The Science Behind Love & Attraction


Beyond the love songs, romantic poems, passionate novels and sappy movies, love is the result of complex process in our body. But is it the brain or heart behind love; or something else?  Here you will read the science behind falling in love; the science of why someone attracts us.

According to a team of scientists led by Dr. Helen Fisher at Rutgers, romantic love can be broken down into three categories: lust, attraction, and attachment. Each category is characterized by its own set of hormones stemming from the brain. The lust, attraction and attachments are the primary steps involved in process of falling in love.

Lust is driven by the desire for sex in which hypothalamus plays an important role by stimulating production of sex hormones testosterone and estrogen.

But attraction is due to dopamine which is often regarded as reward hormone that increases the desire to spend a lot time with the person or any other. As the dopamine level increase the serotonin level decrease. Serotonin is responsible for person’s mood and appetite. The lower level of serotonin is similar to level found in people with obsessive compulsive disorders.

Body also produces a substance called nerve growth factor which is more prevalent in people who are newly in love. People who are not in love or in long term relationships have low level of NGF. Greater the amount of NGF in body greater will be intensity of romantic feelings.

Attachment is the predominant factor in long term relationship. While lust and attraction are pretty much exclusive to romantic entanglements, attachment mediates friendships, parent-infant bonding, social cordiality, and many other intimacies as well. The two primary hormones that hypothalamus produce for attachment are oxytocin and vasopressin. They are then stored in the pituitary gland and in the time of extreme passion such as orgasm these hormones enter the blood stream. Due to this the persons standard of judging other grows blurry and the person in love feels less fear and stress.

Thus the final result is the overall feeling of unity between people in love.

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