For our first Valentine's Day a few years back, my boy got me chocolate brains! Not only does he know me extremely well, but he also had it right—love originates in the brain
, not the heart.
But what exactly is going on between the ears when those warm and fuzzy feeling wash over us? A new study out just in time for Chocolate Day reveals that love actually acts like an addictive drug. Hmmm, it seems that Ke$ha
also got it right...
Researchers at Stony Brook University in New York examined the neural correlates of intense, long-term love using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) in 10 women and 7 men. fMRI measures brain activity as a function of changes in blood flow. The participants, married an average of 21 years, underwent imaging while viewing either an image of their partner's face, or a familiar acquaintance.
Compared to viewing the acquaintance, areas specifically activated when viewing their spouse included:
• Regions of the dopamine-rich reward system, including the ventral teg . . . More