The Science of Love
The ancient Greeks called it “the madness of the gods”; the author Sherwood Anderson dubbed it “the divine accident of life.” But as it turns out, love is neither madness nor an accident. The more we understand how the brain works, the more it seems we are programmed for love, just as we’re programmed to eat and breathe.
It turns out that love truly is a chemical reaction. Researchers using MRIs to look at the brain activity of the smitten have found that an interplay of hormones and neurotransmitters create the state we call love. Four compounds—dopamine, norepinephrine, oxytocin, and serotonin—are likely to be particularly critical, says Helen Fisher, research professor of anthropology at Rutgers University. Although the way various chemicals interact in the brain is complex and still largely unknown, data suggests that each plays a different role.