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Possible Insight Into Marriages Revealed by Brain Scan Study

An article from NewYorkTimes.com looked at the recently announced break up of Al and Tipper Gore and wondered why there were little to no warning signs of divorce preceding it.  They come to the conclusion that it can be difficult or impossible for outsiders to see problems in a relationship, even one as high-profile as the Gores.

They cite a study done by researchers at the University of California at Berkley years ago, where a number of subjects ranging from marriage counselors to pastors to relationship scientists were shown video clips of couples talking or arguing.  The subjects were asked to guess which relationships were doomed and which would last.  They were wrong as often as they were right.

A more recent study by a researcher at the the University of California, Santa Barbara used brain scans to see if there what, if any, differences could be found in the brain patterns of people who recently fell in love versus people who were part of a long term marriage like the Gores.  While both sets of couples showed a high level of activity in areas of the brain associated with passion and romantic love, the older couples also activated parts of the brain linked to deep attachment when shown a picture of their long-time spouse.

When presented with these results, marriage experts recommend renewing your commitment to your spouse and try experiencing new things together.  Sometimes though, as in the case of Al and Tipper, two people simply grow apart and decide it's in the best interest of both people to go their separate ways.

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