Below is a repeat of last year's Valentine's day post. First there are a couple of new links:
The first one is Kisses unleash chemicals that ease stress levels. The following quote gives you an idea of what it is all about: "Kissing, it turns out, unleashes chemicals that ease stress hormones in both sexes and encourage bonding in men, though not so much in women." I guess economists call this "interdependent utility functions." Meaning that what brings one person pleasure brings brings the other person pleasure, and vice-versa.
The other is Cocoa Prices Create Chocolate Dilemma. The article opens with "Soaring cocoa prices are creating a Valentine's Day dilemma for chocolate makers. They don't want to raise retail prices when recession-weary consumers are trying to limit their spending." The problem is crop diseases in Ivory Coast and Ghana. You might need to be a WSJ subscriber to read the whole article.
Now the economic definition of romantic love.
Abstract: "Romantic love is characterized by a preoccupation with a deliberately restricted set of perceived characteristics in the love object which are viewed as means to some ideal ends. In the process of selecting the set of perceived characteristics and the process of determining the ideal ends, there is also a systematic failure to assess the accuracy of the perceived characteristics and the feasibility of achieving the ideal ends given the selected set of means and other pre-existing ends.
The study of romantic love can provide insight into the general process of introducing novelty into a system of interacting variables. Novelty, however, is functional only in an open system characterized by uncertainty where the variables have not all been functionally looped and system slacks are readily available to accommodate new things. In a closed system where all the objective functions and variables must be compatible to achieve stability and viability, adjustments in the value of some variables through romantic idealization may be dysfunctional if they represent merely residual responses to the creative combination of the variables in the open sub-system."
The author was K. K. Fung of the Department of Economics, Memphis State University, Memphis. It was from a journal article in 1979. More info on it is at this link. The entire article, which is not too long, can be found at this link. I originally became aware of this back in the early 1980s when another student at the University of Chicago showed it to me. It was in a magazine. The student was David Brooks, who now writes for the New York Times.
More recent research backs this up. Read Love really is blind, U.S. study finds. Here is an exerpt:
"Love really is blind, at least when it comes to looking at others, U.S. researchers reported on Tuesday.
College students who reported they were in love were less likely to take careful notice of other attractive men or women, the team at the University of California Los Angeles and dating Web site eHarmony found.
"Feeling love for your romantic partner appears to make everybody else less attractive, and the emotion appears to work in very specific ways in enabling you to push thoughts of that tempting other out of your mind," said Gian Gonzaga of eHarmony, whose study is published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.
"It's almost like love puts blinders on people," added Martie Haselton, an associate professor of psychology and communication studies at UCLA."