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The Science of… Love at First Sight!

14th February 2024

The Science of... Love at First Sight!

It’s Valentine’s Day, and at Alto Marketing we’ve been wondering what makes that special spark happen when we fall in love at first sight.

From fairy tales of old to modern rom-coms, it isn’t hard to find stories of love at first sight, and many of you may have even experienced it for yourselves! So what happens when we meet a special someone and instantly know they‘re the one?

From a neurological point of view, when we fall in love our brain chemistry undergoes changes that bring a sense of euphoria and emotional attachment. Dopamine and oxytocin are released in large quantities by the hypothalamus, with the former activating the reward centres of the brain and the latter triggering a sense of trust and contentment [1].

Oxytocin has also been shown to help reduce stress and anxiety, trigger ‘warm fuzzy’ feelings, and is involved in the emotions experienced during bonding between parents and new-borns. This is what helps us form deep, emotional connections with romantic partners. Oxytocin can also affect heart rate and rhythm, which may explain the increased heart rate when we feel that rush of attraction!

A 2021 study [2] found that there are distinct physiological responses when that initial spark of attraction occurs. Electrocardiogram (ECG) results showed that participants who felt the impulse of love at first sight (ILFS) when shown images of the opposite sex experienced increased heart rate and heart rate variability. Those that experienced ILFS were more likely to form longer and more stable relationships with prospective partners than those that did not.

Another factor that influences our initial impulses of attraction and compatibility is the immune system! Studies on heterosexual women have shown an increased attraction to men with heterogeneous major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genes. Offspring of individuals with different MHC genes have stronger immune systems, so finding the right partner can be beneficial to future generations [1]!

So, what happens next?!

Knowing the science of attraction can only take you so far, so the next steps are up to you!

At Alto Marketing, what we love most is bringing you the latest updates in science and healthcare innovations. Get in touch today so we can work together to share your products and services.

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1.The science of love at first sight. (2023, February). The Royal Institution

2.Liu, G., Lu, H., Yuan, G., Zhang, J. 2021. Recognition of the Impulse of Love at First Sight Based on Electrocardiograph Signal. Computational Intelligence and Neuroscience, [KB1] 

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