Palms Sweaty, Hearts Ready: the Science Behind Falling in Love

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Love is a phenomenon that strikes at least once in our lives. As Valentines Day comes upon us, though, it might make one question: why is it really that we fall in love? Science has long since tried to crack the code behind the butterflies that often flutter in your stomach when you lock eyes with the one you love. What is it? Why does it happen?


An assortment of chemicals light up our lives by creating a chain reaction that is triggered in our bodies. This reaction is our brain’s very own love potion, brewed carefully and quickly just for you. Falling in love is a natural occurrence and we can’t fight it. On average, according to a study by Arthur Arn, our brains give us anywhere between 4 seconds to 1 minute to figure out if we’ve been struck by cupid’s arrow.

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3 Stages

Here are the 3 Scientific Stages That Happen When You Fall In Love:


This first stage of love has a huge impact on who we choose to date. It’s not possible to tell someone’s personality before you ever speak to them (unless you’re a mind-reader), so people often approach their someone based solely on the fact that they’re attracted to their looks. Lust occurs in the hypothalamus. This is the area of the brain that’s responsible for estrogen and testosterone production.A hormone closely related to dopamine and norepinephrine, is also responsible for lust. The effects of norepinephrine, or noradrenaline, makes you feel alert and energetic. It can also decrease appetite and lead to a euphoric state of mind. It’s the reason why, when you first meet that special someone, you can’t stop thinking about them, why your palms get sweaty, why your stomach hurts from being without them.


Attraction, the second “stage” of love, is a formula derived from norepinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. This formula is what triggers a sense of infatuation. Basically, these three chemicals in our brain cause a reaction very similar to a drug. It gets us high on someone else. The common side-effects include: a surge of energy, increase in productivity, increase in sleep, and dilated pupils.


And here we are. The final stage of falling: love. This is often considered the most long lasting reaction, because it’s said that once you get here, you’ve reached the ultimate, longest lasting stage. The chemicals involved in this process are called Oxytocin and Vasopressin. These are peptide hormones consisting of a chain of amino acid residues, the same as proteins.

Oxytocin is one of the most powerful hormones released in the human body. It formulates attachment to another person and plays a key role in the engagement between two people. Vasopressin usually performs its operations in the kidney and is actually a tool that your body uses to control thirst. However, when it comes to l-o-v-e, the secretion of vasopressin between two people helps with attraction, attachment, and security.


I know that this doesn’t seem very romantic – the secretion of chemicals in your pituitary gland – but these chemicals are the reason for that palm sweaty, heart heavy kind of love so in many ways – you should thank your body for being cupid and bringing you and your loved one together. So, on this Valentines Day, remember that it’s science that lies behind all of the chocolate and the romance.

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