UCL News


Stupid cupid

12 August 2004

A new television series, exploring the neurobiology of love, attraction and compatibility, begins on 16 August 2004.

Dr Mark Lythgoe Is This The One? is presented by Dr Mark Lythgoe, Lecturer in Radiology & Physics at UCL's Institute of Child Health.

The series charts the lives of eight diverse couples, ranging from Joe and Penny, who is 22 years older than her husband, Tamsin and Matthew, who are preparing for the arrival of their first baby, and Lizzie and Angie, Britain's first lesbian married couple. Over eight months, each couple undertakes three tests which seek to measure the longevity of their love.

Dr Lythgoe said: "This programme delves into many areas of science, such as biochemistry, neuroscience and genetics, to see if there really is a formula for true love. Measuring compatibility through science allowed the couples involved to discuss difficult issues, such as parenting, monogamy and attitudes to money in a candid, light-hearted way." The tests, which ranged from observational to behavioural, seek to throw light on the three stages of love, beginning with lust, leading to attraction and lasting to attachment.

The areas of the brain which light up when in love

The couples experienced a wide range of tests including empathic accuracy, which determined how couples reach a compromise, brain scans which observe brain patterns when a person is in love, and a body symmetry test, which gauged compatibility on the basis of similarity of body types. Is This The One? begins on 16 August 2004 on BBC3 at 8pm and continues until 26 August 2004.

Images: Top - Dr Mark Lythgoe. Bottom - The areas of the brain that light up when in love.

To find out more about Dr Lythgoe or the science of love, use the links below.

Dr Mark Lythgoe

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