It takes a mere fifth of a second for the brain to fill with sheer rapture and fall in love with a total stranger, say scientists.
Love's lightning quick flush fires up a dozen brain areas to release feel good chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, adrenaline and vasopressin, to produce a heady effect similar to that of cocaine.
The reward part of the brain unleashes passionate love, while middle brain and other areas trigger unconditional love between a mother and a child, reports the Journal of Sexual Medicine.
A new meta-analysis: 'Does the heart fall in love, or the brain? conducted by Syracuse University psychology professor Stephanie Ortigue, is grabbing eyeballs worldwide.
'I would say the brain, but the heart is also related because the complex concept of love is formed by both bottom-up and top-down processes from the brain to the heart and vice versa,' says Ortigue, according to a Syracuse University release.
'For instance, activation in some parts of the brain can generate stimulations to the heart, butterflies in the stomach. Some symptoms we sometimes feel as a manifestation of the heart may sometimes be coming from the brain,' Ortigue said.
Ortigue and her team worked with a team from West Virginia University and a university hospital in Switzerland.Other researchers also found that blood levels of nerve growth factor, or NGF, also increased. Those levels were significantly higher in couples who had just fallen in love.
This molecule plays an important role in the social chemistry of humans, or the phenomenon 'love at first sight'. 'These results confirm love has a scientific basis,' Ortigue said.
The findings have major implications for neuroscience and mental health research because when love doesn't work out, it can be a significant cause of emotional stress and depression.