‘Love map of the brain’ shows how heart rules the head

Saturday, October 16, 2010

MELBOURNE - Being in love can spread electricity through your brain, literally, as a new study suggests.

A US scientist has shown that being in love can spark a torrent of electrical activity through the brain in one fifth of a second. Dr Stephanie Ortigue, from the University of Syracuse has created a love map of the brain, which shows that no fewer than 12 parts of the brain apparently work together to produce and sustain feelings of love.

Those same brain regions also govern other behaviour as diverse as motivation, reward, attention and body image, reports News.com.au.

In the experiment people were shown just the names of loved ones.

A high-density electroencephalogram or EEG revealed electrical activity spiked within 200 milliseconds of the photos being shown. That’s less time than it takes to blink and is a “pre-conscious” speed - faster than thought.

The sparks occurred in the brain’s “angular gyrus” region, one of the dozen sections linked to love, and is also where we process visual images and sounds, language comprehension, metaphors and bodily self-representation.

Two other of the 12 brain regions - the caudate nucleus and the putamen - also lit up in another experiment, when 17 men and women who were passionately in love were shown a photograph of their lover for 17 seconds.

These two parts of the brain are associated with the brain chemical dopamine and its sensations of euphoria and reward. (ANI)

Filed under: Science and Technology

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