New study proves that “love really is all in the mind”

Photo Credit: The Art of Love

HEFEI, China – Recent research by scientist claim to discover the secrets of how the emotion affects the brain, possibly making way for the creation of a love test, as reported by Medical Daily.

According to the study, researchers were able to put together puzzle pieces, making the first map of the changes that occur in the brain once a person is in love.

By scanning the brains of men and women who said they were in love, and comparing those with people who had fallen out of love or never been in love, the basic comparison was gathered.

The study made use of a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan (fMRI). The equipment measures brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. The study showed that love involves a dozen different areas of the brain, with one specific area, called caudate nucleus, dealing with the ending of a love affair.

Photo Credit: Medical Daily
Photo Credit: Medical Daily

Professor Xiaochu Zhang of the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, who led the study said that there is a cocktail of chemicals that also carries messages from one region to another.

“Our study provides the first evidence of love-related alterations in the underlying architecture of the brain and the results shed new light on the mechanisms of romantic love,” said Professor Zhang whose work was published in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience.

Part of the study involved showing the researchers’ romantic photographs of their partners while scanning their brains. Result derived from the study might be used for the “possibility of applying a resting-state fMRI approach” in testing for romantic love; thus opening the way for fMRI tests to diagnose love.

Photo Credit: Medical Daily
Photo Credit: Medical Daily

The study covered 100 men and women who said they were intensely in love, or had recently ended a romantic relationship or had never had a romance. They were all given instruction to think of anything during the scans, aiming to capture the changes that will occur in the brains of people in love, and how the areas work together as well.

Study results show that areas of the brain involved in reward, motivation, emotion, and social functioning are active when one is in love. The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, insula, caudate, amygdala, and nucleus accumbens, as well as the temporo-parietal, are the brain areas that are more active in people who are in love.