The Science of Love

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 [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?

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About purplesque

Psychiatrist, cook, bookworm, photographer. Not necessarily in that order.
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15 Responses to The Science of Love

  1. Lakshmi says:

    Wow..that was interesting. The chemistry in life IS fascinating.

  2. LeendaDLL says:

    Interesting. So maybe going ON birth control has something to do with my partner pretty much dumping me. I like blaming that more than anything else!!Love the "long kiss" science too!!

  3. Purplesque says:

    They did a test where women had to chose Tshirts worn by men based on the attraction of smell. Normally where women would choose men with significantly different MHCs, being on the pill threw them off. But I like the idea of blaming pheromones for things gone wrong as well ..its not me, its his MHC! :))

  4. Emjay says:

    Those are interesting and entertaining at the same time!! The chemistry of stripping and tips is ……. I can't think of a word to put here – but maybe that is the time to ask my husband to go shopping with me!

  5. Purplesque says: has its uses beyond the schoolroom, doesn't it. Good luck and please post the results of your scientific experiment!

  6. terrific post — fascinating info – I once knew a man who yelled "Pheromones!!" whenever a couple of his female employees would be in the same office or go to break together, or in any way spend more than the "normal" amount of time together– he didn't want the balance of things to be tilted! LOL — he was a pharmacist and a chemist and a really nice man, but didn't like the idea of having women "chemically connected." This would be a great post for Valentine's Day, too! (IMO)

  7. Purplesque says:

    Loll..I wonder how his employees reacted to that.You are absolutely right..I'm planning to do a presentation at work on this topic, close to Valentine's day. Might give people new ideas, such as not washing for a few days before the big day..extra doses of olfactory aphrodisiac! 🙂

  8. I was one of his employees, for a while — and we "girls" would meet in little bunches, in our offices, and giggle – when we knew he'd be around to hear. We were so bad. He did catch on – and thought it was funny. But he didn't stop yelling "Peromones!!" presentation at work on this topic Great idea!

  9. Purplesque says:

    Oh lord, I keep seeing this goofy old man with a big mustache yelling "Pheromones" at a group of't blame you for being bad, the idea is rather irresistible.

  10. bee says:

    so i'm right. marriage being a spiritual union and all that is a bunch of hocus pocus.

  11. Purplesque says:

    You most definitely are, as far as I'm concerned. :)Marriage is a ritual created by society to make sure people do what they are supposed to, just like any other law. Peer pressure in a fancy wrap. Our natural instincts, obviously, tend to run in the other direction (why else would females synchronize their ovulation?)Spiritual union? Bah. Hopefully, a companionship of the minds and comfort for the soul.

  12. Karen Lynn says:

    thanks for the information and the giggles at 11pm :))interesting stuff! (going back to bed to sniff DH)

  13. Purplesque says:

    You're very welcome. ( I have a hunch DH passed the sniff test.)

  14. Karen Lynn says:

    don't laugh, but i did sniff his cheek when i kissed him goodnight. (he was out like a light) he passed :))

  15. Purplesque says:

    *biting my lip not to laugh*

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