Love in the Brain Essay

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Love in the Brain

Does brain equal behavior? Some people have argued that they have difficulty saying it does because they find it hard to believe that our individual, tangible brain controls emotions that many consider to be intangible, such as being in love. This paper will discuss the role that the brain actually plays in love- why we are attracted to certain people, why we feel the way we do when we are around them, and whether or not this is enough to say that in the case of love, brain does equal behavior.

The first stage of romantic love begins with attraction. Whether you have been best friends for a long time or you just met the person, you begin your romantic relationship when there is that feeling of
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In addition, an experiment by McClintock showed that women were attracted to the smell of a man who was genetically similar, but not too similar, to their fathers ((1)). Therefore, our genetic information might play a role in whether or not someone is desirable in order to avoid inbreeding or, on the other end of the spectrum, to avoid the loss of desirable gene combinations. Inevitably, however, it is our brain that processes another individual's appearance, lifestyle, how they relate to past individuals we have met, and, possibly, their pheromones. Then, based on this information, we decide, within our brain, whether or not this person is worth getting to know.

Almost immediately thereafter, it is uncontroversial that when someone experiences an attraction for someone else, their brain triggers the release of certain chemicals. These adrenaline-like chemicals include phenylethylamine (PEA) which speeds up the flow of information between nerve cells, dopamine, and norepinephrine (both of which are similar to amphetamines). Dopamine makes you feel good and norepinephrine stimulates the production of adrenaline. Together, these chemicals explain why when we are around someone we are attracted to we feel a "rush" and our heart beats faster ((8)). However, if you have ever been in love, you know that these feelings somewhat subside as you become more comfortable with someone and move from
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