You know the moment after you meet someone new when you find yourself in your car listening to “Crazy in Love, “singing along to the Beyoncé parts? That’s part of your brain shutting down. The logical part. Robin Dunbar, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Oxford, studied couples using an MRI and found that when people in love looked at photographs of the object of their affection, the rational part of their brain shuts down. Another study conducted by Rutgers University utilized a device similar to an MRI to track the release of chemicals into the brain and found those newly in love showed high levels of dopamine, adrenaline and serotonin which, when mixed, produce heightened feelings of craving, motivation and ecstasy. Basically, the feeling of being paralyzed by love is just your brain going into a drugged-up overdrive. Why does our brain react to lovers like this? Some scientists believe it’s to ensure we continue to have sex. “All our systems have evolved to evolve the species. If we lost interest in falling in love then we’d just go off and do something else and that would be the end of it,” explained Professor Luke O’Neill, the director of Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute. “It’s all done to make sure we procreate.” We’ve talked about what it’s like to be addicted to love, but it has a much more primal purpose. Maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to consider a hedonist lifestyle; with all things considered, it seems like having multiple partners is something that we’re programmed to be addicted to.
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