Down underground, in the basement of UCSB’s psychology building, behind two locked doors and another emblazoned with red hazard signs, a man lies in a pitch-black room, his skull in a scanner. Behind a window, lab techs stare silently at black-and-white renderings of his gray matter.
If this clinical scene doesn’t make your heart flutter, your face flush, and your guts flip-flop with jumpy juice, then you’re clearly not a scientist at the university’s Brain Imaging Center.
But Bianca Acevedo is. She’s a postdoctoral research fellow (am I the only one who enjoys calling women fellows?) who studies the neuroscience of love. “It’s a relatively new field, but it’s flourishing quickly,” said Acevedo, who spends her days translating lofty romantic notions into precise scientific terms. Working with the campus’s “Close Relationships Lab,” she uses a “Passionate Love Scale” to evaluate the “neural correlates of long-term pair-bonding.”
All of which would be funny if it weren’t just a little bit creepy.