Mental Health

Does Love Leave A Mark? The Science Behind It

From the tender imprints left on our hearts to the profound influence on our identities, does love truly leave a lasting mark? Explore the depths of emotion, psychology, and experience to uncover the traces love leaves behind.

By URLife Team
14 Feb 2024

Have you ever felt that rush of warmth flooding your face as you anticipate meeting your romantic interest? Or sensed an intense surge of excitement as you draw closer to them? These sensations are fueled by a flood of dopamine, the same hormone associated with cravings for sugar, nicotine, and certain illicit substances like drugs. It saturates your brain's reward centre, compelling you to nurture and preserve your unique bond at any cost.


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Love has long been regarded as a mysterious force defying simple definition. It is mentioned in popular literature that dates back to the 12th-century French poets who introduced the concept of 'l'amour courtois' (courtly love) to the world. The history of love is rich and captivating, yet amidst its complexities, the question remains: is love a palpable truth or merely a conceptual construct?


Related story: How Love Languages Can help You Forge A Stronger Bond


What is Love?

From a scientific standpoint, the phenomenon of love finds its roots in chemistry and biology. When we find ourselves drawn to someone, it's often because their pheromones have triggered the release of dopamine and other neurotransmitters in our brains.


Dopamine, known as the "pleasure molecule," reinforces our positive feelings by rewarding us for experiencing pleasure. Thus, when we're in love, the intense emotions we feel are often accompanied by elevated levels of dopamine. Additionally, oxytocin, dubbed the "bonding hormone," is released during moments of intimacy or closeness, fostering deeper connections and trust between individuals.


Serotonin also plays a crucial role. Low levels of serotonin are linked to obsessive behaviour and anxiety within relationships, while higher levels promote feelings of security and contentment. Together, these hormones orchestrate a complex interplay, shaping the intricate emotion we recognise as love.


From the tender first kiss to the enduring embrace of a lifelong partnership, love weaves its way into the fabric of our lives, leaving behind an unforgettable mark. But does love merely linger in the heart, or does it etch its presence onto the very essence of who we are? 


Related story: The Science of Falling in Love At First Sight


Effect of Love on The Brain: The Science Behind it

The concept of "love on the brain" has been explored through both scientific inquiry and metaphorical interpretation. Recent research has delved into the physical and chemical alterations in the brain associated with romantic love, as well as whether these biochemical changes truly encapsulate the essence of love or merely symbolise it.


Physically, romantic love triggers an array of hormonal shifts in the brain, including heightened levels of dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline, and other "happy hormones." These biochemical changes induce feelings of well-being and pleasure, often manifesting in affectionate behaviours like cuddling, touching, and sustained eye contact. A 2024 study by the University of Colorado at Boulder reveals that when we break up, their unique 'chemical imprint' fades away. The study centres around prairie voles (rodents), which have the distinction of being among the 3 percent to 5 percent of mammals that form monogamous pair bonds.


A 2024 neuroscientific study issued in the journal Current Biology has revealed increased activity in specific brain regions, particularly those linked to the reward system, during periods of romantic love. This heightened neural activity mirrors the experience of pleasure, akin to a euphoric "high," when individuals are deeply enamoured. Falling in love indeed induces tangible changes in the brain, fostering profound emotional connections and a sense of euphoria commonly associated with romantic chemistry.


Pheromones: Magic of Smell

As per a 2023 study issued in the paper FACTS, VIEWS & VISION in ObGyn, pheromones, often described as chemical signals emitted by individuals, serve as crucial communicators within species, influencing various behaviours including mating and physiological responses. Their scent, typically characterised as musky or animalistic, varies significantly among individuals due to its complex nature. When two individuals interact, they release unique combinations of pheromones, triggering both physical and emotional reactions in each other. It is often theorised that the influence of love pheromones is most pronounced during the initial stages of a relationship, when feelings of attraction and affection are still blooming.



Intimacy provides partners a place to cultivate a profound sense of trust and connection. It is more of an emotional bonding rather than just physical. People share their innermost thoughts and emotions, allowing for genuine vulnerability and authenticity in their interactions. This shared emotional intimacy not only strengthens the bond between partners but also enhances their overall satisfaction and fulfilment within the relationship.


Related story: 15 Thing You Didn’t Know About Staying in Love


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The science behind the effect of love on the brain underscores the intricate interplay of neurochemicals, hormones, and neural circuits that contribute to our experiences of romantic attachment and affection. By unravelling the neurobiological mechanisms underlying love, researchers gain deeper insights into the complexities of human relationships and emotions, paving the way for a more nuanced understanding of this fundamental aspect of the human experience.



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