Ah… love! What a wonderful thing. The meaning of life itself, isn’t it? Artists, poets and play writers have made the greatest progress in humanity’s understanding of love. So what’s love doing in a science column? Well lately scientists have managed to get themselves included in the restricted group of love-explainers.
Scientists now think that love is nothing else but a series of chemical reactions in people.
If you are in love with someone then you are also in love with that person’s genes subconsciously. More surprising still-if there is anything more astonishing that this last ‘fact’-is that not only do your eyes work when you see a perfect partner but so does your nose-and of course heart. Smell apparently plays an important role in the attraction between two persons. You are in fact attracted to a person who is more like your own parents not only physically speaking but also olfactory speaking. This chosen person of your heart is also the chosen person of your nose!
Many external appearances will prove that you are well and truly in love. Flushed cheeks, racing heart beat and clammy hands are only a few examples. ‘Inside’ the body though, there are other definite signs that Cupid has passed by.
Helen Fisher of Rutgers University is one of the most respected researchers in the field. She proposed that people fall in love in 3 different stages.
Stage 1: Lust
Lust is driven by the sex hormones testosterone and oestrogen. Testosterone, as many readers might have thought, is not only found in men. In fact it plays a major role in women’s sex drive.
Stage 2: Attraction
This second stage is the classic love part often featured in romantic comedies. When people are in stage 2, they lose their appetite and often need less sleep. They instead find it more interesting to daydream about you-know-who.
During this stage, the body secretes a number of hormones. One of these hormones is serotonin. It is one of love’s most important chemicals and it may actually make people temporarily insane.
Stage 3: Attachment
If you have the guts to talk to that person, then you may well have entered this stage. If a relationship is going to last, this attachment process is the last stage.
Attachment is a longer lasting commitment and is the bond that keeps couples together when they start having children.
But are all these stuff really important at all? Scientists think so. By understanding the paths that regulate social attachments, scientists might be able to deal with some people’s inability to form relationships. Some people even see love being guaranteed in the future generation because love will be chemically provided: in pills.
Well when we say that love is madness, it’s sort of true literally speaking. And if you still doubt this, that hormone serotonin is there, somewhere in your body, to prove it.
About the Author
K.A.Cassimally is the editor in chief of Astronomy Journal and Astronomy Journal Ezine. He is also the co-founder of the RCPL Astronomy Club.
He is also Senior Columnist at BackWash.com and Columnist for bbc.co.uk h2g2 The Post where he writes 'Not Scientific Science'.
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