Hearts are everywhere on Valentine’s Day. You can see them up and down the streets and in countless store displays. But why is there this constant homage to an organ that has very little to do with love? Maybe it’s that speeding heart people get when they see someone they love. But Dr. Richard Siegel of Tufts Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism Division, shows that this feeling doesn’t relate to the heart, but to the brain.
According to Siegel, there are a number of hormones and neurotransmitters that are secreted from the hypothalamus in the brain, and a large number of those hormones are associated with love. A rush of dopamine and phenyl ethylamine (PEA) explains that "love at first sight" feeling. Dopamine also causes pleasure when there’s physical contact. And that racing heart feeling is caused by a release of norepinephrine.
The brain also has a way of regulating these hormones when men and women become couples.
"Testosterone will go down in men, and go up in women when they are in love," said Siegel. "It kind of evens things out. Oxytocin is known as the â€˜cuddling hormone’ and that is also known for calming people down."
All scientific explanations aside, love is that feeling that no one can describe with certainty. On Valentine’s Day, no one will be able to think scientifically with all the roses, heart-shaped chocolate boxes and love songs. So enjoy the holiday that takes all the credit from your brain, and give it to your heart.