Science, Art, Litt, Science based Art & Science Communication

                                                           Interactive Science Series

Q: I read what you wrote about the Science of Love.

Can science also explain 'Love at First Sight' ?

Q: Why do we pick just one person out of thousands we come across to love?

Krishna: Researchers who examined exactly what occurs in the brain when you fall in love and lust say  twelve areas of your brain work together to release chemicals and hormones that induce the feeling of falling in love, all of which happens in just a fraction of a second, which elicits floating-on-cloud-nine feelings similar to that of euphoria-inducing drugs (though there are key differences).  Out of the many chemicals and hormones that induce the feeling of love as early as 0.2 seconds of visual contact, the important ones are dopamineoxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopressin---all chemicals associated with love and other highly complicated processes in the brain and mixed together are thought as a love potion. Complex psychological emotional mental state of love involves four dimensions, according to research. Those four dimensions are: chemistry, cognition, preference/ rewarding mechanisms, and an intention to be with a significant other.

The research was conducted mainly through the use of functional magnetic imaging, or fMRI. This tool is used to spot brain activity by looking at blood flow levels in the brain. This cutting-edge technology is used in hospitals to help diagnose brain diseases, but is also used to assist scientists study thoughts and feelings like love in a person. The harder a certain brain area works, the more oxygen it needs; fMRI detects this by observing increased blood flow carrying oxygen to the brain area.

Briefly, fMRI studies demonstrate that both passion and sexual desire spark increased activity in the subcortical brain areas that are associated with euphoria, reward, and motivation, as well as in the cortical brain areas that are involved in self-representation and social cognition. When it comes to measuring love vs. lust, activity is diminished in the ventral striatum, hypothalamus, amygdala, somatosensory cortex, and IPL. What exactly does that imply? These reductions are in line with the idea that sexual desire and lust is a motivational state with a very specific, embodied goal, while love is a more abstract, flexible, and behaviorally complex goal that is less dependent on the physical presence of someone else. 

 Love is associated with a more intense activation of dopamine-rich regions in your brain, generally involved in motivation, reward expectancy, and habit formation. This is in line with psychological studies that define love as a rewarding, positive, and motivating experience. Also, different parts of your brain are activated by feelings of love rather than sexual desire. The specific pattern of activation suggests that love builds upon a neural circuit for emotions and pleasure, adding regions associated with reward expectancy, habit formation, and feature detection.

"Love at first sight is actually lust" - recent research says this! And it seems men experience love at first sight more often than women. Researchers think that’s because men respond to physical cues more readily than women, and women tend to develop trust more gradually than men. And love at first sight happens mostly when men are young!

And why do you choose only one person out of thousands? This is not always true. People can go for several partners and that is how cheating occurs across animal kingdom!

However, your mind is conditioned by your genetics, culture, 'group or societal dynamics'( like education and financial background), family values, your definition of beauty and  good behaviour, your likes and dislikes and several other things. They subconsciously effect your thinking and your preferences are established even before you fall for that 'someone special'.

 "Scientific' beauty is based off of symmetry. Facial and physical appearance, as well as pheromones play a large role in attraction. Pheromones are the scent markers that appear in human

sweat and dictate sexual behavior. Sometimes lovers choose their mate because of a distinct quality that reminds them of their own parents! Hmmm! Some researchers have found out that females prefer faces with typically male characteristics during ovulation and those with feminine traits at other points of their menstrual cycle ( so these cycles dictate who a girl falls in love with). However, men's notions of what is attractive (such as ideal hip-to-waist ratio) remain relatively constant over time.

And when you are very young you might fall for physical attractiveness and when you get old, you might have other preferences! So your age too dictates your choices!

Some studies (1) have found that animals are more likely to mate with partners they’re genetically compatible with. It’s unclear whether this research applies to humans, but some scientists think we might be preprogrammed to spot “the one.” Romantic attraction might serve an Evolutionary  function (2). We seek out specific people who will be suitable mates, and neglect others.




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