TIME magazine has the science of love as a theme for its annual mind and body issue. It includes articles on why we love [evolution-need for procreation-thats all], how we flirt [head tilt-hair flick-the usual stuff], a photo album of famous couples in love [a picture I like- Bogart and Bacall], love letters [which made me tear up, silly sap], kids and gay relationships. Its interesting how various articles are targeted towards a particular readership segment.
Here are some tidbits that I found interesting.
Menstrual cycles of women who live communally synchronize. We all know that. But, this shift is regulated by pheromones, so that no single ovulating female can monopolize all the males. Thats the part I didn't know. Pretty cool.
Corollary study- Ovulating strippers make more money in tips compared to their colleagues. [Corollary number 2- midcycle might be a good time to ask for a raise. Just sayin.]
When we smell and kiss potential mates, we are looking for MHC [major histocompatibility complex] clues, so that we can choose mates with significantly differing MHCs, increasing the chances of successful conception.
This MHC system can be thrown off by contraceptive pills, which might indirectly contribute to divorce. (Women choose a mate when they're on the pill, get off the pill to get pregnant, and fall out of love. Duh.)
If you kiss someone long enough, they can actually pass you enough testosterone to make you more..um..frisky. [Thanks for explaining that one.]
The true-love thrill is no more than a rush of Dopamine, a chemical high, if you will. If it continues, other chemicals like serotonin, oxytocin and higher areas of the brain get involved, leading to a cascade of reactions.
We don't fall in love because the other person is attractive, they seem attractive because we are in love, and floating in a chemical soup. (Which explains all the what did she see in him?! kinda situations.)
And finally, what I always suspected. People who are rejected in love and can't shake the pain have increased activity in that part of the caudate nucleus thats associated with addiction.
Lovoholics Anonymous, anyone?