Neuroscience Behind Valentine's Day

Dawn Maslar

Love Biologist Dawn Maslar Explains Neuroscience Behind Valentine's Day.

The legend states that Valentine was arrested and put to death by Emperor Claudius II. Valentine was defying orders and secretly helping soldiers to marry. But why would Claudius II not want his soldiers to marry?

Here's where the neuroscience comes in. It turns out that when a man marries, his testosterone drops. So, Claudius' decree against marriage makes biological sense. If you want an aggressive army that will fight your battles, it's better to have single, highly testosterone-fortified men.

Think that's crazy? It turns out that lower testosterone is not the only crazy thing that happens to us when we fall in love.

In a dramatic presentation, Love Biologist Dawn Maslar cuts up a brain to show what love does to us. When we fall in love, this is what can happen to our brain:

• We can lose cognitive ability
• We can lose the ability to accurately judge our partner – that's why they say 'love is blind'
• We can lose the ability to feel concern if we detect a problem
• We can experience an increase in self-transcendence – being in love makes us feel less selfish and more connected to the world

In addition:

• Our serotonin (hormone of happiness) can fall to the level of someone with obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
• His testosterone drops but hers goes up – making her sexually charged
• This effect is temporary – lasting between 1 and 3 years

Don't worry, while the craziness is temporary, the love CAN last a lifetime. In fact, Valentine's Day helps since the following can also kick-in:

• Red hearts, cards and clothes boost his testosterone which can increase the romance
• Giving chocolate on Valentine's Day can boost dopamine – an important neurotransmitter of long-term love
• Doing new and novel things with a partner can also boost dopamine
• Spending quality time together increases oxytocin - the bonding hormone

To see Dawn Maslar in action, please visit HERE

Dawn Maslar, MS, is an award-winning author, expert guest speaker, adjunct biology professor, and researcher in the science of love. She is a two-time TEDx speaker and her talk on 'How Your Brain Falls in Love' went viral last year.