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NEUROENDOCRINOLOGY LETTERS
including Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuro
psychopharmacology,
Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology
and Human Ethology
ISSN 0172–780X


CONTENTS SPECIAL ISSUE
HUMAN ETHOLOGY & EVOLUTIONARY PSYCHOLOGY
Vol. 23, Suppl.4, December 2002

The Neural Mechanisms of Mate Choice:
A Hypothesis

The Neural Mechanisms of Mate Choice: A Hypothesis       [REFERENCES]

Helen Fisher, Arthur Aron, Debra Mashek, Haifang Li,
Greg Strong & Lucy L. Brown

Submitted: September 9, 2002
Accepted: September 15, 2002

Key words:
mate choice, attraction, proceptivity, dopamine, fMRI scanning, brain circuits

REVIEW ARTICLE
2002; 23(suppl 4) :92–-97
pii: NEL231002R09
PMID: 2496739

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ABSTRACT

Scientists have described many physical and behavioral traits in avian and mammalian species that evolved to attract mates. But the brain mechanisms by which conspecifics become attracted to these traits is unknown. This paper maintains that two aspects of mate choice evolved in tandem: 1) traits that evolved in the “display producer” to attract mates and, 2) corresponding neural mechanisms in the “display chooser” that enable them to become attracted to these display traits. Then it discusses our (in-progress) fMRI brain scanning project on human romantic attraction, what we believe is a developed form of “courtship attraction” common to avian and mammalian species as well as the primary neural mechanism underlying avian and mammalian mate choice. The paper hypothesizes that courtship attraction is associated with elevated levels of central dopamine and norepinephrine and decreased levels of central serotonin in reward pathways of the brain. It also proposes that courtship attraction is part of a triune brain system for mating, reproduction and parenting.

1) The sex drive evolved to motivate birds and mammals to court any conspecifics.

2) The attraction system evolved to enable individuals to discriminate among potential mating partners and focus courtship activities on particular individuals, thereby conserving mating time and energy.

3) The neural circuitry for attachment evolved to enable individuals to complete species-specific parental duties.

 

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15 Ibid, p. 149.

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NEUROENDOCRINOLOGY LETTERS
including Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuro
psychopharmacology,
Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology
and Human Ethology
ISSN 0172–780X


A peer-reviewed transdisciplinary Journal covering Neuroendocrinology, Psychoneuroimmunology, Neuropsychopharmacology, Reproductive Medicine, Chronobiology and Human Ethology for RAPID publication of Original Papers, Review Articles, State-of-the-Art, Clinical Reports, Meta-Analyses and other contributions from all the fields covered by Neuroendocrinology Letters. E-mail: info@nel.edu

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