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Why Is the Heart Symbol so Anatomically Incorrect?

Stashed in: Heart, Valentine's Day, Interesting, Freakonomics, Emojis!

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By the 19th century, (♥) had long been established as the go-to representation of the human heart, as well as the reigning symbol of love.

In 1977, New York City ran its “I ♥ NY” advertising campaign, marking the first instance of the symbol being used as a logograph for the verb "to love." Thereafter, it became not only a representation of love, but a direct replacement for the word: “I ♥ [X]” morphed into the de facto way that people expressed their feelings for one another in Valentine’s Day cards, love letters, and (later down the line) text messages.

Interestingly, after being enlisted as a emoticon for “remaining lives” in the video game The Legend of Zelda (1986), the heart symbol also came to denote health. Dozens of video games copied Zelda, but moreover, health-food companies, and even the American Heart Association, enlisted the symbol as an ideogram for well-being throughout the 1990s. 

Today, the symbol is everywhere: We scrawl it on notepads and secretly pass it in middle school classrooms. We text it with reckless abandon. We wear it on shirts, print it on cards, and stick it to the bumpers of our cars.

This once-earnest attempt at drawing an accurate heart has long-since been proven anatomically incorrect. We know now that the heart is a complex mass that is neither cute nor emanates feelings of love -- but nonetheless, "♥" has become a fixture in our lives.

It's pretty obviously entrenched atrium privilege writing the ventricles out of the story. Guess who does most of the work that benefits the whole body!??!?!

Your sense of humor makes me laugh, Halibutboy.

Yes, the ventricles are very important, and being left out oversimplifies the symbol.

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