The Biology of Romance

A group of researchers are studying the biological basis of romantic love. No matter how much we talk about love from the heart (or other organs), they've found it really is all in your head.
In humans, there are four tiny areas of the brain that some researchers say form a circuit of love. [Dr. Bianca] Acevedo, who works at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York, is part of a team that has isolated those regions with the unromantic names of ventral tegmental area (VTA), the nucleus accumbens, the ventral pallidum and raphe nucleus.

The hot spot is the teardrop-shaped VTA. When people newly in love were put in a functional magnetic resonance imaging machine and shown pictures of their beloved, the VTA lit up. Same for people still madly in love after 20 years.

The VTA is part of a key reward system in the brain.

"These are cells that make dopamine and send it to different brain regions," said Helen Fisher, a researcher and professor at Rutgers University. "This part of the system becomes activated because you're trying to win life's greatest prize - a mating partner."

Link -via Geek Like Me

(image credit: Larry Young, PhD.)

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