FEB 11, 2016 4:08 PM PST

The Neuroscience of Love

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Love is definitely in the air as Valentine's Day draws nearer. We usually express our love with red heart balloons or heart-shaped boxes of chocolates. After all, the brain thinks while the heart feels, right? While this is a romantic notion, it's not entirely accurate, biologically speaking.

As it turns out, love and all its emotional, physical, and psychological manifestations originate in the brain. More specifically, it comes from an almond size structure in the brain known as the hypothalamus. This structure is the body's control station for autonomic nervous processes, like hunger, thirst, sex, and pleasure.

When it comes to love, the hypothalamus is why you feel butterflies in your stomach, or why your hands get clammy when you get near your secret crush. The hypothalamus also affects the release of hormones that make us feel and do strange things when in love. Of note, it produces oxytocin, the famous "cuddle hormone" that makes us feel attached to our loved ones.

It's remarkable this almond-sized organ is responsible for so much of our love life. Watch the video to learn more about why the brain may be more romantic than the heart after all.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
MAY 25, 2020
Plants & Animals
Ever Wonder How Some Fish Produce Electricity?
MAY 25, 2020
Ever Wonder How Some Fish Produce Electricity?
When you hear the term ‘electric fish,’ the first thing that probably comes to mind is the infamous electric ...
JUN 09, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Why SpaceX's Droneship Footage Often Cuts Out During Landings
JUN 09, 2020
Why SpaceX's Droneship Footage Often Cuts Out During Landings
SpaceX has nearly mastered the art of landing the first stages of the plethora of rockets its sends into space so that t ...
JUN 09, 2020
Plants & Animals
The Awesome Science Behind Chameleons
JUN 09, 2020
The Awesome Science Behind Chameleons
Most people recognize the humble chameleon as a type of lizard that can change its body colors. But contrary to popular ...
JUN 26, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Astrophysicists Find Evidence of Nearby Planet that May Sustain Life
JUN 26, 2020
Astrophysicists Find Evidence of Nearby Planet that May Sustain Life
Researchers have found that a nearby red dwarf star, known as Gliese 887, may host three planets, one of which could sus ...
JUL 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Should We Fly By Venus on the Way to Mars?
JUL 07, 2020
Should We Fly By Venus on the Way to Mars?
After landing on the Moon, heading to Mars became the next logical step for space exploration. Some suggest that flying ...
JUL 22, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Scientists Obtained Clues on the Mysteriously Fast Movement of Earth's Magnetic Poles
JUL 22, 2020
Scientists Obtained Clues on the Mysteriously Fast Movement of Earth's Magnetic Poles
Earth's magnetic poles have been on a hasty move in the last two decades. Recently, the geoscientists at Leeds Unive ...
Loading Comments...