This isn't necessarily news you can use, but it may prove that modern medical imaging techniques often reinforce the wisdom of the ages...
eScience News! reports on a study published in the Journal of Neurophysiology that was conducted in 15 heterosexual college-age students who'd experienced a seismic romantic bust-up within the past 63 days. Seismic? These folks reported spending 85% of their time thinking about the person who rejected them, said they remained "intensely in love" with the person, and fervently hoped for a reconciliation. The researchers were hoping for insight into why people in this condition are sometimes involved in stalking behavior, suicide, and homicide.
The study participants were examined using functional MRI (fMRI) to determine which parts of their brain became more active when they looked a pix of the beloved, played distracting math games, or looked at pictures of a benign roommate. Looking at pictures of the ex caused more stimulation in three areas of the brain: one area that controls motivation and reward has been linked to romantic love feelings in other studies, another that is associated with craving and addiction, and another area that operates under conditions of actual physical pain and suffering. This is how e!ScienceNews explains the findings:
The researchers note that their findings supply evidence that "the passion of 'romantic love' is a goal-oriented motivation state rather than a specific emotion" and that their results are "consistent with the hypothesis that romantic rejection is a specific form of addiction." Those who are coping with a romantic rejection may be fighting against a strong survival system that appears to be the basis of many addictions. The data help to explain why the beloved is so difficult to give up.
But, as your ancient relatives may have told you repeatedly, time wounds all heels and heals all wounds: As time went on and fMRIs were repeated, new areas of the brain came online in the same people when they looked at pix of the ex--brain areas that are usually associated with the appraisal and management of difficult emotional situations...uhhh...the return of common sense.