While there’s no single pathway to falling in love, one possible reaction happens this way: After an initial spark with a person, the body may produce high levels of testosterone and estrogen, which drive intense feelings of lust. The brain then produces elevated levels of dopamine, which plays a role in how people experience pleasure, and norepinephrine, resulting in a faster heart rate, restlessness and loss of appetite — all signs of attraction. As people fall deeper into love, the brain floods again — this time with oxytocin, released when people are physically affectionate, and vasopressin, which generates the desire to protect one’s partner — creating feelings of attachment.
“Clearly, there’s no single ‘love spot’ in the brain telling us how to feel,” says Dr. Stieg. “That’s why we need all five of our senses to work in unison to help us identify desirable characteristics and guide us toward that perfect someone.”
Dr. Stieg spoke with Health Matters about the role each of the five senses plays when it comes to falling in love.