On Valentine's Day, Learn 'What's Love Got to Do With It?'

On Valentine's Day, Learn 'What's Love Got to Do With It?'

By Amanda BallardUniversity Relations - Communications
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What is the chemistry behind the emotion that leaves us weak in the knees?
What is the chemistry behind the emotion that leaves us weak in the knees?
"What's Love Got to Do With It?," featuring Paula Fan and David Sbarra, is part of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry's monthly Creative Collaborations program.
"What's Love Got to Do With It?," featuring Paula Fan and David Sbarra, is part of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry's monthly Creative Collaborations program.

It's a four-letter word that has inspired countless songs, poems, films and indulgent romance novels.

Love is alive and well in our culture, and no one is exempt. Yet what is the chemistry behind this emotion that leaves us weak in the knees?

Grab your sweetheart and learn about the science and psychology behind Cupid's arrow on Saturday during a conversation focused on "What's Love Got to Do With It?" The Valentine's Day event is part of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry's monthly Creative Collaborations program, which explores different themes through music and discussion.

During the event, held from 11 a.m. to noon on the first floor of main UA BookStore in the Student Union Memorial Center, associate professor of psychology David Sbarra will discuss the science of love.

Sbarra will be joined by pianist Paula Fan, Regents' Professor Emerita and a senior fellow of the Confluencenter for Creative Inquiry, who will perform songs related to – what else? – romance.

In honor of Valentine's Day, Lo Que Pasa spoke with Sbarra and Fan to learn more about the event and why it's so hard to escape this crazy little thing called love.

Why explore love as the topic of this Creative Collaborations event?

Sbarra: There's so much here to study, and relationships play a central role in human health and well-being. I got interested in this work as an undergraduate. I found a research opportunity in a lab that studied adult attachment, investigating the question of what it means for two people to be attached to one another. I find questions in relationship science endlessly fascinating.

Fan: My somewhat warped sense of humor, coupled with the sense of inquiry that defines the Confluencenter, prompted me to approach Dr. David Sbarra, who does a lot of research on divorce. Dr. Sbarra will shed light on this thing called love from the psychological standpoint. ... We are shedding light on what it means to be human. The performing and creative arts are an expression of humanity; the social and behavioral sciences explore the motivation behind works of art.

What are the "four seasons" of a relationship?

Sbarra: Attraction, or what draws us together; falling in love, or what cements us together in a love relationship; maintaining, or what keeps us together in a relationship; and finally transitions, or how we manage the end of a relationship. A rich and vibrant body of science surrounds all of these themes.

What is the relationship between love and music?

Fan: Everyone can think of a love song, celebrating the things that attract the one who is in love, both in the case of the successful conquest and the unsuccessful. Everyone can think of a breakup song, lamenting the end of love. These songs date to the beginnings of lyric poetry and are written every day in every style.

What can people expect during the Valentine's Day event, "What's Love Got to Do With It?"

Sbarra: For my part, I'll talk about the social science on each of these broad topics and discuss some of the more exciting research studies in the field. All the while, we'll interweave the music, which will provide an experiential sense of how artists understand and communicate these concepts in song.

Fan: I am presenting classical song in a variety of styles spanning three centuries, accompanying two incredibly talented singers, Seth Kershisnik and Mackenzie Romriell. From the classical poetry of "Chanson d'amour" (Song of Love) by Fauré to "The Last Lousy Moments of Love" by Bolcom and Weinstein, we will attempt to explore and define the subject in song, starting with Cecil Dougherty's "Love in the Dictionary."


"What's Love Got to Do With It?" will take place Saturday, 11 a.m.-noon, on the first floor of the main UA BookStore in the Student Union Memorial Center, 1209 E. University Blvd. The event is free and open to the public, and free parking is available in the Second Street Garage at Mountain Avenue and Second Street.

For more information, visit confluencenter.arizona.edu.

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