When people fall in love, people tell you to listen to your head and people tell you to listen your heart. Well which one is it? Surprisingly, it can be both. Anthropologist Helen Fisher explains in her TED talk, Brain in Love, why when we love, we feel it so strongly. We not only fall in love with our hearts but our brain as well. The first part of our brain that is involved is the ventral tegmental area that produces dopamine, a neurotransmitter that makes us happy. The ventral tegmental area naturally releases dopamine during times of pleasure including eating and sex. Fisher explains how this region is also activated when a person is on a cocaine high. When someone falls in love, this area of the brain releases dopamine, so we develop almost an addiction to love. The next region found to be included in love is the part that normally deals with gains and losses. And since when humans are in love they are willing to take risks for that other person, this brain region is activated. The third region found is dealing when people have lost love. This part deals with deep attachment. And being in love, a person feels a deep sense of attachment with them so when they lose them, this part of the brain is activated.
So research has shown that you can listen to both your head and your heart. This research has been done outside of the United States too. So people in different cultures also love with their head too. Love is something that can be culture specific but everyone human has the ability and drive to love. That makes this study applicable to all cultures. Next time someone tells you to listen to your head when it comes to love you really should listen. It is the brain that drives you to love one person over another and love that one person for so long. Studies done with people who have been in long, committed relationships for twenty-five years have shown that the same brain activity occurs as someone who is in a newfound relationship. Love is a natural process for human beings; it is the ultimate goal as Fisher says. So listen to your heart and your head.