Do you know what is love? What comes to your mind when you hear? Exactly it remains a mystery to us even if we know human behavior and relationships. And those are the exact questions asked by the poets, playwrights and other artists, but today’s neuroscience has a bunch of words to describe and talk about this unrevealed questions.
There are different types of love, it can be so many things, that’s why it’s such a big question. There’s a love for children as parents, the love for siblings, friends and even ideas. And even there is love which includes intimacy, passion, and commitment. Then there is consummate love, a combination of the three types.
It makes us cheerful, greatest joy and even the greatest pain, overwhelms us with unexplainable emotions and makes us act in completely irrational ways in front of lovers.
Love is addictive
We all know love is addictive and it is indeed cause wanting and craving. Thinking about one’s beloved triggers activity in the ventral tegmental area (VTA) of the brain, which releases a flood of the neurotransmitter dopamine (the so-called “pleasure chemical”) into the caudate nucleus and nucleus accumbens of the brain’s reward (or pleasure) centers. This gives the lover high not unlike the effect of narcotics, and it’s mighty addictive.
Simultaneously, the brain in love experiences an increase in the stress hormone norepinephrine, which increases heart rate and blood pressure, effects similar to those experienced by people using potent addictive stimulants like methamphetamine.
When you are rejected by someone you love, the response is rooted in the brain. And the only thing you want when you are dumped is just forgotten the man and move towards your life but that makes no sense, you feel like you love the person harder. The reward system in your brain for wanting, for motivation, for carving and focuses becomes more active as you can’t what you want. This concludes why we kill ourselves and others, start wars, commit crimes for passion, and give up everything for love.
Love is obsessive
Being in love experienced a decrease in the neurotransmitter serotonin which gives us a sense of control. It makes us feel stopping from the anxiety of uncertainty and instability. But it decreases when we are in love which certainly makes us lose our control and obsess over things that rattle our certainty which is unpredictable. And the love which is uncertain becomes a key target of obsession.
Love is prone to recklessness
Brain’s frontal cortex which is a charge of reason, control and order decrease at a lower level when being in love. And at the same time, the amygdala which is in charge of handling our’s brain response to threat also revs down. The amalgamation of these effects makes us more reckless and prone to taking the risk which we wouldn’t have if we weren’t in love.
Men in love are extremely visual beasts
Women in love remember the details
When being in love, the brains of the women have more activity in the hippocampus which associated with memory than those of the men who are in love. Hippocampus in a woman’s brain occupies more space than in a man.
Eye contact is a lover’s magic
Eye contact enhances emotional connection, which is why it’s so common among babies and lovers. It’s biological when lovers can’t seem to stop talking about their partner’s beautiful gaze. Also, our voices are important in building a connection as it contains more information. However, it is not as effective as eye contact.
Male and female brains respond differently to love
Being in love experience similar feelings. But there are some differences in the way romantic love occurs neurologically in men and women. Women who had recently fallen in love showed more brain activity in regions associated with reward, emotion, and attention, whereas men tended to show the most activity in visual processing areas, including the area associated with sexual arousal. But that doesn’t mean that men are wired to look for sexual gratification rather than more enduring romantic connections.
“Romantic love involves a series of complex changes in the brain’s reward system that make us crave the object of our affection.”
(HuffPost) — 4 Things Neuroscience Can Teach Us About Love
(Truth Inside Of You) — What Neuroscience Tells Us About Being in Love
(Scientific America) — What Goes On in Our Brains When We Are in Love?