There is a scientific reason behind why you fall in love with someone

Image Courtesy: thinkgeek

Elevated heart beat, flushed cheeks and clammy hand are all classic signs of being in love, but have you ever stopped to wonder about the science behind this alluring feeling? Is it just a hocus-pocus that we convince ourselves or is it more complex than that.

Love is a part of nature’s design to compel us to reproduce. It’s a natural occurrence that is triggered as a response to chemicals released in our bodies.

A popular Science journal stated that Social attachment is similar to behavioural addiction, where an individual becomes addicted to another because of the rewards returned. This addiction results in a chain of chemical reactions in your body that basically makes you feel like you are floating on cloud 9.

According to a study carried out by Rutgers University in New Jersey falling in love can be divided into  3 stages, namely lust, attraction, and attachment. Each stage results in different chemicals being released into the body.

Lust             

The feeling of Lust is instigated by sex hormones Testosterone and oestrogen. These hormones are responsible for creating sex drive among both men and women.  These are the culprit chemicals that make us look for someone.

Attraction

This is the phase where the person actually starts falling in love. This is the phase where a person’s need to attract someone leads to excitement. It is a common for people to lose appetite and need less sleep during this stage. They would rather spend time thinking about their new found lover.

The study says that there are 3 substages in Attraction phase, that bring about changes in an individual’s personality. Each sub-stage involves release of different chemicals – dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin

Dopamine  

The study observed  that brains of new couple using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRIs). They found that both male and females has large spikes dopamine, a compound which stimulates a feeling of pleasure in the body.

Dopamine is also activated by external influences such as by cocaine and nicotine.

Adrenaline

Adrenaline causes restlessness and an overall preoccupation that go along with experiencing love. This compound causes sweating and the heart to race – all the symptoms you experience when you are about to go out on a date.

Serotonin

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter is known to be the major contributor to feelings of well-being and happiness. The study found that the serotonin levels were much less in Men than women, however, these are what makes people daydream about their partners. The participants in the study were found to be engrossed in thought  about their partners for 65% of their day.

Stage 3: Attachment

This is of course the last phase, where the bond between two mates becomes powerful. This is also the phase, where couple feel the need to have children. The attachment factor is influenced by two hormones – oxytocin and vasopressin   

Oxytocin

Oxytocin is the hormone that creates a deeper bond between couple. It is released equally in both men and women, especially during orgasm. The more a couple have sex, the stronger this bond gets.  

The hormone which is released during and after childbirth, helps build a strong bond between mother and child. It also aids in lactation and parturition.

According to the study, Oxytocin is also responsible for increasing the capability of a person to better interpret his or her partner’s thoughts based on external expressions.

Vasopressin

Vasopressin is a pituitary hormone which acts to promote the retention of water by the kidneys and increase blood pressure. It is again a very important chemical in strengthening the bonding between a couple, playing major role in sexual intercourse and partner preference.