Love is the most wonderful and overwhelming feeling in the world. No other human feeling has attracted so much attention and has been the theme of so many plays, books, films, and songs. Even the most brilliant minds failed to explain and define this intricate and powerful feeling, which affects all ages, genders, nations, and cultures. Scientists have attempted to contribute to the general understanding of love by exploring biological processes that occur in the human body. It has been found that romantic feelings are determined by the complicated neurobiological, biochemical. and physiological processes involving human brain and hormones (Carter & Porges, 2013). This short essay, therefore, aims to look at love from the scientific perspective to get insight into this mysterious feeling.
Almost every feeling a person experiences when in love can be explained scientifically. Scientists have advanced much in understanding why love is somewhat similar to mental illness; why the human body responds to the object of love affection with blush, increased heartbeat, and trembling; and why unhappy love may result in physical pain and suffering (BBC, 2014). Some behavioral patterns can be explained with hormones produced in the human body. Thus, for example, women experience the greater need of cuddling when in love compared to men because of the interaction between oxytocin and estrogen (Chapman, 2011). Dopamine, in turn, is critical in stimulating the feeling of love, and lovers often have increased levels of this hormone (Chapman, 2011). Interestingly, this hormone also contributes to psychological addictions, schizophrenia, and mania. It is not surprising that people in love constantly want to be with the object of their affection and may act erratically.
Many studies have been conducted recently exploring the complex process determining love feelings. For instance, Carter and Porges (2013) found that interpersonal relationships that trigger sensory and cognitive systems stimulate physiological processes causing love affection. Interaction with loved ones contributes to the production of oxytocin and vasopressin, which in turn cause the feelings of lust, physical desire, sadness, jealousness, and many other shades of love. Notably, Esch and Stefano (2005) argued that limbic processes associated with love feelings also play an important role in reducing stress and promoting health. As seen, science can explain much about our love feelings; yet, knowing the biological processes does not make this feeling less inspiring and breath-taking.
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BBC. (2014). The science of love. Retrieved from http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/hottopics/love/
Carter, C. S., & Porges, S. W. (2013). The biochemistry of love: An oxytocin hypothesis. EMBO, 14(1), 12–16. doi: 10.1038/embor.2012.191
Chapman, H. M. (2011). Love: A biological, psychological and philosophical study. Retrieved from http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1218&context=srhonorsprog
Esch, T., & Stefano, G. B. (2005). The neurobiology of love. Neuro Endocrinol Lett., 26(3), 175-92.