Personally, when I think of emotions, science is probably the last word that would comes to mind. I like to think of emotions as one of the things on the planet that can’t be calculated.
The lectures on October 4th and 6th focused on the question, can prayer heal. When I saw this, I immediately tilted my head to the side, trying to understand how prayer can be measured scientifically… Church and science have always found themselves at a strong divide, and this was really unexpected. These are the classes that made me stop, and realize that we not only should, but CAN question anything.
While I usually prefer to stay in headspace I’ve gotten very acquainted with, this class has taught me otherwise. I may have held onto certain beliefs my entire life without ever so much as thinking to challenge them.
I’m aware that emotions like happiness and depression can be broken down into the levels of neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine that are present in the brain.
I started to wonder what emotion would I never think to calculate. Love. My strong belief that love is free from the cold calculation of science, was instantly challenged.
Naturally, dopamine has a role here as well. Dopamine production enhances the release of testosterone. As we know, testosterone greatly influences our sex drive by affecting multiple organs, including those used for reproduction. Testosterone also causes our sweat glands to be more active, and even heightens our senses.
If you recall what I said earlier, dopamine is a major player for our levels of happiness and excitement as well.
Neurotransmitters norepinephrine and phenylethylamine cause a person to focus on the object of their affection. (You know, that obsessive, can’t stop thinking about that person feeling? Yeah, blame these two.) They’re responsible for the feelings of being unable to sleep when consumed with thoughts of that special someone, a sense of euphoria, as well as giddiness.
Remember Pavlov’s experiment with his dogs? Eventually, the dogs would associate the sound of a bell with getting food. Falling in love is kind of like that. With all these chemicals floating around, there starts to be a sense of reward. Sure, initially a lot of this can be sexual. However, this is why when you see someone you’re falling in love with, or they touch your arm, etc. there’s usually a sensation of euphoria that follows.
According to the findings of Helen Fisher et all, the brains of those whom would consider themselves passionately in love, show the reward center in their brain being activated when put through an MRI.
Falling in love is amazing, it’s one of the best feelings in the world in fact. However, now we know that’s it’s not just the work of cupid. There’s a lot of science behind it.