Neuroscience of Love

At the Merit Club we are fascinated with what makes our brains tick! Every Wednesday we will be digging a little deeper into this with our Neuroscience Wednesdays series. Finding videos and articles on subjects from love through leadership to addiction, these blogs will cover a range of ideas and theories that help us understand our minds better, have the power to shape our lives and the way we think. 

Love Is On The Brain

The word love is one of the most complicated words to ever exist, with different meanings to each and every one of us. It is elusive. We learn about it through various platforms and experience it to a variety of degree throughout our lives.

In this week's blog we look at the fascinating clip with science journalist Sharon Brock, who looks through the lens of neuroscience to explain the chemicals that are triggered in our brain when we fall in love and how they change over time. She states that there are four key chemicals that are linked to four mental states that we associate with falling in love.

These four chemicals that she is referring to are:

  • dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and excitement

  • phenylethylamine, which is linked to sexual desire

  • oxytocin, which is released when we feel that bond or connection with someone

  • serotonin, which is associated with the feeling of contentment.

These chemicals all play a vital part in the journey of falling in love!

What is so exciting about looking at love through the perspective of neuroscience is that it slightly explains why women feel more connected to their male partner after intercourse, than the other way around. She states that this is due to the increased levels of oxytocin in women after having sex, which is why we feel a stronger connection with our partner after the act. However, men have a large decrease in dopamine as the excitement and the chase fades away and there is only a slight increase in their oxytocin level. 

Well, that explains a lot...

It is interesting to hear in Sharon's talk how much of an impact of something such as love has on our brains and why relationships often don’t last as long as we think they will. It just shows how complicated love really is...
As it seems, if you want to have a relationship that survives past the 3-4 year mark, then you need to have a consistent increase in all four of these chemicals. Bring that challenge on!