The secret to everlasting love?

Devoted prairie voles

Prairie voles usually form lifelong monogamous pair-bonds. After mating once, the male prairie vole not only prefers the company of his mate, but will act aggressively towards other available females. His female partner displays a similar commitment, showing hostility towards other interested male voles.

This bond comes about as a result of activation of particular dopamine receptors. Manipulation of these receptors can alter the bonding behaviour of voles – for example, blocking of one type of receptor results in previously devoted males going off and playing the field.

The answer to one of life’s most pressing questions – how to make a lover commit? – may therefore come down to correctly triggering their dopamine receptors.

“It’s not my fault, darling, my dopamine led me astray…”