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Each week on TestTubePlus, we pick one topic and cover it from multiple angles. This series will be taking a deeper look at the science of love and human connection. Over the next five episodes, host Trace Dominguez will be talking about how love affects us, the different types of love, and how people express love differently. To kick-off the series, Trace explains the different stages of love, and their affects on our brains and bodies.
Falling in love has broad effects in your limbic system, which is our body's reward center.
In the early stages of love, when you begin to "fall for someone", studies have shown that your brain releases the neurotransmitters dopamine, adrenaline and norepinephrine
while it decreases levels of serotonin. This causes a feeling of euphoria and even obsessive-compulsive behavior, but mostly exclusive to the the "honeymoon phase" of a relationship. Are you infatuation fades, your brain gets used to the flood of these chemicals. Instead, it starts to release vasopressin and oxytocin, which cause a feeling of well-being and security. The so-called "honeymoon phase" is over, as people start to feel more a more long-term attraction. When scientists studied the brains of married couples, they found they had more activity in the posterior globus pallidus parts of the brain. These areas are usually associated with pleasure and pain relief and activated when you eat your favorite food or take drugs.
What about when things don't quite go as planned and you split up? Johns Hopkins University Studies found that our body respond to the emotional stress of a broken heart like it were a physical illness. They found release stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and and increase in the body's immune responses. Their study found these hormone levels were three times the levels of someone having an actual heart attack, so the affects of a heartbreak are real, physical and measurable. This lack of pleasure chemicals in the brain mean getting over a heartbreak isn't unlike getting over an addiction. Studies have show dumped people looking at photos of their old partners actually caused a dopamine release: this is the science behind why people stalk their ex on social media.
TestTube Plus is built for enthusiastic science fans seeking out comprehensive conversations on the geeky topics they love. Each week, host Trace Dominguez probes deep to unearth the details, latest developments, and opinions on big topics like boobs, porn, the ocean, stereotypes, fear, survival, dreams, space travel, and many more.
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This Is Your Brain on Heartbreak (Greater Good)
"As most of us know all too well, when you're reeling from the finale of a romantic relationship that you didn't want to end, your emotional and bodily reactions are a tangle: You're still in love and want to reconcile, but you're also angry and confused; simultaneously, you're jonesing for a "fix" of the person who has abruptly left your life, and you might go to dramatic, even embarrassing, lengths to get it, even though part of you knows better."
Study: Women hurt more by breakups but recover more fully (Eureka Alert)
"Women experience more emotional pain following a breakup, but they also more fully recover, according to new research from Binghamton University. Researchers from Binghamton University and University College London asked 5,705 participants in 96 countries to rate the emotional and physical pain of a breakup on a scale of one (none) to 10 (unbearable)."