The Mystery of Love-Science: Why Do You Fall in Love?

Ever wonder how your brain works when you’re in love? Have you ever stopped for a second to think ...

Ever wonder how your brain works when you’re in love? Have you ever stopped for a second to think about the science and psychology of falling in love or why you are falling in love with that special someone? The release of oxytocin in the brain — the love hormone — is what fuels lifelong pair bonds.
Love and attraction are weird and mysterious things.

There's a lot we don't understand — and a lot that's idiosyncratic to individual people and couples.

The Mystery of Love-Science: Why Do You Fall in Love?
We feel some strange or mysterious feelings for someone positively (can be different or same gender). Its a kind of attraction and thins feelings hits up the pleasure center of the brain.
We call it love. It feels like love. But the most exhilarating of all human emotions is probably nature’s beautiful way of keeping the human species alive and reproducing. 



With an irresistible cocktail of chemicals, our brain entices us to fall in love. We believe we’re choosing a partner. But we may merely be the happy victims of nature’s lovely plan. 
Have you ever stopped for a second to think about the science and psychology of falling in love or why you are falling in love with that special someone? Did you ever notice love is sort of a mysterious yet natural emotion in us and it must have to do something with our chemistry to one another?
The love hormone acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain, which is produced in nerve cells rather than glandular cells, like most hormones, according to Psych Central. It is believed romantic gestures such as cuddling, hugging, or kissing could boost oxytocin levels in the body, which help enhance social bonding between individuals.

It’s not what you say...

Many Psychologists have already shown it takes between 90 seconds and 4 minutes to decide if you love or attract to someone.

The 3 stages of love


Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in the States has proposed 3 stages of love – lust, attraction and attachment. Each stage might be driven by different hormones and chemicals.

Stage 1: Lust


This is the first stage of love and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen – in both men and women. I call it the premature stage of love. We think this stage of love we may decide with emotional feelings where most of the time you may decide to turn wrong.
The Mystery of Love-Science: Why Do You Fall in Love?

Stage 2: Attraction


This is the amazing time when you are truly love-struck and can think of little else. This phase is said to be one of the beautiful moments of life.  This is the phase when a person actually starts to feel the love. His or her impatience for attracting somebody leads to excitement, and the individual is left with no other option but to only think about that specific person.  Scientifically, it has been concluded in the study that there are three more sub-stages of attraction that portray drastic changes over the individual’s personality.  The three sub-stages of attraction are adrenaline, dopamine, and serotonin.



Adrenaline

The initial stages of falling for someone activates your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.

Dopamine

Helen Fisher asked newly ‘love struck’ couples to have their brains examined and discovered they have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine! 

Fisher suggests “couples often show the signs of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep or food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship”  .

Serotonin

And finally, serotonin. One of love's most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love, your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.



New couples exalt the relationship itself. “It's very common to think they have a relationship that's closer and more special than anyone else's”. Psychologists think we need this rose-tinted view. It makes us want to stay together to enter the next stage of love – attachment.

Stage 3: Attachment

Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to have and raise children. Scientists think there might be two major hormones involved in this feeling of attachment; oxytocin and vasopressin.


Oxytocin - The cuddle hormone



Oxytocin is a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm.
It probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex a couple has, the deeper their bond becomes. 

Oxytocin also seems to help cement the strong bond between mum and baby and is released during childbirth. It is also responsible for a mum’s breast automatically releasing milk at the mere sight or sound of her young baby.


Diane Witt, assistant professor of psychology from New York has showed that if you block the natural release of oxytocin in sheep and rats, they reject their own young.


Conversely, injecting oxytocin into female rats who’ve never had sex, caused them to fawn over another female’s young, nuzzling the pups and protecting them as if they were their own. 

Vasopressin
Vasopressin is another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is released after sex.


Vasopressin (also called anti-diuretic hormone) works with your kidneys to control thirst. Its potential role in long-term relationships was discovered when scientists looked at the prairie vole.



Prairie voles indulge in far more sex than is strictly necessary for the purposes of reproduction. They also – like humans - form fairly stable pair-bonds.



When male prairie voles were given a drug that suppresses the effect of vasopressin, the bond with their partner deteriorated immediately as they lost their devotion and failed to protect their partner from new suitors. 

And finally … how to fall in love

  • Find a complete stranger.
  • Reveal to each other intimate details about your lives for half an hour.
  • Then, stare deeply into each other’s eyes without talking for four minutes.

York psychologist, Professor Arthur Arun, has been studying why people fall in love.
He asked his subjects to carry out the above 3 steps and found that many of his couples felt deeply attracted after the 34 minute experiment. Two of his subjects later got married.

A final thought on why do we fall in love:

In male-female bonds, the love hormone plays a vital role in the human sexual response cycle. Oxytocin changes the brain signals that are related to social recognition via facial expression — due to activity in the amygdala — a part of the brain that plays a role in processing emotional stimuli.

Romantic relationships can lead to the addiction of a specific person such as being obsessed with thinking of that person all the time and the capacity for risk-taking to get to that person. These behaviors are thought to reflect those of someone who is addicted to a drug. 
The same brain chemicals — large amounts of dopamine and norepinpherine — and the same brain pathways and structures are active when in love, and when being high on crack cocaine. Therefore, this leads to the belief that addictive drugs affect the brain in ways similar to love, Marsh says, which can help explain the painful, withdrawal-like symptoms of a breakup.

Although much is known about neurotransmitters like oxytocin, there is still some mystery left behind as to what sets off these feelings of love and who we fall in love with. Researchers still do not know enough about love like other emotions, which makes the process of falling in love a complete mystery.

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