Last summer, I was invited out to the beautiful alpine lake town of Montreaux (directly opposite the iconic mountains of Evian bottle fame, incidentally) to provide a little brain-informed date training. Having a neuroscientist provide inspiration to a girl trying to get ahead in the love game may sound a bit odd, but at the end of the day it is the brain after all that produces the experience of love in the first place. Understanding the prevailing conditions in which a brain is likely to fall into the state of being in love can provide some easy-to-follow rules of thumb that help to boost a person’s confidence – one of the most powerful tools in romance.
Cosmetic psychopharmacology, cognitive enhancement or simply smart drugs, call it what you will, the use of pharmaceutical agents like methylphenidate (Ritalin) and modafinil (Provigil) for performance enhancement and sleep avoidance is rife. Throughout big business, software development, academia, poker tournaments and – according to a recent academic paper – even the medical establishment itself, many healthy individuals are opting to optimise brain function with drugs specifically intended for the treatment of illnesses, simply to keep up with the breakneck pace of life in the 21st century.