The Physical Causes of Love
The Physical Causes of Love
Lovers Clip Art
Passion vs. Lust
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" Love is an act of endless forgiveness,
a tender look which becomes an habit. "
(Peter Ustinov, English author, actor and producer,
MRI Brain Scans Identify Love!
When you're in love, four portions of your brain are stimulated and you
literally light up!
Neurobiologists at the University College in London, England used MRI
brain scans to analyze the brain activity of people experiencing early
romantic love. In the tests, four parts of the brain activated significantly
when these individuals were shown photos of their love interests.
The MRI images were compared to the brain scans of people in other
emotional states including sexual arousal, happiness and cocaine-
induced euphoria. However, the activity pattern for romantic love was
unique because looking at the photo of their loved one also reduced
activity in three portions of the brain that are active when someone is
either upset or depressed.
Can Love Be Addictive?
When falling in love the skin flushes, breathing is heavier, and palms
become sweaty because the brain is experiencing a biochemical rush
of dopamine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine which are
chemically similar to amphetamines. However, tolerance to these
stimulating bio-chemicals can occur easily and it therefore takes more
of the substance to get that special feeling of infatuation. For this
reason some neuroscientists believe that people who jump from one
relationship to another have become addicted to the chemicals
produced when falling in love.
Where long-term romantic love is concerned the mere presence of
one's love partner stimulates the production of endorphins in the brain.
Endorphins are the bio-chemicals behind the experience of "runner's
high" and are a naturally-occurring pain-killer in the body.
Research indicates that romantic attraction is actually a primitive,
biologically-based drive similar to hunger or thirst. The urge for
romance is what causes a person to focus on one particular individual.
Therefore this biological need for romance explains why someone
would willingly walk several miles for a simple hug from their loved
one, or experience enormous despair in the face of later rejection.
Research has proven that romantic attraction activates portions of the
brain with high concentrations of receptors for dopamine which is the
chemical messenger associated with feelings of euphoria, cravings
and even addictions. Studies have linked high levels of dopamine (and
norepinephrine) to better attention spans and short-term memory,
hyperactive behaviour, sleeplessness and also goal-oriented behavior.
Therefore when people are falling in love they often exhibit signs of
elevated dopamine levels including increased energy, less need for
sleep and food, as well as highly focused attention.
Love’s Psychology is Blind
We’ve all heard the expression that "love is blind" and the chemical
factor supports this as it creates an altered state of consciousness and
therefore perception. We idealize those we love and overlook the flaws
they may possess which paves the way to a long-term relationship
because its as respectful as it is forgiving!
However if passionate romance acts upon us like a drug it's possible
that one can build a resistance it the effects over time. If the
relationship has grown in the meantime, and the partners have come
to a deeper appreciation of each other, then it’s a good bet that while
the chemically-induced may be diminished, it would be replaced with
other, deeper and more robust emotions.