There has always been a mystery behind one of the most universal emotions– love. It is a sentiment so powerful it has long been the inspiration behind iconic works of art and fiction. Love is something we all relate to, but few know the science behind why we feel the way we do.
Love can be distilled into 3 categories- Lust, attraction and attachment
Lust is triggered by a release of hormones, including gonadotropin-releasing hormone, which is known as the human pheromone. The hypothalamus oversees the production of a class of hormones called androgens. Testosterone along with its cousin’s dihydrotestosterone and androstenedione, spark arousal and stirs fundamental attraction.
When people fall in love, they might lose their appetite and get less sleep, preferring to spend hours at a time daydreaming about their lover.
In the attraction stage, a group of neurotransmitters called 'monoamines' play an important role:
Dopamine - also activated by cocaine and nicotine.
Norepinephrine - Otherwise known as adrenaline.
Serotonin - One of love's most important chemicals and one that may send us temporarily insane.
Attachment is a longer-lasting commitment and is the bond that keeps couples together when they have children. Important in this stage are two hormones released by the nervous system, which are thought to play a role in social attachments:
Oxytocin - Helps cement a strong bond. Released by both sexes during orgasm and it is thought that it promotes bonding when adults are intimate.
Vasopressin - is an important controller of the kidney and its role in long-term relationships was discovered when scientists looked at the prairie vole.
Now you can discover the science behind life’s most powerful emotion with this Science of Love Infographic.