The neurons of the senses: what is it like the brain of a person in love

Нейроны чувств: на что похож мозг влюбленного человека

Many researchers tried to find the chemical and biological causes of love, but only the American anthropologist Helen Fisher (Helen Fisher) from Institute Kinsey managed to photograph this feeling, or rather how it is reflected in the human brain. Neurons which departments manage love?

What is love? Most of us are difficult to answer, which is not surprising, because the love feels a whole range of feelings, which, moreover, are constantly changing. He’s quite shy in the presence of the object of passion, stutters, his heart pounding, the lower abdomen spreads a strange warmth. He is emotionally dependent, so for the sake of a loved one is ready to change everyday habits, life priorities, to sacrifice a lot, even to give life. Love accompanied by passion, a strong sexual attraction and also desire to possess another person, to protect against the encroachments of others (we call this behavior of jealousy). Lover obsessed with his idol, can not get out of my head. All these feelings and States arise involuntarily, they cannot be controlled.

As we fall in love? One answer to this does not exist. The process of partner selection is influenced by many social and biological factors. Includes everything of life and aesthetic values, ethnicity, socio-economic status, level of education and intellect, sense of humor, common political and social goal of financial stability. Often fall in love with those who look like one of the parents or friends. Also important is the appearance and temperament, which, as the researchers believe, is determined by the level of four hormones — testosterone, dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin or vasopressin.

Scientists refuse to classify love as a disease or addiction that requires treatment. As suggested by Helen Fisher, in vain. She examined the state of the brain of hundreds of lovers and couples using a functional MRI device, allowing real-time capture the active area of the neurons. It turned out that the so-called love activates the dopamine system of the brain.

Dopamine, or the happiness hormone, is produced in the brain in large quantities when a person experiences pleasure, for example, during sex or eating delicious food. The brain uses this hormone to remember the joyous condition. He starts the process of focusing on goals and motivation, want to relive a pleasant feeling.

The dopamine system controls our movements, endocrine, cardiovascular and digestive systems, it affects the appetite, involved in the occurrence of effect of awards, the formation of drug and alcohol addictions, and dependencies, non-chemical nature (shopping, computer, gambling).

This system includes several parts of the brain, the main of which — tire ventral mesencephalon. There is synthesized dopamine in humans undergoing acute phase of love. The hormone encourages focus on the object of passion is a burst of energy, strong emotions and the desire to achieve mutual love.

The nucleus accumbens is another division of the remuneration system. “He’s active happy lovers or rejected. It is also activated in all addictions, chemical or behavioral, showing that romantic love is also an addiction, fine, if all is well, and horrible when feelings are unrequited,” commented specifically for RIA Novosti the results of their work, Helen Fisher.

She examined the brains of couples living happily together in an average 21 year. “They are still active and tyre ventral mid-brain, which is associated with romantic feeling and feelings of deep attachment to your partner, says Fisher. — Such couples also active ventral pallidum responsible for the feeling of happiness”.

His research Fischer summarized in numerous scientific articles and books. The book “Why we love: the nature and chemistry of true love” published in Russian in 2013, and in 2016, a second edition of the book “Anatomy of Love: a Natural History of Mating, Marriage, and Why We Stray (“Anatomy of love: natural history mating, marriage and why we stray”).

Нейроны чувств: на что похож мозг влюбленного человека

Functional MRI scans show which parts of the brain active at lovers. 1 — as crazy love 2 — love, 3, 4 — they live happily ever after

Strong romantic attraction lasts 12-18 months. During this period, “Romeo” seeks to see his love, to the brain reward myself by dopamine. Approximately eight months to passion mixed with a second sense — attachment. This is evident in the inclusion in the process of ventral pallidum. The activity of tyre ventral midbrain and nucleus accumbens does not disappear. Both feelings, according to Fisher, contribute to the creation of the pair.

If a person suffers because of unrequited love, in addition to the activation of the ventral tires of the midbrain and the nucleus accumbens, it “lights up” orbitofrontal/prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for the craving and dependence, as well as the insular cortex and the serratus anterior fascia is associated with physical pain and suffering. The ventral pallidum, causing a sense of attachment, is also active.

Having failed, the person experiences along with the love of a strong physical and psychological suffering, rage, it increases blood pressure, the heart beats more often suppressed immune system. He observed relapses of love as obedience, periods of despair and despondency, apathy and depression. He could die of a heart attack or stroke.

Based on archaeological data, Fisher and his colleagues believe that love emerged 4.4 million years ago ardipithecus, the forerunners of the Australopithecines, from which then came the people. Some scientists believe that ardipithecus could be monogamous, that is, created a couple for the birth of the offspring. This behavior was evolutionary advantageous inhabiting the African forests and savannas hominids. Fisher relates the emergence of romantic love with monogamy.

Monogamy is typical of many mammals and birds. For example, pretty voles stay with one partner for life. During love ecstasy in females in the nucleus accumbens of the brain is synthesized oxytocin, and in the ventral pallidum males produce vasopressin. These parts of the brain, as in humans, are responsible for reward, motivation to choose a certain partner, expressing affection, and in the end, create a pair.

The problem, however, is that monogamy is not the only strategy that promotes fertility. Polygamy and promiscuity (adultery) also help to reproduce. Cheating is common in the animal world almost the same as loyalty. Only 10 percent of the 180 species of songbirds are monogamous birds faithful partner. In the US, 30-50 percent of spouses of both sexes had ties on the side.

Stanislav Drobyshevsky, assistant Professor of anthropology of the biological faculty of MSU named after M. V. Lomonosov, says that people do not typically clean and serial (serial) monogamy. This is when a person forms during my life, several different pairs.

A strong sense of romantic love stimulates parts of the brain responsible for reward, and dopamine. These same departments are involved in the event of various addictions, and if love is also observed as a dependence, we expect a bright future.

Helen Fisher cites the fact that love facilitates healing in people with severe dependencies, for example, those who smoke, even at night. Doctors are able to develop therapeutic methods based on love for addicted people, since both States use the same parts of the brain. Love can be treated with strong grief and other serious condition. On the other hand, taking the view that love is the conquest of evolution, the lawyers might otherwise not qualify the actions that result from mutual or unrequited love.