Science Questions

Whats Happens in the Brains During Love?

Tue, 19th Feb 2013

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Question

Graham via Facebook asked:

What Happens in the Brain When We Fall in Love? Is it just chemistry? Or is there something more? What do we know about the biology of love?

Answer

We posed this question to Dr Alex Kogan, Cambridge University. Here's what he said!

Alex -   To be honest, we’re still trying to figure that out.  The neuroscience of love is very much in its infancy. 

We’ve had some studies come out that have suggested that when we feel FMRI_image_of_loverslove, there’ll be award and motivation aspects of our brain light up.  We do know that the dopamine system is involved within love.  So, for example, when we show people pictures of their loved ones, the midbrain lights up and that’s part of the reward system.  And dopamine is one of the neurotransmitters that we have in the body, related to a whole host of processes, but it’s part of the reward circuit so, feeling good about things when (there's something ever worth) to us. But to be honest, this work is extremely preliminary, still really trying to figure it out, and it’s not a surprise. 

Love is one of the most complex states that we could be in.  And so, to figure out what's going on in the brain is extremely difficult.  Is it just neurotransmitters?  Is it something with your body?  Is it something more?  These are still very much open questions that are really exciting to figure out.

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