Maybe You Don’t Know The Psychological Facts About Love.
Love is really complicated.
While poets and songwriters incorporate romantic thoughts and feelings into eloquent discourse, love remains a complex puzzle. Psychologists and anthropologists have a lot to say about how and why people fall in love and, most importantly, the science behind it all. We flipped through pages of research and texts to discover these surprising psychological facts about love.
Love is actually three feelings in 1
There’s a reason love is so complex and indescribable – it’s actually three senses in one. According to a team of scientists led by renowned biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, romantic love can be divided into three feelings: desire, attraction, and attachment. Each sense is characterized by its own hormones emanating from the brain.
Desire is different from love.
The evolutionary basis of “lust” stems from the need to reproduce. The sex hormones testosterone and estrogen drive desire, separate from what’s behind attraction and attachment. That’s why a one-night stand or an affair doesn’t necessarily lead to a long-term relationship. However, it gets complicated because desire and passion are still part of long-term love.
Gravity depends on obsession.
While estrogen and testosterone stimulate desire, dopamine and norepinephrine are released when a person feels attractive. According to Fisher’s extensive research, humans show attraction in the brain regions that control “reward” behavior. In several of Fisher’s studies, brain scans of people in love showed that the brain’s main reward center lit up when they saw pictures of people they were deeply attracted to. This helps explain why the attraction of love is based on feelings of infatuation and why the early days of a romantic relationship can be exhilarating.
Attachment is not exclusive to romance.
The third type of love, attachment, involves feelings of comfort and caring rather than infatuation and desire — the hormones oxytocin and vasopressin fuel these factors in a long-term relationship. While desire and attraction are mainly unique to romantic love, this connection can also be felt through parent-infant friendships, bonds, and even how pet owners feel about their pets.
Falling in love reduces appetite.
High levels of dopamine and norepinephrine are released when someone is in a relationship. Dopamine is known as one of the pleasure hormones, and these chemicals can make people feel dizzy or even euphoric. This reaction can also lead to decreased appetite and insomnia, which means you can actually be “in love” until you can’t eat or sleep well.
Falling in love will change you.
If you watch a romantic comedy when you’re just into action movies, or if you’ve suddenly fallen in love with Mexican food you’ve never loved before, you might want to honor your partner. A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that people in relationships tend to have different interests and personality traits when they enter their relationships. One study author argues that people have a more diverse sense of self and self-esteem after falling in love.
Love can be a painkiller.
A Stanford University School of Medicine study found that intense, passionate love can act as an effective pain reliever, similar to illicit drugs like cocaine. The researchers asked 15 college students to bring pictures of their romantic partners and acquaintances. The researchers then showed their subjects pictures of their hands hitting a computer-controlled thermal stimulator to cause mild pain. They found that seeing pictures of loved ones lessened their distress level. So if you’re donating blood and don’t like needles, you should probably have a picture of someone you love.
Love is blind
Longtime married couple Richard Schwartz and Jacqueline Oz, a professor and couples therapist at Harvard Medical School, have been studying the development of love for decades. In a study, they discovered the science behind the phrase “love is blind.” In an article published at Harvard, Schwartz explained how feeling love disrupts the neural pathways responsible for negative emotions such as fear and social judgment. So when you start falling in love, your ability to evaluate critically stops.
- April – Month Of Colors & Celebrations
- Ramadan – Holy Month For Muslims
- Baba Vanga: Biography And Predictions For 2022
- Do You Know About Red Nose Day?
- Gospel Truths About Raccoons
Love can make you sick.
If you’ve heard someone say they’re in love, they’re probably already in love with something. While love isn’t proven to make you physically sick, it does raise cortisol levels, says Richard Schwartz, MD, an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Cortisol, a stress hormone, has been shown to suppress immune function, making you more likely to get sick.
Gratitude Improves Relationships
Everyone wants to be cared for and appreciated. Gratitude improves relationships, research has found. For example, one study found that couples who took the time to express gratitude to their partners felt more positive about each other and were more comfortable expressing concerns about their relationship.
‘Love pills’ are also found in chocolate.
When you fall in love, your brain releases a hormone called phenethylamine, the “love drug.” Hormones make couples fall in love like crazy. Phenethylamine is also found in chocolate, which may explain why you can’t stop after just one piece.
It only takes five seconds to fall in love.
Of all the discoveries scientists have made about love, perhaps the most romantic is the speed at which a person falls in love. A meta-analysis study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine found that it only takes about five seconds to fall in love.
When a person falls in love, multiple brain areas are at work.
In the same study, the team of researchers revealed that 12 areas of the brain work together to release orgasm-inducing chemicals that make a person feel loved. Dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopressin can make people feel wonderful when they get the germ of love.
Love is like being on top.
You may have heard that falling in love is like ecstasy, and it makes sense. A study conducted by the Kinsey Institute and published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology found that the brains of people who fall in love are very similar to those of people who smoke cocaine. People in the early stages of an intense romantic relationship can display many symptoms of addiction, including euphoria, craving, withdrawal, and emotional and physical dependence. Romantic love can be considered a “strong natural addiction,” the researchers wrote.
The brain falls in love, not the heart.
Many scientists debate back and forth about whether the brain or the heart falls in love. Based on her work, Syracuse University professor Stephanie Ottig thinks it’s the brain, although the heart is connected. “Activation of certain parts of the brain can create stimulation for butterflies in the heart and stomach,” Ortega wrote in the Journal of Sexual Medicine. “Some of the symptoms we sometimes think of as cardiac manifestations may come from the brain.”
Love makes you stupid.
Falling in love can cause people to do suspicious and embarrassing things. Research shows that sexual arousal shuts down brain regions that control critical thinking, self-awareness, and rational behavior. It shuts down the prefrontal cortex, responsible for mistakes, bad decisions, and unfortunate moments in new relationships.
Sometimes love hurts, and “heartbreak” is a natural feeling, not just something happening in your head. It’s called “takotsubo cardiomyopathy” or broken heart syndrome. According to the Harvard Women’s Health Observatory, broken heart syndrome is a weakness in the heart’s main pumping chambers due to severe emotional or physical stress, such as the loss of a loved one or a severe accident. It happens almost exclusively in women, and researchers are still figuring out why. Although rare, death from heartbreak is possible.
Love hormones have two aspects.
Oxytocin, the “love hormone” long known for promoting warm, fuzzy feelings of well-being and social connection, has a dark side, according to a Northwestern University study. A surprising study published in 2013 showed that oxytocin could cause emotional distress. This hormone enhances social memory in the brain, which includes bad memories. These memories can be activated long after negative events have occurred. Healthy levels of oxytocin can help people feel connected to their partners, but if the hormone is high, it can lead to toxic habits like jealousy and irritability.