It’s All Chemistry: Dopamine

21 Mar

There are an assortment of chemicals that affect attraction and how a person feels during love.  These chemicals all alter emotions and play different parts in the chemical process of love (Newman, 9).  Dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin are all produced by the body naturally and play an enormous role in attraction (9).

Dopamine is first released (9).  It is what makes a person want to spend more time with his or her love interest and gives them the initial “butterflies” (9).  This neurotransmitter is also released when someone drinks or does drugs like caffeine, cocaine and crystal methamphetamine (Tomlinson).  The chemical process of love actually induces addictive like behavior, “which explains the feeling of being addicted to your partner” (Newman, 9).  A dopamine release also increases a person’s heart rate and energy, as well as restlessness (Tomlinson).

Dopamine is also the high a person feels when she or he takes a risk like skydiving or snowboarding down a half-pipe (Park).  The unknown of a new relationship also has the same effect within the brain and this is why he or she often feels so exciting.  The high in a relationship caused by dopamine may diminish over time (2).  This can be caused by parenting and couples often find it difficult to hold on to romance (Blum, 3).  All is not lost however.  Dopamine has been shown to return and add a new spark to a long term relationship (3).  Dopamine also comes back to influence attraction for people who have lost a partner, “Among the couples that Fisher is studying are newly met partners in nursing homes, people in their 70s and 80s, whose infatuation is just as intense as that shared by 20-year-old lovers” (3).

Social media also causes dopamine production within the brain, the same reaction that occurs when you meet a new love interest face-to-face, “When it comes to social networking, our dopamine receptors are spoiled for choice, much like a kid in a candy store,” (Simply Zesty).  Dopamine feeds off uncertainty.  Therefore, meeting someone new through online dating without restrictions feels exciting and addictive (Simply Zesty).  Due to the abundance of technology and social networking, our brains have evolved to biologically produce the same chemicals as those produced in face-to-face contact.

Work Cited

Blum, Deborah. “The Plunge of Pleasure.” Psychology Today. 01 Sept. 1997. Web. 2 Mar. 2012. <;.

Newman, Judith. “The Science of Love.” Parade 12 Feb. 2012: 8+. Print.

Park, Alice. “Why We Take Risks; It’s the Dopamine.” Time Health. Time, 30 Dec. 2008. Web. 21 Mar. 2012.  <,8599,1869106,00.html&gt;.

Tomlinson, Nicole. “Chemistry of Love.” CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 14 Feb. 2008. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. <;.

“Why Your Internet Addiction Is Simply Biological.” Simply Zesty. 25 Aug. 2011. Web. 21 Mar. 2012. <;.

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