How cupid’s arrows find their mark inside your brain

Your brain in love

Men and women can now thank a dozen brain regions for their romantic fervor. Researchers have revealed the fonts of desire by comparing functional MRI studies of people who indicated they were experiencing passionate love, maternal love or unconditional love. Together, the regions release neuro­transmitters and other chemicals in the brain and blood that prompt greater euphoric sensations such as attraction and pleasure. Conversely, psychiatrists might someday help individuals who become dan­gerously depressed after a heartbreak by adjusting those chemicals.

Passion also heightens several cognitive functions, as the brain regions and chemicals surge. “It’s all about how that network interacts,” says Stephanie Ortigue, an assistant professor of psychology at Syracuse University, who led the study. The cognitive functions, in turn, “are triggers that fully activate the love network.”

Tell that to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day!

Graphics by James W. Lewis, West Virginia University (brain), and Jen Christiansen.

Source: Scientific American

Weekly Update

People’s brains are more responsive to friends than to strangers, even if the stranger has more in common, according to a study in the Oct. 13 issue of The Journal of Neuroscience.

In Time magazine’s What Your Brain Looks Like After 20 Years of Marriage, Belinda Luscomb has been taking a look at the neuroscience of love.

And speaking of love, new research has also found that falling in love only takes about a fifth of a second!

And what exactly is going on in your brain if you are looking back with nostalgia at past loves? I came across a fascinating article on the neuroscience of nostalgia and memories.

Now a question for you? How many of you feel you have lost the art of writing by hand, now that we are all so computer literate these days?  Associate professor Anne Mangen at the University of Stavanger’s Reading Centre asks if something is lost in switching from book to computer screen, and from pen to keyboard and discovers that writing by hand does indeed strengthen the learning process.