What’s love? How would you define true love?
Love is not illusory, science will give you the answer.
Four best scientific facts of love you should know.
Everything I know about love.
1. What Happens If You Fall In Love?
Romantic attraction is now associated with a suite of psychological, behavioral, and physiological traits.
Data collection mostly began with the now classic dissection of this madness, found in Love and Limerence, by Dorothy Tennov.
Tennov devised approximately 200 statements about romantic love and asked 400 men and women at and around the University of Bridgeport, Connecticut, to respond with “true” or “false” reactions.
Tennov identified a constellation of characteristics common to this condition of “being in love,” a state she called “limerence.”
The first dramatic aspect of romantic love is its inception, the moment when another person begins to take on “special meaning.”
You start to focus intently on him or her. Let call it“the love knock the door”.
Romantic love then develops in a characteristic pattern, beginning with “intrusive thinking.” Thoughts of the “love object” begin to invade your mind.
A certain thing he said rings in your ear, you see her smile, recall a comment, a special moment, an innuendo—and relish it.
And every tiny segment of the time the two of you have spent together acquires weight and becomes material for review.
At first, these intrusive reveries may occur irregularly.
But many said that, as the obsession grew, they spent from 85 to almost 100 percent of their days and nights in sustained mental attentiveness, doting on this single individual.
Indeed, along with this fixation, lovers lose some ability to focus on other things, such as daily tasks, work, and school; they become easily distracted.
Paramount in the daydreams of Tennov’s infatuated informants were three overriding sensations: craving, hope, and uncertainty.
If the cherished person gave the slightest positive response, the besotted partner would replay these precious fragments in reverie for days.
If he or she rebuffed one’s overtures, uncertainty might turn to despair and listlessness (known as anhedonia) instead.
The lover would moon about, brooding until he or she had managed to explain away this setback and renew the quest.
Stendhal, the 19th-century French novelist, described this feeling perfectly.
Recalling the afternoons he went strolling with his sweetheart, he wrote, “Whenever I gave my arm to Léonore, I always felt I was about to fall, and I had to think how to walk.”
And this involuntary mosaic of thoughts, feelings, and motivations is only partially related to sex.
Tennov’s infatuated lovers yearned to have sex with their beloved. But their lust was overshadowed by a far deeper craving.
They wanted their beloved to call, write, invite them out, and, above all, reciprocate their passion. For infatuated men and women, emotional union trumps sexual desire.
In fact, 95 percent of Tennov’s female informants and 91 percent of her male subjects rejected the statement “The best thing about love is sex.”
2. Love Is Like Drugs?
“When we want to read of the deeds that are done for love, whither do we turn? To the murder column.” ——George Bernard Shaw
George Bernard Shaw knew the power of romantic love and attachment.
Both, I will maintain, are addictions—wonderful addictions when the relationship is going well; horribly negative addictions when the partnership breaks down.
Moreover, these love addictions evolved a long time ago, as Lucy and her relatives and friends roamed the grass of east Africa some 3.2 million years ago.
When love happens, what do our brains and our bodies have experienced?
Research has shown that people in love have a higher level of dopamine in the brain, while serotonin secretion is reduced.
Dopamine is a rewarding chemical secreted by the brain, so when we receive a reward, our dopamine levels will be raised promptly, then quickly fall back.
The principle of drugs is actually to let the brain release dopamine, which sends a signal of excitement and happiness.
It is not surprising to compare dopamine to a love molecule, but the happiness brought by dopamine is a double-edged sword. It is not only a source of happiness but also the initiator of addiction.
Drug, tobacco, alcohol addiction, the emergence of this pathological behavior is the result of human’s greed.
People in love expect to see the lover’s mood just as the addict’s thirst for drugs. It is absolutely unstoppable!
Indeed, many smitten humans are willing to sacrifice for their sweetheart, even die for him or her.
And like addicts who suffer when they can’t get their drug, the lover suffers when apart from the beloved—“separation anxiety.”
Scientists have also discovered that when people are in love, certain areas of the brain are thus suppressed, which seems to explain why when you fall in love, you tend to do those crazy or fearless things.
You may not think that you will drive a car straight across a country for 13 hours, but you can do it for love!
3. Does Being Lovelorn Really Hurt You?
You may have seen someone around you show up in the situation of being as good as dead.
Many people think this is a psychological effect, but scientific research shows that they have something in common from the neural mechanism of pain.
That is to say, people who are lovelorn can experience real physical pain.
Suri Cruise, a professor at the University of Michigan who led the study, confirmed that the injury felt by a partner in a relationship is similar to physical damage.
The so-called heartache and physical body pain, they all stimulate the same regions of the brain.
And even worse, the social and emotional frustrations are even stronger for these neurons. So the heartache is really painful sometimes.
Love is like a fire. You will never know whether it is going to warm your heart or burn your house down.
4. Why Chocolate Is The Food For Love?
Almost 30 years ago, there was a best-selling book called The Chemistry of Love, which not only made the author famous at that time but also derived the love chocolate theory.
By the way, there was a free (maybe fee-charging) advertising for chocolate makers.
Chocolate contains phenethylamine, the so-called love molecule that is released in the brain when positive emotions such as falling in love are experienced.
However, as a component of food, phenethylamine is quickly metabolized to phenylacetic acid by monoamine oxidase B and acetaldehyde dehydrogenase after being ingested, so the happiness of eating chocolate is no way to compare with the strong stimuli brought by love.
Moreover, the study found that high concentrations of phenylethylamine may lead to increased levels of reactive oxygen species in the brain, causing severe neurological damage similar to Parkinson’s disease.
We’ve kind of accepted the fact that there are some regulations in the process of continuing love, but it is unrealistic to attribute love to any single molecule.
5. Do you still believe in love?
What is love? Scientific interpretation of love and the way people imagine it, however, could not be further apart.
But on the other hand, isn’t that the great thing about love?
Love is a sweet torment. That’s the way it is. Don’t let fear hold you back.
Of course, everybody has problems; everybody has bad times. Do we sacrifice all the good times because of them?
It is this set of reward systems from our ancient ancestors that has helped us overcome one difficulty after another and also extend the genetic material from generation to generation.
That’s the really something in the journey of life that cannot be forsaken.
Some of us get dipped in flat
Some in satin, some in gloss
But every once in a while you find someone who’s iridescent
When you do, nothing will ever compare
What about the Valentine’s Day? Rose and chocolate?
I think the best Valentine’s Day gift should be to give each other a growing knowledge and understanding of humanity and the world.
That’s why I would recommend Kindle as the best gift for you.