Have you ever stopped for a second to think about the science and psychology of falling in love, or why you are falling in love with that special someone? What is love and how can it be described? Scientists have been asking this question for decades. The science behind love is both simpler and more complex at the same time than we might think. Like all emotions, love originates in the brain as surely as brilliant mathematical theorems do.
According to Dr Helen Fisher, love is separated into three stages; lust, attraction and attachment which each one is driven by a unique blend of brain chemicals.
The first stage is “Lust”. Estrogen and Testosterone are the two main types of hormones which are presented equally in men’s and women’s bodies that excites the feeling of lust within the brain.
The second stage is “Attraction”. A group of neuro-transmitters called ‘monoamines’; dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin. This is the stage that involves the brain pathways that control “reward” behaviour which partly explains why the first period of a relationship can be so exhilarating and even all-consuming.
The final step is “Attachment”. It is managed by a different set of hormones and brain chemicals such as oxytocin and vasopressin. Both hormones are important in the bonding and development of the feeling of love. It is worth mentioning that oxytocin, known as the cuddle hormone, is the hormone that is responsible for the development of the bonding between mother and child.
Therefore, we feel the passions of love because our brains contain specific neurochemical systems that create those feelings in us. We are not torn between the heart and the brain but rather between different parts of the brain.