Love might seem to move in mysterious ways, but scientists actually have a pretty good idea of what love does to the brain.
Being in love floods the brain with chemicals and hormones that produce feelings of pleasure, obsession, and attachment.
Romantic love involves a series of complex changes in the brain’s reward system that make us crave the object of our affection.
Being love-struck releases high levels of dopamine, a chemical that gets the reward system going. Dopamine activates the reward circuit, helping to make love a pleasurable experience similar to the euphoria associated with the use of drugs or alcohol.
Scientific evidence for this similarity can be found in many studies, including one conducted at the University of California, San Francisco. That study reported that male fruit flies that were sexually rejected drank four times as much alcohol as fruit flies that mated with female fruit flies. Same reward center … a different way to get there.
In addition to the positive feelings romance brings, love also deactivates the neural pathway responsible for negative emotions, such as fear and social judgment.
Here is a powerful and informative TED Talk by Helen Fisher.
Love can change the world, but it can and does also change your brain!