Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: January 26, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412964517 | Print ISBN: 9781412909167 | Online ISBN: 9781412964517| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Romance and Relationships
Romantic relationships play an integral role in people's lives, serving as both a source of and a remedy for stress. For this reason, social scientists traditionally view love as a cognitive and social phenomenon, focusing on how we interpret our relationships with other people. This entry provides a social science perspective on love and romance, focusing on three main questions: (1) Why do people fall in love? (2) Why do we stay in relationships? (3) How do men and women differ in their approaches to relationships? Researchers in the biological sciences tend to focus on the physiological processes associated with falling in love. This work suggests that feelings of romantic attraction are associated with a number of neurotrans-mitters, including dopamine and serotonin, which act on the brain's “pleasure” centers. These chemicals facilitate romantic relationships by rewarding contact with that special someone. However, the sustained release of these chemicals typically drops ...