I, for one, am not celebrating. (Foreveralone)
But here's a love themed post for you lovers.
"Results from Ortigue’s team revealed when a person falls in love, 12 areas of the brain work in tandem to release euphoria-inducing chemicals such as dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopression.
The love feeling also affects sophisticated cognitive functions, such as mental representation, metaphors and body image."
"Men and women can now thank a dozen brain regions for their romantic fervor. Researchers have revealed the fonts of desire by comparing functional MRI studies of people who indicated they were experiencing passionate love, maternal love or unconditional love. Together, the regions release neurotransmitters and other chemicals in the brain and blood that prompt greater euphoric sensations such as attraction and pleasure. Conversely, psychiatrists might someday help individuals who become dangerously depressed after a heartbreak by adjusting those chemicals.Passion also heightens several cognitive functions, as the brain regions and chemicals surge. “It’s all about how that network interacts,” says Stephanie Ortigue, an assistant professor of psychology at Syracuse University, who led the study. The cognitive functions, in turn, “are triggers that fully activate the love network.” Tell that to your sweetheart on Valentine’s Day.
Graphics by James W. Lewis, West Virginia University (brain), and Jen Christiansen.
So back at Stanford, researchers recruited 15 undergrads in the early euphoric throes of a relationship. The volunteers had photos of the romantic partner and of an attractive acquaintance. As they looked at the photos, their palms were safely heated to mild pain. Then the volunteers repeated the experiment but were distracted by tasks such as: think of sports that don’t use balls. Previous research found that distraction can ease pain.
Both distraction and the pictures of new loves reduced pain. But, the love photo acted in a totally different area of the brain—the primitive reward system region that lights up where addictive drugs work, and where pain-relieving opioids do their magic. The study was published in Public Library of Science One. [Jarred Younger et al., Viewing Pictures of a Romantic Partner Reduces Experimental Pain: Involvement of Neural Reward Systems]
So the next time you’re in pain, maybe you don’t need to pop a pill. Just fall in love.