Love is a topic that has inspired philosophers, poets, musicians and novelists for generations. The word itself comes from the Latin root luva, meaning “lust.” Love is such an important part of life that it has become a subject of study in many fields, including biology, psychology, and philosophy. The subject is so complex that different people have many opinions about what love means.
In the past, it was widely believed that love arose from the heart. After all, when you fall in love, your cheeks are flushed, your palms sweaty, and your heart beats faster. This is all because of a rush of hormones and chemicals, such as dopamine, adrenaline, and norepinephrine, that are released by the brain. The chemical oxytocin, which is produced during attachment and cuddling, is also thought to be involved in love.
Today, scientists have a more scientific understanding of the way the brain works in different stages of love. Research shows that when a person falls in love, there is a surge of activity in the brain’s reward system, and especially the ventral tegmental area (VTA), which controls desire, motivation and concentration. These areas light up when you’re in love, and are the same ones activated when you’re using drugs or drinking alcohol.
But that’s not the whole story. There are other factors that go into the decision to love someone. There’s the proximity factor, or propinquity, which involves a sense of familiarity and closeness to another person — whether they live near you, spend time with you, think about you, or just see them often. There’s also the desire factor, which refers to a person’s attractiveness and personality, and how much you like them.
Finally, there’s the social influence factor, which has to do with how well a person fits into your values and expectations, as well as how much they’re liked or disliked in the community. Some psychologists argue that these social and biological influences are what cause people to love someone else.
While the word love can mean different things for different people, most can agree that it’s a feeling of strong affection, loyalty, and protection. In addition to being a powerful emotion in human relationships, it can also be used to describe non-human animals, and even political or religious beliefs. We hope you enjoy our exploration of the complicated topic of love.