4 Ways in Which Being In-Love Affects the Brain

- Falling in love can produce very intense cognitive and effective changes - Love modifies certain brain's chemicals, such as hormones and neurotransmitters - CogniFit expert distinguishes 4 consequences that love has on our brain

Falling in love can be a thrilling and amazing experience. It is associated with very intense cognitive and affective changes such as euphoria, joy, arousal and even obsessional thoughts about the significant other. Human brains are wired to long a connection with others. This explains why humans experience loneliness and rejection as threats to survival. Several studies have shown that people in love tend to mirror each other’s facial expressions and gestures. Steenbergen et al. (2014) discovered an association between passionate love and less cognitive control. Specifically in cognitive functions, such as attention memory, language comprehension, and emotional processing. This proves that being in-love can affect how the brain functions and how it processes this sought out emotion.

A world leader in neuropsychological testing, brain training, and cognitive stimulation, for the past 20 years, CogniFit has been working to optimize brain function and train over 20 different cognitive skills. Neuropsychologists at CogniFit share the importance of emotions on cognitive skills and how strong emotions such as love can affect the brain.

Estefanía Egea, a clinical psychologist at CogniFit, says “it is important to know the changes that love produces in our brain because this will ultimately modify our behavior. When we are in love, we tend to spend more time with the person object of our affection, and we increase our intimacy. Viewed in these terms, love is an evolutionary mechanism that favors the survival of our species. Since love has such an important function, it is logical that it has the ability to modify various parts of our brain to achieve its purpose. Mainly we could distinguish 4 consequences that love has on our brain.”

  1. Love activates the brain’s pleasure system: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans done to the nucleus accumbens, part of the brain’s pleasure center, have unveiled that this region lights up when people are in love. The surge of blood in this brain area happens when two people are attracted to each other. This suggests that blood flow increases in the reward circuit of the brain when people fall in love.

  2. Love alters brain hormones: Helen Fischer (1948) established that love has three stages lust, attraction, and attachment. During the lust stage, hormones, such as adrenaline and norepinephrine invade the brain to produce intense desire. Experts have studied the brain during this stage and noticed that the brain releases dopamine in response to love, especially lust, which in turn causes euphoria. These hormones, along with oxytocin and vasopressin; create feelings of well-being and security when in love.

  3. Love makes the brain a little obsessive: A common attribute of obsessive-compulsive disorders (OCD) are lower levels of serotonin in the brain. Love has proven to lower levels of this neurotransmitter as well, creating similarities between the two. When people are in love, they may focus on the object of their affection and nothing else. It can also explain the famous saying “love is blind” since the person chooses to focus only on the good and doesn’t seem to notice their partner's undesirable traits.

  4. Love works just like a drug: Seeing an attractive person, even before falling in love, activates areas of the brain related to painkillers. Olga Chelnokova, a psychologist at the University of Oslo, found that when given small amounts of morphine, men found women’s faces as more attractive. This suggests that the opioid system in the brain, responsible for controlling pain, reward and addictive behaviors is related to attractiveness and lust and, therefore; it can be primed to be involved in the process of being in love.

Love can, therefore, affect your brain in multiple ways. Seeing as brain functions are highly related to cognitive skills, it is important to keep them trained and at an optimal level in order to not lose cognitive control.

For further inquiries and media interviews, please contact Thomas Mann at media@cognifit.com.

About CogniFit

CogniFit is a global leader in developing online programs to assess and train core cognitive areas such as attention, memory, coordination, perception, and reasoning. As a digital health company, CogniFit specializes in scientifically validated cognitive tests and brain training programs, all available online at www.cognifit.com.

CogniFit's patented technology has been designed by an international team of scientists, neurologists, and psychologists who investigate and combine the latest discoveries on the brain with advanced adaptive algorithms and big data analytics. For 20 years, CogniFit has been developing personalized brain fitness programs with leading scientific institutions and published its results in several peer-reviewed publications.

As a major vendor in the cognitive assessment and training market, CogniFit offers its programs to individuals and companies in various verticals, such as healthcare, education, research, health and wellness, driving and human resources. Its brain fitness solutions are available in 19 languages.

Source: CogniFit