Wouldn’t it be nice if the girl in your science class thought you were as attractive as you think she is? Or what if the boy who dumped you last year suddenly had a burning desire to be your boyfriend again? Wouldn’t it be lovely if everyone you find attractive found you attractive too? Science is not able to do this yet, but is it a possibility?
According to the BBC U.K., there are three stages to falling in love. These are lust, attraction, and attachment1. In order to examine the likelihood of a pill that increases attraction one feels toward another, we are only going to focus on the chemical reactions of the brain in the second stage. During the attraction stage of falling in love, several chemicals are released into the brain. They are: Dopamine, Serotonin, and Norepinephrine1.
Last year in psychology, I learned that Dopamine is the reward/pleasure chemical of the brain. It is often stimulated by drug usage2 but can also be affected by the foods you consume, amount of sleep you get per night, and your exercise3. If chemists already produce artificial Dopamine for anti-depressants, and natural foods can increase Dopamine reception in the brain, then chemists should have no problem making artificial Dopamine strong enough to release sensations of attraction.
Serotonin is a neural transmitter that is in charge of keeping a balanced mood4. Like Dopamine, Serotonin can be substituted by different medications and increased by consuming certain foods and vitamins5. According to Chatelaine Magazine, being exposed to sunlight also increases Serotonin levels in the brain5. It is common knowledge that sunlight gives Vitamin D, so it should be possible for this attraction-pill to contain natural extracts from peppers, oranges, strawberries and other fruits3, as well as artificial vitamins B and D5, to help release these hormones in the brain.
Norepinephrine seems like a big sciency word, so just think of it like adrenaline. They both are hormones that initiate the fight-or-flight receptors in the brain6. Like adrenaline, norepinephrine causes an increase in heart rate. (This would be the nervous, pounding, butterfly sensation you get when you find someone really cute.) Norepinephrine can also be taken in dosages. It is used to treat people with low blood pressure6. If doctors are able to add a small amount of the dosage into our attraction potion, it should be complete!
Why this hasn’t been done yet:
There are several reasons why this science hasn’t been tested yet. First off, it is extremely dangerous to mess with chemical outputs of the brain. A major contribution to drug addiction is assumed to be Dopamine dependence. When drugs are introduced to the body, they greatly increase the production of Dopamine. As the drug abuser continues the use of the drug, the body becomes less able to naturally produce Dopamine2. This causes the drug user to become solely dependent on the drug to feel the beneficial effects of Dopamine. If we began to test an attraction pill, the subject may become addicted to the feeling of being infatuated with someone. This could cause the test subject to develop drug dependency. The test subject could also develop mood disorders such as depression and bipolar, because of the lack of Dopamine and Serotonin being released in their brain.
The other reason we cannot scientifically test an attraction pill is because it is unethical. A person has free will to choose whoever he or she wants to be infatuated with. If we begin to drug people in order to get them to like us, it would be an extreme violation of human rights.
these are also hyperlinked in the text and they open in a new window so feel free to explore!