The link between vasopressin and Valentine’s

GQ brought you A Brief History of the Booty. Esquire brought you the V-Day Gift Guide. Now, the Pleiad is bringing you the science of love on this Valentine’s Day.

Contrary to what Hallmark and Victoria’s Secret tells you, falling in love is actually a result of evolution. The chemistry behind love has developed to keep the human race reproducing.

In a recent article, the British Broadcasting Company explained that there are three phases of love: lust, attraction and attachment. Lust is driven by testosterone and estrogen. Attraction is dependent on dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine. Lastly, oxytocin and vasopressin play an important role in the attachment phase. Both oxytocin and vasopressin are released during sex. Love and sex are biological.

According to psychologists, falling in love with someone is dependent on other factors besides appearance. Actually, seven percent of attraction is based on what the opposite person says, 38% based on the tone of his or her voice and 55% based on his or her body language.

Breaking up has been researched in science, too. A biological anthropologist at Rutgers University, Helen Fischer, examined 14 people who were “in love” with an MRI. She noticed that when these people looked at pictures of their exes, the region of the brain associated with rewards was activated.

At the University of Amsterdam, scientists monitored heart rates of people who were “socially rejected.” When the subjects realized they were “rejected,” the parasympathetic nervous system released hormones that slowed down heart rates. Rates dropped even further if the subject believed they were going to receive a positive opinion.

So, the science speaks. Roses are red, violets are blue, I have hormone imbalances, and so do you.

Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

About Nicholas Diamond 50 Articles
Nick is a junior from Rochester, Mich., majoring in French and minoring in cell and molecular biology. He has interests in serving Doctors Without Borders and in writing medical journalism. Follow him on Twitter @docteur_diamond.

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