Disables common sense. Scientists finally figured out what love does to our brain

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Disables common sense. Scientists finally figure out what love does to our brain

Research shows that falling in love affects more than just our heart , but also completely captures the brain.

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There is an opinion that falling in love strikes our heart, but scientists believe that this is not entirely true. In a new study, scientists decided to find out what happens to our brain when we completely surrender to this feeling, writes Live Science.

Gul Delen, an assistant professor of neuroscience at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, says falling in love is associated with the release of key chemicals from certain areas of the brain. One such area is the hypothalamus, a multi-functional amygdala-sized region deep inside our brain that secretes the hormone oxytocin, or what scientists call the “love chemical.”

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Oxytocin is a special hormone that helps us get closer to other living beings. For example, it is released during childbirth, breastfeeding, orgasm, and cuddling.

According to Delen, the first thing to clarify in this study is what we mean by love. For example, the Greeks had six different words for “different kinds of love” – ​​from sexual passion to friendship and deep love for humanity. In the same way that we experience different parental, friendship, or romantic feelings, our “love” looks different in our brain.

The researchers found that all of these feelings are essentially associated with the same brain chemical, but depending on the nature of the feelings, they come from different neurons and nerve cells.

In a study by Delen and colleagues, they found that romantic love is triggered in large or larger neurons in the hypothalamus, while other forms of love are triggered in parvocellular or smaller neurons. However, it's not just size that matters—scientists have found that romantic crush releases between 60,000 and 85,000 oxytocin molecules, while any other form of love releases only 7,000 to 10,000 oxytocin molecules. Moreover, scientists have found that even after release, these molecules behave differently depending on the nature of the feelings.

Research shows that when oxytocin leaves the cells of romantic love, it enters our bloodstream and circulating cerebrospinal fluid that bathes the brain. Moreover, when it encounters cells that have oxytocin receptors (adrenals, uterus, mammary glands, brain), it binds and activates them. The response of the receptors depends on the organ and can manifest itself in lactation, stress suppression, feelings of love, or causes attachment and euphoria.

According to Delen, in fact, a lot of romantic love fills our entire brain and dulls “common sense” – that is why we see everything in a rosy light and sometimes we do not notice the shortcomings of our beloved.

Curiously, when oxytocin leaves the cells of platonic love, it is delivered only to certain synapses in the brain and does not enter the bloodstream.

It is important to note that the study of Dr. Delen and his colleagues was limited to studying love in the brain of rodents. The fact is that brain scans, such as functional MRI, can only track blood flow in certain places in the human brain, but cannot determine individual neurons associated with love.

In the course of the study, scientists used genetic In another study, University of Missouri psychology professor Sandra Langeslang and colleagues studied how love changes our brain in real time. They did brain scans and found that parts of the brain get more oxygen when people see photos of their loved ones. In addition, scientists have found that our brain is activated much more when we see a photo of our partner, and not just a familiar person.