How does love work?

What love is exactly cannot be defined. It is the strongest form of affection and appreciation, but it is different for each person and also differs in the person or object loved. What is certain is that the feeling is caused by a change in the hormones in the body. These include dopamine, serotonin and oxytocin.

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Dopamine is a predominantly excitatory neurotransmitter of the central nervous system. Dopamine levels also play an important role in drug use, which is why science compares love to a form of addiction. Like dopamine, serotonin is also popularly called the "happiness hormone". Serotonin also has a mood-lifting effect. Compared to dopamine, however, the serotonin level decreases in lovers. Scientists have found that the decreasing serotonin level in lovers leads to increased impulsiveness, because this neurotransmitter is actually there to suppress this impulse. Oxytocin - this hormone plays an important role at birth, but also in general social interactions. The release occurs with any kind of pleasant skin contact. It increases the feeling of trust and connectedness, which is why it is often called the "cuddling" or "loyalty hormone".

Now you could come up with the idea that an artificial cocktail of these hormones could be used to make people fall in love with each other. But science does not assume that this would work. After all, you don't regularly fall in love with someone else just because your hormone levels are just right. Human character and attraction to each other must be right. The hormone cocktail is the result and not the trigger. This special feeling of being in love is a very complex subject and has not been researched very much. This also raises the question: do we really want this feeling to be explained scientifically? Or is the beauty of it exactly the fact that one does not know why one is so crazy about a person? If we could create love artificially and we would no longer have to look for our life partner in the future, but would be available to us via catalog and hormone injection, then what are all the pop singers out there singing about and what were the Telenovelas about?



A controversial and unresolved issue is the question of monogamy. Is that what humans are designed for? Can love last a lifetime? Biology and studies in different forms of society speak more for polygamy than for monogamy. Nevertheless, people tend to strive emotionally for security and constants in their lives. For example, many psychological studies speak clearly in favor of marriage. A clear and fixed connection makes people happier and the connections are not so quickly broken. People usually show more commitment and are happier when a decision is not so easily reversed.

One study at Harvard University in America has shown that final decisions make people happier in the long run. Two groups of test participants were allowed to take part in a photography class. In the end, one group had to decide on the best picture, which they were then allowed to take with them and could not exchange later. The other group was allowed to reverse their decision a few days later. The participants with the right of exchange were generally more dissatisfied with their choice of pictures than the participants who were not allowed to change their mind. People tend to question their decision more if they can easily get the alternative. If the hurdle is high, the drive to change something must also be very high. In other words: a person can only fully devote himself to something when he is no longer distracted by other possibilities. This applies not only to photos, but also to the life partner. 

Hormones and psychology aside, you can't control love. It will remain a mystery for a long time to come and give us much joy and pain.

Your alugha team





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