Happy Valentine’s Day from Down Under

Here’s a lovely story to set the heart racing, cribbed from the Feb. 14 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald.

Under the headline “Love & Lust: it’s a chemical romance” the article tells how new studies show how “love is in the mind – a complex emotion triggered by 12 specific areas of the brain.”

The article quotes biological anthropologist Helen Fisher of the Centre of Human Evolution Studies at Rutgers University: “Romantic love is one of the most addictive substances on earth.”

The article goes on to explain that falling head over heels in love happens in three phases: Lust, Attraction and Emotional Attachment.

During each phase different chemicals are released in the brain. For example, during the attachment phase the so-called love hormone Oxytocin kicks in,  and kissing and cuddling sends levels soaring. We figured that though, didn’t we?

But wait. Here’s the part that tickles my fancy. The other prevalent chemical released in the attachment phase is Vasopressin, which is believed to encourage bonding.

Studies on the promiscuous male meadow vole revealed that when given extra vasopressin it became a faithful mate.

I’m not sure how scientists actually proved this. Perhaps Mr. Vole had alot of headaches, or just didn’t feel like playing around during the study period. Who knows?

Happy Valentine’s Day, anyway. And may your Ocytocin levels rise.

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