Categorising Love Reading Answers

A Neurologists tend to divide the experience of love into three distinct categories: attraction, lust, and attachment. The combination of all three can make for an intoxicating and lasting bond, but they have not always experienced together. Frequently, for example, we lust after those with whom we have no desire of having a long-term relationship; at other times, we feel ‘attached’ to people in the sense of being drawn to them emotionally or spiritually, but not drawn to them physically.

It is accurate to describe these as ‘stages’ of love — lust tends to come first, then attraction, which lasts for months or years, and finally attachment, which can keep people together for decades. These are separate chemical substrates, so they can overlap; however, evidence suggests that attraction has a limited lifespan.

B Lust is typically experienced soon after puberty. This is when estrogen and testosterone — the underlying chemical substrates for lust in women and men respectively — activate themselves in our bodies for the first time. The primary purpose of lust is believed to be procreation, and the experience is one of feeling physically drawn, or even ‘pulled’ towards another person. Pheromones, physical attractiveness, and our socialized predispositions for what we seek in a mate are the factors that activate the sensation of lust. Despite the strength, it can have over our psyche, lust on its own is a very fleeting experience. It can firmly steer people together for their initial encounters, but it has no power to keep them there.

C If the relationship is to last, something called attraction must take place. The attraction is the intoxicating sensation experienced in the initial period of knowing someone. The ‘symptoms’ include dizziness, flushed skin, and a loss of appetite and sleep. These are a result of a chemical cocktail of dopamine and norepinephrine that PEA — a transmitter chemical — unleashes into the bloodstream when attraction takes place.

Dopamine is responsible for the blissful feelings of self- confidence, joy, and motivation that new love brings about; norepinephrine, similar to adrenaline, brings about palpitations and anxiety. The attraction has more staying power than lust; while its intensity fades after a few weeks, the effect of the PEA transmission can continue for some time between eighteen months and four  years. After that, our bodies build up a natural tolerance.

D At this stage, a transition to a phase called attachment can occur. The ‘rush’ of attraction is replaced by endorphins like oxytocin and vasopressin that feel like a gentle, warm sort of pleasantness — a safe feeling that calms the mind, numbs pain, and soothes anxiety. This is a much more pleasant feeling in which to spend an extended period of time — potentially, forty, fifty or more years, depending on when you meet your partner.

It allows you to live your life with someone, without their being the central obsession of your life. Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that PEA transmission will evolve into the endorphin stage — in many instances, it will be replaced by a feeling of emptiness and dissatisfaction. It is not a coincidence that peak divorce rates occur at between four and seven years, as PEA transmission wears away and attachment does not materialize in many people’s brains.

E Even neurologists agree that chemistry isn’t everything. There are numerous other factors such as culture and personality, for which science may never have an explanation. While dopamine is bliss, however, ignorance is not — neurology has much to contribute to satisfaction in our personal lives. It may not be a good idea to commit to marriage or spending the rest of your life with someone if you still feel the blissful rush of PEA transmission, for example.

Once your brain has succumbed to the warming opiates of oxytocin and vasopressin, this will be a safer commitment. Attachment brings other needs to the foreground, however; while people enjoy the security that attachment brings about, they do not lose their desires for either lust or attraction. Losing the ability to give your partner the rush of PEA transmission, while knowing that he may feel this for other people, can bring about jealousy and anxiety in people. Acknowledging and discussing these insecurities can alleviate them as it is likely that, to some extent, both partners will be feeling them.

Questions 27-33

Choose NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS AND/OR A NUMBER from the passage for each answer.

LustAttractionAttachment
Designed to encourage 27 ……………..Two chemicals are released through a third one called PEA.Chemicals in the brain work to reduce physical and mental suffering, and calm 31 …………
Generated by natural scent, look and 28 ……………..29………….. is a feel-good chemical, norepinephrine, brings about elevated heart rate and nervousness.Separate chemical processes mean PEA transmission does not always progress to 32 …………….. There is a relationship between 33 ……………… and the failure of attachment to occur.
Has weak staying powerCan last for up to 30 ……………..

Questions 34-39

Do the following statements agree with the views of the writer in the Reading Passage ?

YES                    if the statement agrees with the views of the writer

NO                     if the statement contradicts the views of the writer

NOT GIVEN    if it is impossible to say what the writer thinks about this

34 We cannot explain all romantic decisions based on chemical processes.

35 Knowing about brain chemistry can actually harm our happiness.

36 Long-term relationship commitments should be made after attraction has faded.

37 Relationship insecurities fade away once the attachment phase begins.

38 Growing resistance to PEA transmission is experienced as mental anguish.

39 Talking about the effects of PEA resistance on a relationship can make anxiety worse.

Question 40

Choose the correct letter, A, B, C, or D.

40 Which is the most suitable title for the Reading Passage?

A The chemical progression of love

B Is it lust or is it love?

C How love fades over time

D Why nuptials and neurology don’t mix.

Answer Key

Question No.AnswerQuestion No.Answer
27.procreation34.Yes
28.socialized predisposition35.No
29.dopamine36.Yes
30.four /4 years37.No
31.anxiety/ the mind38.Not Given
32.endorphin stage39.No
33.divorce rates40.A
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