Have you ever been in love? How long did it take you to fall in love? Was it love at first sight, or did it take you a couple of weeks or even months? Or, do you think that love is just a hoax?
According to researchers at Syracuse University, West Virginia University and a university hospital in Switzerland, falling in love only takes a fifth of a second!
The meta-analysis study, headed by Professor Stephanie Ortigue, was published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine and is titled, Neuroimaging of Love: fMRI Meta-Analysis Evidence toward New Perspectives in Sexual Medicine. The researchers used brain imaging to identify which parts of the brain were involved with passionate love and aimed to compare it with brain activity regarding other types of love.
Like a drug
Interestingly enough, the results showed that falling in love gives the same feeling of euphoria provided by cocaine, and at the same time, stimulates intellectual areas of the brain. So falling in love makes you feel good and makes you smarter! Who knew?
The reason you feel so great (euphoric, even!) is that 12 areas of your brain work to release feel-good chemicals like oxytocin, dopamine, and adrenaline. This process also makes you feel good about yourself, because the parts of the brain associated with body image are stimulated.
Types of Love
Also looked at in the study were the parts of the brain stimulated in regards to different types of love: maternal love, passionate love, etc. Maternal love, or unconditional love, is associated with the middle of the brain, while passionate love is associated with the reward part of the brain.
One reason this research is so important is because now that psychologists and counselors know which parts of the brain are affected by love, they can also apply that knowledge to the heartbreak and depression caused by rejection and break-up. This will allow therapists to understand and treat those suffering in a more effective way.
The most fascinating part of the study is that it showed that nerve growth factor, or NGF, increases when you fall in love. NGF is important in the phenomenon “love at first sight” and is involved with social chemistry in humans. This means that love is real and can be proven to exist. So there, all you skeptics!