Summary
Thesis: Love tells us that we have a biology that allows us to be good to each other.
Stage Summary
*1-4. The first few paragraphs set us up with some of the topics to be discussed. Oxytocin, other brain chemicals and the fact that other mammals share some of the same neural and chemical pathways involved with love are listed. The importance of love is demonstrated with poetic description and then linked to biochemistry, and then leading to the thesis.
*5-9. After the intro we delve into Oxytocin as the main topic. With a brief explanation and some examples using animals we are shown the importance of Oxytocin on the bonding between a mother and child. Birth and breast feeding are specific examples shown to boost Oxytocin levels in the mother. The comparison of Oxytocin in females to Vasopressin in males is shown through Voles. Some differences between how the two sexes react to each leads us into our next topic.
*9-10. Vasopressin is looked at in relation to danger. Males respond to danger/stress in quite the opposite fashion compared to females. Males Vasopressin levels seem to increase while females Oxytocin levels seem to decrease. Linking this example to humans, we are shown how danger is an aphrodisiac to males and that the Vole behavior may hold clues to human sexuality.
*11-13. Endorphins are introduced as the brains morphine, and evidence found in talapoin monkeys suggests it's affect on bonding is crucial. Further studies on endorphins show that grief is actually the biochemical opposite of love, not hate as many believe. The study of close evolutionary relatives is likely to give insight to human emotion.
*14-16. The effect of love on the human body can be attributed to the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve is what allows our brains to control internal organs. A 'primitive' section of the vagus nerve controls basic impulses, like sex, hunger, and fear, while a 'new' section controls more complex aspects. The 'new' vagus nerve section controls physical signs of emotion, helping us show our emotional state, and also helping us read signals from other people.


  1. intro
  2. love is central to human existence, biochemistry
  3. Oxytocin, a lot of MAY
  4. Our biology allows us to feel love
  5. Mammalian offspring, motherhood
  6. Oxytocin guides behavior of the mother so she takes care of the child
  7. Oxytocin increases with breast feeding. Higher Oxytocin makes mothers more sensitive to others' feelings
  8. Vasopressin acts like Oxytocin for males.
  9. Exercise elevated levels of Vasopressin in male prairie voles, opposite of Oxytocin in females
  10. Danger has the same effect as exercise, stress hormone
  11. Endorphins play a role as well
  12. Normally endorphin-boosting activities were skipped when injected with morphine
  13. Opposite of love is grief, not hate. Endorphin theory based on results from 'close evolutionary relatives', not human testing
  14. Vagus nerve is pathway for information to the brain that controls internal organs
  15. Porges argues primitive Vagus controls organs, new Vagus controls the show of emotions and helps read others emotions
  16. Heart speaks the language of love


  • Take a few word notes for every paragraph
  • Identify connected paragraphs of unified thought
  • Write a one sentence summary for each unit of paragraphs
  • Write a thesis for the piece
  • Combine at top of the page, thesis and stage summaries(#3)
  • Revise summary

A basic explanation of a very complex topic. Facts that would support her thesis were omitted due to the audience that was being written to, making the paper a little wishy-washy, but still effective.