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EDITORIAL] Love at First Sight: Why and How It Can Happen

christian nwodo - Thursday, March 12, 2015


Have you ever fallen instantly in love with someone? Is it simply lustful intentions? What happens to your brain when you fall in love? Here’s all the science you’ll ever need to know about love at first sight.
As much as I hate to admit it, I am a believer in love at first sight. In fact, even as I rummage through the pictures of online dating sites, I instantly know who I will not be attracted to and ignore their profile completely. Once in a while I see someone I wouldn’t normally be attracted to, but there’s something there that catches my eye anyway, and I say hello.
In person, I’m all about the instant attraction and gut feeling. I’ve been attracted to gorgeous men and men who are definitely very average, even below average, in the looks department. Why? I have no idea. I always assumed it was pheromones.

Still, after researching for this article I learned there’s a lot more to love at first sight than just…looks.

What happens in the human brain when you’re in love?

Have you ever noticed how insane you feel when you fall in love? Let me be the first to tell you that it’s normal to feel crazy when you fall in love. That’s right, you’re normal.
According to Donatella Marazziti, a professor of Psychiatry in Italy (the land of love), humans experience a lower level of serotonin when they fall in love, which is basically the same thing that happens when you have obsessive compulsive disorder.
So yes, you’re crazy when you’re in love, but it’s due to that serotonin decrease, so it’s okay. Besides, you’ll get your serotonin levels back to normal in about a year and a half.
The Anthropologist Helen Fisher discovered that the human hypothalamus is most likely responsible for the lust aspect of love, but dopamine plays a huge part in feeling love. An increase in dopamine is definitely an aspect of being in love which is why some people argue that love is just a chemical reaction in the brain.
Going along with all the other chemical reactions, however, is the amygdala. The amygdala is the part of your brain that’s responsible for fear and learning from the things you’ve done in your past.
Have you ever wondered why you keep falling for the wrong type of guy, or even the same guy? You can blame your dysfunctional amygdala for that one; it seems to stop working as well when you’re in love.


Is love at first sight scientifically possible?
The real question is, though, aside from all the brain reactions, is love at first sight truly possible? The scientific answer…yes. According to research it takes about a fifth of a second to fall in love. That’s pretty instant! So what contributes to this instant love? Chemicals in the brain are what make you fall instantly in love, but it’s so much more than that.
When you feel love at first sight, you’re concentrating on the other person’s features. You’re getting a sense of their pheromones, you’re mentally sizing them up, and you’re brain is processing everything about them before you can even blink!
You see, you’re brain notices things way before you recognize them. It tells you if the person has trusting features, such as “kind eyes” or a trusting smile, it sees the other person’s mannerisms, and you actually feel an intellectual connection to someone within that fifth of a second.
The human brain is superfast and notices things before you can really register them on a conscious level, which is exactly why you should always trust your gut instinct (and why you fall in love at first sight).

How does love happen?
Love is, without a doubt, the strongest feeling in existence. It can leave you euphoric, it can leave you breathless, and it can even devastate you. In fact, love can, and sometimes does, turn into hate. But what makes you “feel” love?
I know giving you all the scientific brain chemical reactions isn’t very romantic, but it is very, very complex. There are some aspects of love that we still don’t even understand. For example, why don’t we fall in love with everyone we meet? Why are some people just friends and others just lovers? What makes love happen?
I can’t answer those things for you.
I can tell you, though, that love is not just in the brain; it really is also in the heart. The rapidly changing chemicals in your brain don’t just stay there; they flow down into your heart and back up again so you “feel” love.
Your heart aches when you’ve been broken-hearted, your heart beats faster when you’re beside your beloved, and let’s not forget the butterflies in your stomach, that’s all part of it too!
Love may be explained as a series of chemical reactions, but that isn’t really explaining all of it, and we don’t really know all of it yet.

Interesting facts about love
Of course, humans aren’t the only ones who can feel love. Let me give you some great and unexpected love facts!

  1. Penguins fall in love at first sight and stay together for life. It’s instant and it’s permanent between two penguins. Wouldn’t that be a nice feature in humans?
  2. People with heart conditions are at risk when they’re in love. The rapid heart rate and increased blood pressure when you’re in love can potentially be a serious problem for someone with a heart condition.
  3. People with a pacemaker do not “feel” love the same way. They don’t experience the same levels of euphoria because their heart isn’t able to change rhythm.
  4. Generally speaking, people fall in love seven times before they eventually get married.
  5. The feeling of being in love is the same feeling you get when you take cocaine.
  6. Subconsciously, men of European decent are more attracted to women who have a waist ratio of 70% of their hips.
  7. If a man and a woman meet during a dangerous situation, they’re more likely to fall in love than if they met somewhere during their daily routine. Think about the movie Speed.
  8. If you stare into a person’s eyes for a long time, you’re more likely to fall in love with each other.
  9. The longer a courtship lasts, the more likely the marriage will last. People with whirlwind marriages don’t have a high statistical probability of a lasting marriage.
  10. The apple has been a symbol of love since Ancient Greece.
What is the statistical probability of love at first sight?

So what are the real chances of falling in love at first sight? I couldn’t tell you. Really, I looked it up; I couldn’t find a statistical probability of falling in love at first sight.
However, I read numerous stories about people who fell in love at first sight and ended up in a lasting marriage with each other. I know two couples who experienced love at first sight in high school and are still together more than twenty years later.
When you feel heartbroken, and you feel as if love has passed you by, think about this for a moment.
Love happens in an instant, in one fifth of a second. That, in my opinion, means love happens at first sight…and you see people everywhere you go. Have faith.
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