Why do we fall in love?

Last Updated: Thu, Feb 14, 2013 05:30 hrs

After William Shakespeare asked, 'What is love?' centuries ago, brain imaging studies are known allowing scientists to give at least a partial answer.

New studies show love is in the mind - a complex emotion triggered by 12 specific areas of the brain.

These areas form the network of love, write Todd Lindeman and Alberto Cuadra.

Potent potion ... falling head over heels in love happens in three phases - lust, attraction and emotional attachment, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The outer area of the brain helps determine awareness, perception, reasoning and judgment.

This is the area that makes us feel that our partner makes us whole. It is the area that helps us focus on one partner while ignoring all others and helps us understand a partner's intentions.

The thalamus, a large mass of gray matter in the core of the brain, is like Central Station - an impulse relay centre at the heart of the love network.

Neuroscientists are studying the brain to gain a better understanding of how the network of love may provide doctors, psychologists and other therapists with new treatments or medicines for those who suffer from disorders associated with dysfunctional relationships, love addiction, love deprivation, unrequited love, rejection or loneliness.

Deep inside the brain, a complex set of structures in and around the limbic system is responsible for our emotions.

This pleasure-and-reward area plays a role in how we feel, how we express what we feel and in the formation of both good and bad memories.

When times are great this area is flooded with the chemical dopamine.

Whether you are enjoying a good meal, running a five-kilometre race or giving a dozen long-stemmed roses to your loved one, the euphoria generated in these feel-good areas compels us to repeat the behaviour. (ANI)

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