The Science of Falling in Love


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Falling in love can be characterized as one of the best feelings one can experience in a lifetime. But did you know that there is a biological explanation to the feelings you have when falling in love? Neurotransmitters deserve the credit for all of your giddy feelings and happy thoughts. Dopamine triggers a release of testosterone. Dopamine affects your mood and emotions, making you feel happier while testosterone has more of a physical effect on sexual desire, which causes one to desire and pursue their significant other. 

Have you ever noticed that when you start to fall in love, you simply cannot get that person off your mind? You remember every detail about your encounters with that person and you find them coming up in conversations with others often. This is due to the neurotransmitters norepinephrine and phenylethylamine, which enhance focused attention. Norepinephrine causes alertness while phenylethylamine is responsible for the "giddy" feeling one gets when thinking about their partner. Interestingly enough, if the relationship doesn't last, phenylethylamine levels drop and that is the reason for depression after a break-up. 

There are three stages to falling in love. The first is lust, or the initial physical attraction. The hormones testosterone and estrogen are responsible for this phase. The second phase is attraction, where the emotional feelings start to set in because of dopamine. During this phase, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine are responsible for a lack of appetite, or less of a need for sleep as well as constant thoughts of one's new partner. The third phase is attachment, which sets in once the person knows the relationship is really going to last. The two hormones that are essential in this phase are oxytocin and vasopressin.

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Works Cited:

Fisher, Maryanne. "Love's Evolver." The Science Behind Falling in Love. N.p., 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.
"The Science of Love." Science: Human Body and Mind. BBC Science, n.d. Web. 11 Sept. 2013.

2 Comments

What a romantic post! Thanks! This all makes perfect sense to me, but what about when the "honeymoon phase" of a relationship is over? Do these neurotransmitters perk us up as much as they initially did? Does this effect dwindle over time even if the relationship remains strong? I'm curious!
http://joydavidson.com/portfolio/so-your-relationships-honeymoon-phase-is-over-heres-the-surprising-good-news/

This is actually a very interesting post. I don't know why but it made me think of little kids "liking" each other haha. It's weird though because you think of love at first sight an that nonsense, but then some people go on match.com and those sights to find love. Do you think it is the same thing? Because you're connecting with someone over the internet..but you only know the information about them that they provide..
In this article- http://www.smh.com.au/lifestyle/life/the-science-of-attraction-20130531-2ng42.html it says that 93% of people are have been rejected by someone they love. Do those people that love someone, but aren't loved back still go through the same phases with the neurotransmitters?

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