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10 Interesting Facts About Love You Probably Don’t Know, According to Science

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10 Interesting Facts About Love You Probably Don’t Know, According to Science

When you think about love, you probably picture couples holding hands or driving off into the sunset together. You might picture yourself falling in love with the one special person of your dreams. You might even have a list of things your perfect mate should embody. The thing is, there are many biological factors that go into “falling in love.” Love is overly romanticized in today’s culture, so you probably don’t know these scientific facts about love.

Falling in love is exciting. Colors seem brighter. Obstacles seem to vanish. The whole world is a more beautiful place because of our newfound lover. Although this may seem true at the moment, some of those strong feelings are occurring due to chemicals released in the brain. Although the science behind love isn’t extremely romantic, it is quite fascinating to realize the complexity of our bodies.

1. Both males and females must have adequate testosterone for sexual attraction.

Yes, even women have small amounts of testosterone. Testosterone creates desire as well as aggressive behavior, which may push you to pursue the person who is creating this desire.

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2. We can sense and are attracted to a person with a different immune system.

If this isn’t bizarre, I don’t know what is. This finding came about during a study conducted by Claude Wedekind of the University of Switzerland. He had women test subjects smell unwashed T-shirts of men. Women consistently preferred the smell of the man’s shirt whose immune system was different than their own. Apparently the same findings were discovered in rodents.

3. Falling in love is as addicting as cocaine or nicotine.

Dopamine, a chemical that is released during the initial attraction stage of the relationship is also activated when using cocaine and nicotine. It gives you that rush of pleasure and happiness that makes those drugs so addicting. It also enhances the release of testosterone, which as stated above is essential for attraction. I suppose falling in love would be the safer drug of choice if you had to choose between the three.

4. Love can literally make you crazy.

Something you may or may not know about love is that it can lead to serious infatuation. The same levels of serotonin that bring about the infatuation are found in those with obsessive-compulsive disorder, which is an anxiety disorder. This is probably why you cannot seem to think of anyone else when you have fallen in love.

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5. Love needs to be “blind” for survival.

It does not seem to matter what others say to a new lover—he or she is always perfect in our eyes. This blindness is critical for us to move forward in our relationship and is usually required to move onto the “attachment stage” as scientists call it so that they can stay in love long enough to have and raise children; in other words, to populate the earth.

6. Your nerve cells work better during the first year of love.

A protein in our bodies called Nerve Growth Factor (NGF) that is important for the functions of certain sympathetic and sensory nerve cells seems to thrive during the first year of being in love. Basically our senses are heightened and our fight or flight response system is more active during young love.

7. Romantic love and the love between a mother and child share a similar chemical connection.

The hormone oxytocin is released during child birth and when a child nurses as well as during orgasm. Oxytocin is thought to help long-term bonding.

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8. When you take away one of the key “bonding” hormones, the attachment will disappear.

A study was done on prairie voles, a rodent that forms a long-term mating pair, where the hormone vasopressin was suppressed. These pore voles lost their interest in their mate immediately and did not even protect one another from new mates.

9. We are attracted to those who look and/or smell similar to one of our parents.

As creepy as this sounds, a partner who looks similar to one of our parents is found to be comforting. If you are a female and your father wore certain cologne, it is a familiar and comforting scent. This makes sense, but let’s not bring Freud into this.

10. We also tend to fall in love with someone who looks like ourselves.

Talk about narcissistic, right? Aside from facial features, hair color and eye color, we also tend to be attracted to those with the same lung volumes, ear lobe lengths and metabolic rates.

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Although we might not want to think about these things when we are falling head over heels, it might be necessary to remind ourselves to not completely lose our heads in the chemical love spell we are surely under.
Also see: The Science of Happiness 

Sources: BBC: The Science of Love, Wiki: Biological Basis of Love, BBC: Sensual Signals

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Amanda DeWitt

Writer. Photographer. Instagrammer. Future Educator.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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