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What exactly is love, and how do we measure it? According to Barbara Fredrickson, psychology professor and author of Love 2.0, we experience loving moments during ordinary everyday interactions, whether we're sharing a laugh with a cashier at the supermarket or celebrating a shared triumph with coworkers.
"First and foremost, love is an emotion," says Fredrickson, "a momentary state that arises to infuse your body and mind alike. An ever-shifting force, it expands your awareness of your surroundings—even your sense of self—and you see fewer distinctions between yourself and others."
In the following video clip from her 2014 Networker Symposium keynote address, "What If Everything You Know About Love is Wrong?" Fredrickson makes the case for expanding our limited definition of love.
Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Lab at the University of North Carolina. She’s the author of Love 2.0 and Positivity.
"Love is far more ubiquitous than you ever thought possible for the simple fact that love is connection," Fredrickson says. "Within these moments of interpersonal connection that are characterized by this amplifying symphony—of shared positive emotions, biobehavioral synchrony, and mutual care—life-giving positivity resonates between and among people. Love can even give you a palpable sense of oneness and connection, a transcendence that makes you feel part of something far larger than yourself."
Did you enjoy this video? You might also enjoy Fredrickson's article, What Is This Thing Called Love?, where she explains what allows love to flourish, or our issue Speaking of Sex: Why Is It Still So Difficult?, featuring reflections from Susan Johnson, Esther Perel, Michele Weiner-Davis, and more!
Topic: Attachment Theory