A love vaccine seems simpler and more practical, and already there are some drugs that seem to inhibit people’s romantic impulses. Such a vaccine has already been demonstrated in prairie voles.
“If we give an oxytocin blocker to female voles, they become like 95 percent of other mammal species,” Dr. Young said. “They will not bond no matter how many times they mate with a male or hard how he tries to bond. They mate, it feels really good and they move on if another male comes along. If love is similarly biochemically based, you should in theory be able to suppress it in a similar way.”
I doubt many people would want to permanently suppress love, but a temporary vaccine could come in handy. Spouses going through midlife crises would not be so quick to elope with their personal trainers; elderly widowers might consult their lawyers before marrying someone resembling Anna Nicole Smith. Love is indeed a many-splendored thing, but sometimes we all need to tie ourselves to the mast.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
In the NY Times, John Tierney speculates that new findings about the role of oxytocin in forming long-term attachments could be used to create a vaccine against falling in love: