Falling in Love take about a fifth of a Second

According to a new study lead by Stephanie Ortigue, love science expert at Syracuse University, falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second. What’s more, to your brain it has the same effect as cocaine.

Image Courtesy: S Ortigue: Journal of Sexual Medicine

These findings were published in a new study titled “The Neuroimaging of Love.” Scientists working on the project used imaging tools to study the areas of the brain activated when thinking about a loved one.

Enough to make romantic poets and writers turn over in their graves; the study gives yet another scientific explanation of attraction. The findings of Stephanie Ortigue, love science expert, support a long-suspected theory on the source of amorous feelings. Apparently, the moment one person falls for another, 12 areas of the brain work in tandem to release dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and vasopression into the bloodstream. These highly addictive substances, released in the presence of a loved one, basically train the person to become addicted to their mate.

This is what makes breaking up so hard. Still, the Syracuse professor by no means claims to understand all facets of emotional bonding. Check out her convoluted answer when asked the age-old question: “Does the heart fall in love, or the brain?”

“That’s a tricky question always. I would say the brain, but the heart is also related because the complex concept of love is formed by both bottom-up and top-down processes from the brain to the heart and vice versa. For instance, activation in some parts of the brain can generate stimulations to the heart, butterflies in the stomach. Some symptoms we sometimes feel as a manifestation of the heart may sometimes be coming from the brain.”

What’s interesting is the fact that feelings of love stem from the same area of the brain targeted by pain-killing drugs. This may explain why those addicted to strong pain-killers have such strong emotional side effects.

Journal of Sexual Medicine
Oct 2010