I don’t know about you, but I just love TED talks.
What can be better than hearing an engaging, informative, and sometimes profoundly moving talk in less than 20 minutes by some of the world’s most prominent thought leaders?
TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, was founded in 1984 as a one-off conference and has grown as an annual event with the slogan ideas worth spreading.
There are now over 1,500 talks that are available free to view online and as of November 2012, TED talks have been viewed more than a billion times.
So I recently went trawling through the TED archives to find the best TED talks on love. Here are my top 10…
1. Stefana Broadbent: How the Internet Enables Intimacy
While I’ve written about how the internet can have a disturbing effect on your relationships, Stefana Broadbent’s research has shown that the internet and communication technology has the capacity to bring us closer together, through the expression of love across geographical distances.
Stefana is fascinated by how the digital revolution effects love and our relationships. With the future indicating that technology and the internet are here to stay, this is an important discussion about how we navigate love in the digital age.
2. Esther Perel: The Secret to Desire in a Long-Term Relationship
This has to be one of my favourite talks on sexual desire and eroticism in long-term relationships.
I shared this video when it was first launched as I love the way Esther Perel so succinctly captures the inherent dilemmas in being in a long-term relationship while trying to sustain erotic desire.
If you only watch one TED talk, this has to be the one.
3. Helen Fisher: The Brain in Love
Helen Fisher and her research team completed some fascinating and illuminating research that involved putting two groups of people into a MRI and scanning their brains.
The interesting part was the people in one group were in love, and the people in the other group had just been dumped. Watch to learn about these interesting findings.
Helen is the author of Anatomy of Love: A Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray and is fascinated by the evolution of human emotions.
4. Helen Fisher: Why We Love, Why We Cheat
It was hard not to feature Helen in this list twice with her groundbreaking research in the fields of gender differences and the evolution of human emotions.
In this talk, Helen speaks about the evolution of love, what romantic love is and what happens when you fall in love.
5. Jenna McCarthy: What you Don’t Know About Marriage
In this talk, Jenna McCarthy takes a humorous look at marriage- what works and what doesn’t work.
While there are some tongue-in-cheek moments, she does share some surprising research on what we can learn from those that have been able to find and sustain long-term relationships.
6. Mary Roach: 10 Things you Didn’t Know About Orgasm
While this is not directly about love, it’s certainly related.
Mary Roach is the author of Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex and presents a humorous take on the history of orgasm throughout the ages.
She shares 10 surprising facts about the phenomena of climax, ranging from the obscure to the funny.
7. Andrew Solomon: Love No Matter What
This is a moving talk where Andrew Solomon shares his insights gleaned from parents about their children.
He asks parents about the difference between unconditional love and unconditional acceptance.
Through weaving in touching vignettes, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to raise a child that’s fundamentally different from yourself.
8. Hannah Brencher: Love Letters to Strangers
Hannah Brencher’s mother used to write her letters, so when Hannah fell into a depression, she started leaving love letters for strangers to find all over New York City.
This started a remarkable worldwide movement The World Needs More Love Letters, which has a community over 20,000 passionate people that leave love letters for strangers in their communities as well as mail letters to those in need.
9. Amy Webb: How I Hacked Online Dating
Amy Webb loves statistics.
So much so that she worked out statistical equations to find a lover in her city of Philadelphia.
In this funny and touching talk, Amy shares how her research of online dating profiles helped her create a ‘super profile’ that helped her find her future husband.
10. Laura Trice: Remember to Say Thank You
This last talk on my list is only 3 minutes long, but conveys an important message.
Dr Laura Trice speaks about how two simple words can make profound changes to relationships.
These two words can help you repair relationships, deepen friendships and share with another person what they mean to.