Researchers in London scanned the brains of 17 subjects as they viewed photos of people they detested — co-workers, ex-lovers, and one “very famous politician.” Their findings told them a lot about the neural dynamics of hate as well as its more fondly regarded opposite.
According to lead researcher Semi Zeki, the pictures activated a pair of brain areas that are also associated with maternal and romantic love. But Zeki did find some important differences: The hate network failed to trigger the brain’s reward system — which flares up wildly when we love. And hate pushed the judging-and-planning center of the brain — the frontal cortex — into high gear, while the chemical rush we call love shut most of it down. Love really is blind, it seems — but hate looks on, and plans, with ruthless clarity.
This post is from Observer Short List—an email of three favorite things from people you want to know. Sign up to receive OSL here.