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Depth of Commitment
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Depth of Commitment

Credit: Shuman Charles
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_couple_on_coastline.jpg
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

This couple has been together for over forty years as husband and wife. They move a little more slowly and don’t have as much energy as they did when they were in their twenties. But there is a bond of shared experience and challenge that draws them even closer together than the day they were married.

Why It Matters

  • We use chemistry in our conversation every day. We just don’t call it “science” since we are not discussing molecules. But we might talk about an attraction two people have with one another – “They have great chemistry together.”
  • The brain also plays a role in the chemistry of attraction. When that certain person is around (or when you just think of them), certain neurochemicals are released in the brain. Some scientists will argue that these neurochemicals are responsible for the bonding that so quickly takes place between mother and newborn child.
  • Credit: Lars Plougmann
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/69650289/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Humans are genetically coded to find babies cute. This helps babies survive by triggering a desire to protect the baby in new mothers [Figure2]


  • However, chemistry and relationships are opposite in some respects. Many aspects of chemistry put the emphasis on the ability of materials to dissociate easily. A strong acid is one that readily dissociates into protons and a negative ion. Compounds which dissociate easily are known as strong electrolytes because the ions are now readily available for reactions.
  • Relationships, on the other hand, are assessed by the degree of dissociation, with a strong relationship showing the least amount of separation of the components (individuals) involved. A couple that is just dating are weakly associated with one another – the bonds between them are not that strong. A man and a woman who have been married for decades has a much stronger bond (and a much lower level of dissociation) because of the experiences they have shared that have drawn them closer together.
  • Watch a video dealing with strong and weak electrolytes at the link below:


What Do You Think?

Use the links below to learn more about. Then answer the following questions.

  1. How does proximity affect our attraction to someone else?
  2. What is reciprocal liking?
  3. How many molecules of water are dissociated at any one time?
  4. What kind of base is a compound with the structure Metal(OH)n?
  5. How would you classify methanol?

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Shuman Charles; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Old_couple_on_coastline.jpg; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: Lars Plougmann; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/criminalintent/69650289/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0


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