To most people out there, falling in love is purely an affair of the heart. It is all about emotions that do not involve any form of participation from the brain. On the other hand, some believe that when you fall in love, you’re either following the dictates of the mind or the feelings of the heart.
Love starts in the brain
The truth is that the process called love actually begins from the brain, in contrast to what most believe. In fact, the so-called “love at first sight” does exist, and can occur so fast it happens within 0.2 seconds. What actually happens is that many chemical reactions take place whenever someone falls in love. These chemicals and hormones are the ones responsible for creating the feeling that we have whenever we are in love with someone. It may sound a bit complex, but there’s more to that complexity than meets the eye. It’s a very complex system. This means that depending on the kind of love that a person manifests, different parts of the brain are active and different chemicals are involved. Thus said, the brain acts differently when a mother shows her unconditional love to her children, as compared to passionate love that is experienced by couples.
In order to make documented studies about what parts of the brain are involved when a person falls in love, scientists and researchers analyze the MRI scans of people as they are in a state of love. For example, while the person looks into a picture of a beloved, his or her MRI brain scans are being taken simultaneously. The results were astonishing. Researchers were able to point out which parts of the brain have active participation, along with the kind of chemical and hormones that are being released.
For instance, the area of the brain called ventral tegmental can become very active during the stage when a person is in love. Incidentally, this portion is the one that produces dopamine, a powerful neurotransmitter. This chemical is involved in motivation and pleasure and has the same effect as when one feels “high” after taking drugs, like cocaine. Aside from the ventral tegmental, the caudate area of the brain is also active. This portion, according to scientists, is usually involved in cravings. As the ventral tegmental releases dopamine, it flows through the caudate, which in turn signals for more dopamine. The result is an extended state of being intensely high.
Another study shows that there are actually three stages of love, such that there are different chemicals and sections of the brain that actively participates in each stage.
The first stage is lust. In this stage, sexual hormones from the man and woman, testosterone and estrogen are primary chemicals that the body produces.
The second love stage is attraction. It is in this stage that three neurotransmitters play key roles in a person who initially falls in love with someone. These neurotransmitters are adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin. An adrenaline rush into a person makes him feel tense and nervous whenever he encounters his love interest. Dopamine stimulates desire and reward and is often associated with pleasure. Finally, serotonin produces the effect in a person who can’t seem to remove his love interest off his mind.
The third stage of love is called attachment. This involves two major hormones that is often the result of couples who want to be together for a long period of time, and are looking forward to a long lasting relationship that involves raising a family. The two chemicals are oxytocin and vasopressin. Both offer distinctive manifestations on the couple involved. Oxytocin, often referred to as the cuddle hormone, is released as a result of the couple having physical contact with one another. Often associated with having sex, couples are said to form a strong bond brought about having deepened feelings for one another. It is also related to monogamy. On the other hand, vasopressin is normally released after sex. Also known as anti-diuretic hormone, this hormone is very important in couples who develop long term committed relationship with one another.
So do you need a brain to fall in love?
The answer is a resounding yes, because without the hormones and chemical reactions that are released by the brain, it would not be possible to feel love and fall in love in the first place.
|The information presented is not intended to, and does not in anyway, constitute or replace a medical advice, and it should not be used for diagnosing or treating a health problem. The information is provided for educational purposes only, and is based upon the authors’ personal experiences or point of view. If you think you have a health problem, please consult a qualified medical professional..|