Summary: Dr. Epstein does not believe in love at first sight, or "the ONE" or anything of that sort. Instead he claims that humans cannot expect love to hit them suddenly and must learn to fall in love. So basically he signed a contract with this random woman saying that they would try for the next 4 months (though according to Helen Fisher's book it was 6-12 months) to fall in love with each other.
For those who don't know, I'm currently reading Helen Fisher's book:
I'm writing a book report on it for a random scholarship I found. Good book though, lots of interesting things in it, though a bit too much psychology and not enough raw biological science. Still does the job of explaining Love quite nicely.
In the book Fisher talks about Dr. Epstein's project, she mentioned it in passing without really expanding on the subject, so I decided to google it.
Dr. Epstein is quite a lot more keen on the molecular of Love than Fisher is. See Fisher took the evolutionary approach to Love, she did mention about hormone levels and did some MRIs of the brain in Love as well. But This Dr. Epstein seems to believe that love is based solely off hormone level and how the brain functions.
I find myself more in agreement with Fisher's evolutionary approach; it makes sense and allows for human love to adapt to changing environments. Dr. Epstein's belief that love can only be learned seems to go against the point of the falling in love in the first place. Fisher made it clear that love at first sight was quite possible; given the correction conditions. Human beings have evolved to be able to tell a lot about a person's personality on a first glance. First impressions say a lot, and though admittedly they aren't always true, they can be startling close to the truth.
Now Fisher seemed to rank Love into 2 categories, lust and attachment. Lust is that growing passion at the start of relationships while attachment is what follows (probably into marriage). I've then found that lust seems to come about due to instinctive nature while attachment is nurtured. For example there might be someone you feel very attracted to even though your personalities are in clear conflict; that's lust. Then there's the someone you get along with perfectly but you don't generally think of them with any want; that would be attachment. Now of course the two intertwine no doubt, but let's just leave the definitions at that for now.
Dr. Epstein's project seems to be more about falling into attachment rather than in lust. Of course if he can learn to love this random woman for all her characteristics then good for him, but can they truly have that burning passion and desire for each other if they don't genuinely feel that way to begin with? I feel like he is trying to prove not that you can force yourself in love, but that attachment can proceed lust in a relationship.
How did it end? Well I did more research: http://www.wayneandtamara.com/drrobertepstein.htm
Basically she bailed on him. She had 'second thoughts' about the project and decided to not sign the Love contract.
Actually read a bit more; it seems out of all the women who had applied to be the test subject for Dr. Epstein's project, he had rejected them all! Why does this seem like he was just using his job as an excuse to find an easy girl?
Also, the previously thought random woman was not so random, apparently he was 'smitten' by her after meeting which clearly indicates to me a passion before the attachment.
This brings me back to the reason I feel psychology should not be classified a science (note this blog entry has no sciencey label!), the experiments in this field of study are much too personal and subjective. Science should be only about sure known facts and not based on speculations that cannot be tested without bias.