im not saying he has only temporary love for a mate, Im saying man seems to be genetically wired both physically and emotionally to be more intense than a female. Ive been married to the same woman for about 26 years and still I get that butterfly in the stomach feeling 2, 3 sometimes 4 times a year when I think about her. I ‘fall in love’ with her again each time I have these sensations; she on the other hand thinks Im nuts when I tell each time it happens to me. She use to give me these strange looks, now she just smiles, sometimes acknowledges verbally, sometimes not. Look at the mans face when he is describing his feelings before he entered the MRI and look at the womans face when she describes her experience after it. There seems to be two different emotional references here, not because of the before and after, but because of the intensity of each recollection.

    3. dewflirt

      Ok, I'll buy that. I thought you were saying that the feelings were bright and brief which I guess you are in a way, falling in love with your lady again and again would be intense, like new love. I love that you get butterflies. :)

    4. Robyn318

      They last a day or two. Sometimes I tease her that she is a witch and cast a spell on me. In truth I wouldn’t want it any other way.

    5. dewflirt

      Not a witch, just a delicious lady! :)

    6. Robyn318

      Served with a black dress, a manicure and an evening of dancing!

    7. dewflirt

      Ha ha, now your bragging! If my man still fits into his little black dress in 10 years time I might brag too :)

  13. Paul

    This is very sweet, with lovely people. I can't believe the "winner" is 75! But the concept of measuring seems silly, really. What are the baseline levels? What are the increases? Is what they're measuring even remotely related to what they think they're measuring? I love the idea of brain scans being meaningful, but I don't think they are.

    1. Robert Eder

      Spend a wee bit of time looking into the subject.... I think you will be frankly amazed at some of the things we are discovering about our own living brains using fMRI scans.
      I was blown away by how far our knowledge of neuroscience has progressed in so short a span of time. =) Bet you will be,too !

  14. Guest

    Interesting! The most accomplished in relationship wins followed by the least accomplished. It may be that between "have succeeded and willing to succeed" is a time of great turmoil.

    1. dewflirt

      I think you got it Az :)

    2. Guest

      How come his wife didn't come as second?

    3. dewflirt

      Either its because they are perfectly unbalanced like the universe or, she was enjoying five minutes peace while she could :)
      He seemed calmer, maybe he focused better. She looked quite emotional, all overwrought and tearfully in love. If she cried she probably wobbled her head and messed up the scan otherwise she would have beaten him hands down!

    4. Guest

      What about the young girl who's never been in love but loves herself to the core? Too much vibration there too?

    5. dewflirt

      She is too full with love in waiting and happily loving everything in the meantime :)

  15. dewflirt

    If this doesn't leave you smiling nothing will :)

    1. hypnoshado

      Sighh... Then I am forever alone

    2. dewflirt

      Lips that taste like tears, lose their taste for kisses :)