People in love often talk about having a certain "chemistry." If it sounds silly, it's not, according to new research which is looking at that chemistry up close. Turns out you can see real love in the brain.
Researchers took brain scans of couples who said they were madly in love first looking at their sweetheart then looking at a neutral person. They found when people look at someone they love romantically there is more activity in certain parts of the brain that produce chemicals called dopamine and norepineprhine. These chemicals are involved in the brain's reward system.
"So that finally got me to realize that romantic love is not an emotion but a drive. I think it's a basic mating drive, a drive as powerful as hunger," explains Dr.Helen Fisher, anthropologist.
But Dr. Fisher says love looks different in the brain scans of men and women. For men, it shows up in the region of visual stimuli for the women, love shows up in the memory section, and since Dr. Fisher is an anthropologist, she says the reason is simple.
For thousands of years, a man picked a woman visually based on who might bear a child, but women picked a man based on who would be kind, supportive, and protective, and you can't tell all that just by looking. So that increases activity in the memory section of the brain instead.