Love in the Brain

India Today - - LEISURE -

Get ready for a Vi­a­gra-like pill—for the mind. Sci­en­tists have dis­cov­ered that lust starts in the brain, with the hor­mone Kis­speptin trig­ger­ing a chem­i­cal storm

He­len Fisher, a bi­o­log­i­cal an­thro­pol­o­gist at Rut­gers Univer­sity, US, cre­ated the first model of the ‘chem­i­cal ro­mance’ in the brain, in 1995

There are three phases to fall­ing in love—Lust, At­trac­tion and At­tach­ment—and dif­fer­ent hor­mones are in­volved at each stage

The body’s first re­ac­tion to a po­ten­tial part­ner is: “Let’s make ba­bies”

When we are at­tracted to some­body, we (sub­con­sciously) like their genes

We are at­tracted by the look and smell of peo­ple who are most like our par­ents

Stage 1 (Lust): the brain pumps Testos­terone and Oe­stro­gen. Tell-tale signs: gaz­ing into the eyes, touch­ing, and mirroring body lan­guage

Stage 2 (At­trac­tion): the brain re­leases Dopamine (cre­ates a rush of en­joy­ment), Nore­pinephrine (causes eu­pho­ria and gets the heart rac­ing) and Sero­tonin (cause ob­ses­sive think­ing, loss of ap­petite, less sleep)

Stage 3 (At­tach­ment): two hor­mones are re­leased: Oxy­tocin (re­leased dur­ing the or­gasm, pro­motes bond­ing) and Va­so­pressin (re­lated to bond­ing, trust and com­mit­ment, among other emo­tions)

High lev­els of Oxy­tocin and Va­so­pressin clash with Dopamine and Nore­pinephrine path­ways: that’s why at­tach­ment grows as pas­sion­ate love fades

Il­lus­tra­tion by ANIR­BAN GHOSH —Da­mayanti Datta

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