What is love? Cite a source from an .EDU domain.
According to Rutgers University, love is comprised of three categories and each category is connected to chemicals in our brain.
These three categories are: Lust, attraction, and attachment.
Lust is characterized by testosterone and estrogen.
Attraction is characterized by dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine.
Attachment is characterized by oxytocin and vasopressin.
Lust is driven by sexual gratification, attraction is similar in characteristics, and attachment is what drives long-term relationships.
We all fall in love, some more than the other. Have you ever wondered, “what is love?”.
Research shows that it is more than just butterflies in the stomach and something that is beyond the control of our emotions alone. It involves releasing chemicals like serotonin and dopamine that make us feel good and want more of love. And as the relationship lasts longer, love binds people at a neurological level. Although initially, it’s an attraction, as relationships move from lust to love, chemicals such as oxytocin are released and attachment starts growing. As time passes, each is willing to make more sacrifices for the other and take care of each other. So although it starts off as an emotional event, it is backed by biological factors beyond our control.
Love is a feeling that inspires us and motivates us all, perhaps more profoundly than any other human emotion. However, it can also cause us to suffer as few things can. The sense of loss we sometimes experience when love is involved cuts so deep that, throughout history, the most celebrated artists, poets, and philosophers have dedicated their entire lives to figuring out just what the heck love is.
However, succinctly defining love can be extremely complicated because there are very many shades of love. The concept of love varies from culture to culture; heck, often, the idea of love differs from individual to individual. Love is easily influenced by society, and there is a multitude of manifestations associated with it.
Scientists have also taken an honest shot at attempting to decipher the mysteries of love from a non-romantic perspective. As it turns out, the concept of love, be it physical or emotional, is tied to a multitude of complex biological systems and cognitive-behavioral loops.
One of the most significant findings to come out of these studies is that love acts upon the structures of the brain in much the same way that addictive drugs do. Love can modify brain function and alter the mechanisms that govern the reward centers of our mind.
When we fall in love, for example, we release insane amounts of various neurotransmitters such as serotonin, which is the feel-good chemical of the brain. That is why loving someone feels so fantastic in the beginning; it becomes rewarding in and of itself. Love also causes a constant cascade of adrenaline and dopamine, both of which have been observed, in similar concentrations, in the blood of drug addicts when they are craving for a fix.
This neurochemical flood, which elevates us to such great heights when we fall in love, also causes the deepest and most painful plunges into despair when it is lost.
So, what is love? Sadly, no one really knows.
The cynics will tell you that it is nothing more than a biochemical mechanism which encourages procreation. I personally don’t believe that. If it were that simple, we wouldn’t love our pets, our family, and our dead loved ones.
Whatever it is, Love transcends chemistry, culture, and everything in between.
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