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The love competition

15 minutes

Contestants have five minutes in an fMRI to love someone ‘as hard as they can’

Can you look inside the living brain and tell what someone is feeling? For the first time in history we have fMRI – a technology that promises to show the neurochemical traces of joy, rage, love and hate, as they cascade through the brain. Filmmaker Brent Hoff enlisted the Stanford Center for Cognitive Neurobiological Imaging to hold the world’s first ever ‘love competition’. Seven contestants had five minutes in an fMRI machine to love someone ‘as hard as they can’. The idea that love can be measured may seem deeply unromantic: the results were anything but.

Director: Brent Hoff

Producer: Malcolm Pullinger

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Essay/
Neuroscience
The theory of mind myth

Even experts can’t predict violence or suicide. Surely we’re kidding ourselves that we can see inside the minds of others

Robert Burton

Essay/
Social Psychology
In extremis

As Hannah Arendt argued, there is one common thread which connects individuals drawn to all kinds of extremist ideologies

Nabeelah Jaffer