Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The Science of love

Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Blissful, idyllic, gloomy, anxious, and dreadful - we almost feel like we are on pins and needles. There is really a time we endure these feelings, it’s feels like we don’t even know why it is happening.

Well, it looks like you’ve experienced the most exhilarating feeling a human can intuit – we call it, LOVE.

It’s not what you say
Psychologists have shown that it takes between 4 minutes and 90 seconds to decide if you fancy someone. 

Research has shown this has little to do with what it said, rather …
55% is through body language
38% is the tome and speed of their voice
Only 7% is through what they say

Let Science explains
The 3 stages of love
Helen Fisher of Rutgers University in the States has proposed 3 stages of love - Lust, Attraction and Attachment. Each stage might be driven different hormones and chemicals.

Stage 1: Lust
This is the first stage of love and is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and estrogen – in both men and women.
Stage 2: Attraction
This is the amazing moment when you are truly struck in love and can think of little else. Scientists think that three main neurotransmitters are involved in this stage: adrenalin, dopamine and serotonin.

The initial stages of falling in love for someone activate your stress response, increasing your blood levels of adrenalin and cortisol. This has the charming effect that when you unexpectedly bump into your new love, you start to sweat, your heart races and your mouth goes dry.

Helen Fisher asked newly ‘love struck’ couples to have their brains examined and discovered that they have high levels of the neurotransmitter dopamine. This chemical stimulates ‘desire and reward’ by triggering an intense rush of pleasure. It has the same effect on the brain as taking cocaine.
Fisher suggests “couples show the sign of surging dopamine: increased energy, less need for sleep and food, focused attention and exquisite delight in smallest details of this novel relationship”.

One of love’s most important chemicals that may explain why when you’re falling in love and your new lover keeps popping into your thoughts.

Does love change the way you think?
A landmark experiment in Pisa, Italy showed the early love (the attraction phase) really changes the way you think.

Dr. Donatella Marazziti, a psychiatrist at the University of Pisa advertised for twenty couples who had been madly in love for less than six months. She wanted to see if the brain mechanisms that cause you to constantly think about your lover, were related to the brain mechanisms of Obsessive-Compulsive Order.

By analyzing blood samples from the lovers, Dr. Marazziti discovered that serotonin levels of new lovers were equivalent to the low serotonin levels of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder patients.

Love needs to be blind
“Newly lovers often idealize their partner, magnifying their virtues and explaining away their flaws”, said Ellen Bersheid, a leading researcher on the psychology of love.

New couples exalt the relationship itself. “It’s very common to think they have a relationship that’s closer and more special than anyone else’s”. Psychologists think we need this rose-tinted view. It makes us want to stay together to enter the next stage of love – attachment.

Stage 3: Attachment
Attachment is the bond that keeps couples together long enough for them to have and raise children. Scientists think there might be two major hormones involved in this feeling of attachment: oxytocin and vasopressin.

Oxytocin – The cuddle hormone
It is a powerful hormone released by men and women during orgasm. Oxytocin probably deepens the feelings of attachment and makes couples feel much closer to one another after they have had sex. The theory goes that the more sex couple has, the deeper their bond becomes.

This hormone also seems to help cement the strong bond between mom and baby and is released during childbirth. It is also responsible for mom’s breast automatically releasing milk at the mere sight or sound of her young baby.

Dianne Witt, assistant professor of psychology from New York has showed that if you block the natural release of oxytocin is sheep and rats, they reject their own young.

On the other hand, oxytocin into female rats who have never had sex, caused them to fawn over another female’s young, nuzzling the pups and protecting them as if they were their own.

 Another important hormone in the long-term commitment stage and is releases after sex.

Vasopressin (also called anti-diuretic hormone) works with your kidneys to control thirst. Its potential role in long-term relationships was discovered scientists looked at the prairie vole.

Prairie voles indulge in far more sex than is strictly necessary for the purposes of reproduction. They also-like humans-form fairly stable pair-bonds.

When male prairie voles were given a drug that suppresses the effect vasopressin, the bind with their partner deteriorated immediately as they lost their devotion and failed to protect their partner from new suitors.

How to fall in love?
New York psychologist, Professor Arthur Arun has been studying why people in love. He asked his subjects to carry out these three steps:
-          Find a complete stranger.
-          Reveal to each other intimate details about your lives for half an hour.
-          Then, stare deeply into each other’s eyes without talking for four minutes.
It was found that many of his couples felt deeply attracted after the 34-minute experiment. Two of his subjects later got married.
The power of love
Science has always its own explanations. Whether you believe it or not, it will constantly depend on you, because the most important thing is people should let love as their strength and weakness. A strength that must be kept forever and a weakness that should help you learned and developed as a person.

Love is the reason why everyone received the gift of life despite of the sins he did. So, let’s all spread love this Valentine’s Day and be in love everyday!


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