When people say love is complicated, they don’t realize how right they are. Most scientists refer to love as a basic emotion, but in Ortigue’s study, she and her colleagues found that 12 areas of the brain work together to release many chemicals and hormones that induce the feeling of love as early as 0.2 seconds of visual contact. Among these chemicals are dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopressin—all chemicals previously associated with love and other highly complicated processes in the brain and mixed together are thought as a love potion. In addition, newly found love also sparks in areas of the brain associated with euphoria-inducing drugs-suggesting love as a feeling akin to using cocaine.
Hate me already for breaking down love scientifically? Chill! Read on. Let’s look at step by step process of falling in love 😛
- First the hypothalamus releases dopamine into the body, causing feelings of ecstasy and excitement.
- As dopamine levels increase, serotonin levels decrease. Serotonin is responsible for a person’s mood and appetite, among other things. The lower levels of serotonin are similar to levels found in people with obsessive compulsive disorders. This may result in feelings of obsession or infatuation.
- Along with dopamine, the body also produces a substance called nerve growth factors. NGF is more prevalent in people who are newly in love. People who are not in love or are in long-term relationships have lower levels of NGF than recent lovers. The amount of NGF in the body directly relates to the intensity of romantic feelings.
- Oxytocin and vasopressin are responsible for feelings of connection and commitment. The hypothalamus produces these two hormones. They are then stored in the pituitary gland, which secretes hormones into the body. In times of extreme passion, such as during orgasm, these hormones enter the bloodstream. The presence of the two chemicals is often attributed in part of the success of lone-term relationships.
- These hormones affect different parts of the brain. Because of these sections “nearness, certain responses occur > Activity increases in the romantic core of the brain > The amygdala deactivates > A person’s standards for judging others grow blurry > The person in love feels less stress and fear > The result is an overall feeling of unity between people in love.
Pass it on: Brain, not the heart, plays a major role in falling in love.
References : Obringer, Lee A. “How Love Works.”
Categories: Mental Health