The science behind love?

We all know there is a geeky side to love. Being a tiny bit datasexual (although I can’t imagine LGBTQAI+D ever happening) I can’t help but read about things like Chris and Amy’s exploits and think there is some science behind a part of love, even if its not all explainable in an algorithm. Another story which I believe came from Tim Dobson again, comes via Lifehacker, why Love makes you feel loopy is also talked about.

…being attracted to a person is a lot like being on drugs. The release of chemicals into our brain and body creates an altered mental state in which we both perceive and behave differently than we normally would. While no individual substance can single-handedly control your brain, here are just a few of the different chemicals swimming through your brain when you see a pretty person, and how they affect you.

Like the chemistry of love talk by Helen Fisher, The main factors are…

Adrenaline: When you see someone you’re attracted to, your body releases adrenaline into your system. Adrenaline is what’s responsible for causing your heart to race or your hands to sweat. Adrenaline puts your body on high alert, sending oxygen-enriched blood throughout your body, and prepares you for immediate action

Dopamine: When you feel elated, giddy, or pleasure, dopamine is the culprit. This is a double-edged sword, though. Dopamine is responsible for rewarding stimuli, which nurtures habit-forming behaviors.

Serotonin: When you can’t seem to get someone out of your head, serotonin is usually to blame. Or, more accurately, a lack of serotonin. This same drop in serotonin creation is present in people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Testosterone: The levels of testosterone (which fluctuate regularly) affect attraction in both genders.

Estrogen: A multitude of studies have shown that female attraction is affected in a variety of ways by the estrogen and the ovulation cycle.

I’d really like to see a TV or Radio documentary with this level of depth. The piece is worth reading as theres a lot more to the quotes I’ve grabbed.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.

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