So what does “I love you with all my heart” really mean? Today we are going to study love and learn about where it actually comes from. Although it is not uncommon for one to believe it comes directly from the heart, you may be surprised to hear that it may come directly from the brain.
You hear it in books and movies. There are even “I love you with all my heart” poems you have likely heard of from everyone who has ever expressed their love for you. Also, you have probably said it many times. However, after reading this article, you may soon be saying “I love you with all my brain.” We are going to learn about the major role the brain plays when one experiences love.
Human Brain: The Most Complex Object In The Known Universe
It is more complex than any other animal brain in the entire world: the human brain. It is the most complicated object in the known Universe. It is also the most fascinating object. The incredible brain contains 100 billion neurons, with each neuron connected to 10 thousand other neurons.
According to Dr. Michio Kaku (an American futurist and theoretical physicist), we have learned more about the human brain in just the last 10 to 15 years than in all of human history combined. Interestingly, scientists are currently working on mapping the human brain. According to Kaku, a complete map of the brain (all the way down to the neural level) will allow scientists to determine whether or not they can duplicate disorders such as schizophrenia, OCD and bi-polar disorder.
The above image is a very interesting diagram of a mouse’s brain. It shows how parts of the brain are connected. This is the very first brain-wide wiring diagram for a mammal at such a level of detail.
Since there is currently no map of the human brain, when it malfunctions, scientists think part of it is due to its wiring that’s been done incorrectly. We certainly need a complete map. However, it is going to be even more of a challenge to map the brain than it was mapping the human genome.
Although we have come a long way, we have a lot more to learn about the brain. Do you think this incredibly complex object is where the feeling of love comes from? This is a riveting question we will explore. We will also learn about the role of the heart (if there is any) when it comes to love.
Do Romantic Feelings Come From The Brain Or The Heart?
According to the experts, romantic love is one of the most powerful emotions a human being can have. Of course, most of us have experienced romantic feelings for another person at some point in life. When falling in love, you have butterflies in your stomach, you see your sweetheart and your heart suddenly starts to beat immensely fast, you may feel excited and very happy one minute and then very anxious the next. This is the perfect example of an emotional roller coaster.
So where do all of these feelings actually come from? Many would assume they come straight from the heart. However, interestingly, according to scientific research and a variety of different studies, these intense romantic feelings do not come from the heart, they come from the brain.
In a study of 10 women and 7 men who claimed to be deeply in love, researchers viewed magnetic resonance images of their brains. The participants were in relationships that had ranged from just one month to less than a couple of years. The study had required all of the participants to view some photographs of their sweethearts, and also photographs of a person who looked similar.
The Results Of The Study
After the participants were shown some photos of their sweethearts, their brains had reacted to them by producing emotional responses. Interestingly, the responses were in the same parts of the brain that are normally involved with motivation and reward. According to Arthur Aron (study co-author and psychologist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook), intense passionate love actually uses the same system in the brain that gets activated when one is addicted to drugs.
Just like the song by Kesha called “Your Love Is My Drug,” when you are in love with someone, you will crave them, just like a drug. However, as long as love remains in a relationship, and you no longer have the fear that your sweetheart will leave you, the craving actually tends to diminish.
Does Intense Romantic Love Eventually Fade Away?
Although we experience those intense romantic feelings, over time, do they eventually fade away? Arthur Aron (and his colleagues) had conducted another study (using MRI scans) on 10 women and 7 men who were married for an average of 21 years. Even after two decades, they claimed to still be deeply in love with their partners. Just like the study with couples who were in a relationship for less than 2 years, after looking at various photos of their sweethearts, their brain regions were activated. The activity was found in the regions that are linked with attachment and liking a reward.
The brain studies suggests that unfortunately, love changes over time. According to Aron, for the majority of people, there will be a gradual decline of passionate love. However, the good news is that with long-term love, there is also a growth in bonding. The evolutionary advantage of bonding is that it will allow couples to stay together long enough to not only have kids, but also raise them.
Is There Such A Thing As “Love At First Sight”?
Do you believe in love at first sight? According to a survey of 1,100 American adults, 56% said they do. With the participants who were either married or in a serious relationship, the percentage was even higher. Dr. Rachel Needle, (a licensed psychologist and certified sex therapist at the Center for Marital and Sexual Health of South Florida) shared her opinion on this interesting question. Needle disagrees with those who say there is such a thing as love at first sight. Some say they believe it more so for men because they are more visual than women. However, in Needle’s professional opinion, attraction or even lust at first sight seems more likely the case than love at first sight.
The Two Bases For Love At First Sight
According to Wikipedia, research has shown 2 bases for love at first sight. Each is described below.
1. The first (of two) should come as no surprise. It is that the attractiveness of a person can be determined almost instantly. The average time according to one study was only 0.13 seconds.
2. The first few minutes of a relationship have shown to be predictive of the relationship’s future success. This is even more so than what a couple has in common or whether they like each other.
Does The Heart Play Any Role In Falling In Love?
So is the heart just a hollow muscular organ that pumps blood through the circulatory system? It may be that the feelings we believe are a manifestation of the heart, may just be coming from the brain. A study showed that your heart does beat fast when you see the person you love, but only because of adrenaline. Learn more about how it all works (according to Dr. Reginald Ho) below.
1. The brain will send signals to the adrenal gland.
2. The adrenal gland secretes hormones.
3. The hormones will then go to the heart, causing it to beat faster.
So do you feel love in your heart or your brain? Although studies suggest that the heart probably does not play any role when it comes to falling in love, according to one source mentioned in an article, the brain plays a major role, but the heart is also involved. However, the article goes on to say that there is not a direct answer for this question. The reason is because of the lack of research conducted on this particular topic. We all have our own opinions on this question. What is yours?
Now that you have learned more about the role the human brain plays when one experiences love, did the information in this article surprise you? You may have thought it came straight from the heart. Believe it or not, when it comes to love, the heart may be completely irrelevant. So the next time you tell someone “I love you with all my heart,” just take away “heart” and add “brain.”