People who "fall in love at first sight" take less than a second to tumble, says a new meta-analysis on love from Syracuse University.
Infatuation causes 12 areas of the brain to go haywire, producing dopamine and adrenaline as well as the bonding chemicals oxytocin and vasopressin. The goopy first stages of love also toy with the cognitive functions that shape our body image.
Different parts of the brain activate different kinds of love: unconditional love, like that between you and your rabbit Fluffy, is activated by numerous parts of the brain, while passionate love is sparked by the reward part of the brain, according to findings in The Neuroimaging of Love, an article published in the current issue of the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
As for bodily sensations, lead author Stephanie Ortigue says, "activation in some parts of the brain can generate stimulations to the heart, butterflies in the stomach. Some symptoms we sometimes feel as a manifestation of the heart may sometimes be coming from the brain."
She and her co-authors suggest the findings could shape therapeutic approaches - for when the bloom is off the rose and love fades.