“To love is to suffer. To avoid suffering one must not love. But then one suffers from not loving. Therefore to love is to suffer, not to love is to suffer. To suffer is to suffer. To be happy is to love. To be happy then is to suffer. But suffering makes one unhappy. Therefore, to be unhappy one must love, or love to suffer, or suffer from too much happiness. I hope you’re getting this down.”
– Woody Allen
When it comes to love there’s no special secret or ingredient to make it perfect and there are no magical love potions to make a person fall for your personality. There was a recent study conducted that can be found on frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The study suggests that because love is a known emotion to many that a simple MRI scan can verify whether or not you’re truly in love with your boyfriend, girlfriend or spouse.
The study was able to give a good illustration that clearly highlighted areas of your brain that are most closely associated with reward, happiness, pleasure and even motivation and social function. These emotions have a higher amount of activity when you are IN LOVE with a person. And while there are different levels of love—this study really does a great job fixating on the romantic side of things. The study made sure to take into consideration people who have felt love, lost love and are currently looking for love.
The goal was to find specific patterns in the brain—which is really neat. Each of the participants were split into groups, they were as follows, “in love, end of love and single.” All of the participates had to be healthy around the same age range.
How exactly does the scan work? Well, it works by allowing the researcher to visually see which parts of the brain light up(we have a lot of hormones up there believe it or not, dopamine, oxytocin and vasopressin), are just a few of the hormones and chemicals traveling through our mind. People that were in loved had increased activity in the portion of the brain that dealt with motivation, emotion and rewards. And as this study furthers in progression, we can hope that maybe this could become a great tool for couples therapy because sometimes life knocks you down and you have to fall back in love with life.