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In recent years, the sciences of psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, and biology have added to the understanding the concept of love.
Helen Fisher, a leading expert in the topic of love, divides the experience of love into three partly overlapping stages: lust, attraction, and attachment.
Love encompasses a variety of different emotional and mental states, typically strongly and positively experienced, ranging from the deepest interpersonal affection to the simplest pleasure.
An example of this range of meanings is that the love of a mother differs from the love of a spouse differs from the love of food.
Most commonly, love refers to a feeling of strong attraction and personal attachment.
Love often involves caring for, or identifying with, a person or thing (cf.
Lust is the feeling of sexual desire; romantic attraction determines what partners mates find attractive and pursue, conserving time and energy by choosing; and attachment involves sharing a home, parental duties, mutual defense, and in humans involves feelings of safety and security.
Lust is the initial passionate sexual desire that promotes mating, and involves the increased release of chemicals such as testosterone and estrogen.
The complex and abstract nature of love often reduces discourse of love to a thought-terminating cliché.
Several common proverbs regard love, from Virgil's "Love conquers all" to The Beatles' "All You Need Is Love". Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle, defines love as "to will the good of another." People can be said to love an object, principle, or goal to which they are deeply committed and greatly value.
Since the lust and attraction stages are both considered temporary, a third stage is needed to account for long-term relationships.