Science of Love

I write this blog to surprise the readers and to give the unexpected!

Let’s talk about love, specifically the science of love. We all experience in various forms. How we love and are loved makes us who we are. Let me explain scientifically that special love we feel for that special someone. I hope this was unexpected to the readers of this science blog.

Love is the complex cascade of emotions that one experiences when you meet someone special. In my view, love is a complicated feeling or emotion resulted by a complex set of hormonal reactions. These reactions are triggered by our senses and perception that ends with a well-directed result oriented action. There is plethora of research data available to conclude that humans smell out potential partners. This involves pheromones. Pheromones are chemicals that act like hormones outside the body that affect behaviour or physiology. During this process, research suggests that humans tend to choose the most MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) incompatible individuals.

MHC1 and MHC2 are also involved in immune responses and are responsible for protecting the body against various infections. MHC might play a key role in protecting against novel virus COVID-19 and more research is required in this area.

Then, there are a cocktail of hormones; oxytocin, cortisol, adrenaline, and dopamine that work together to construct a well (love)-directed action. Oxytocin is the most potent of all and it helps maintain psychological boundaries and interpersonal relationships. It is interesting to note that a mere eye contact between humans is enough to secrete this love hormone and it is no surprise that it is a feel good hormone. While cortisol is responsible for all the curiousity, anxiety, and tension people feel when they are in love, adrenaline is the real culprit that induces the increase in heart beats, rate of respiration and, sweaty palms when you meet someone you hold special interest.

Another interesting fact as to why one ignores career and other important things in life during this stage is correlated to high levels of dopamine. This increased dopamine causes short-term memory loss, hyperactivity, sleeplessness, and loss of focus on everything else. This is also related to obsessive-compulsive disorder and explains why those in love have possessiveness about their partners. Low levels of serotonin and testosterone was also observed from individuals in love. This has a significant effect and related to the above mentioned behavior. The last but not least, “endorphins” are released in your body when you are in love and is responsible for “on-the-top-of-the-world feeling”.  

Is it possible, if these hormones are ever to be integrated into robotics and artificial intelligence? What if such system could feel and express love?

– Dr Sandanamudi Anudeep

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