I was intrigued by a headline in this Sunday’s Boston Globe Parade Magazine on ‘The Science of Love‘. I remembered having read a few chapters of Helen Fisher’s Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love several years ago, and the themes of the two works were largely the same. In summation, scientists have recently identified hormones and neurotransmitters (dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and serotonin, in particular) that are influential in creating the state of mind that we perceive as ‘love’. In other words, the gut-wrenching anxiety one feels while waiting for a phone call from the object of their affection can be explained by decreased levels of serotonin, and increased levels of norepinephrine. Scientists have identified biological explanations for the feelings of love using MRIs, measuring hormone activity levels, and other such experiments.
I’m not sure if this is information is particularly helpful for someone agonizing over their relationship with a loved one… but it certainly caught my scientific interest on Valentine’s Day!
Here are some more articles on the biological basis of ‘love’: