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The two primary hormones here appear to be oxytocin and vasopressin (Figure 1).
Oxytocin is often nicknamed “cuddle hormone” for this reason.
While these chemicals are often stereotyped as being “male” and “female,” respectively, both play a role in men and women.
As it turns out, testosterone increases libido in just about everyone.
Google the phrase “biology of love” and you’ll get answers that run the gamut of accuracy.
Testosterone and estrogen drive lust; dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin create attraction; and oxytocin and vasopressin mediate attachment.
What we do know, however, is that much of love be explained by chemistry.
So, if there’s really a “formula” for love, what is it, and what does it mean?
In fact, norepinephrine, also known as noradrenalin, may sound familiar because it plays a large role in the fight or flight response, which kicks into high gear when we’re stressed and keeps us alert.
Brain scans of people in love have actually shown that the primary “reward” centers of the brain, including the and the caudate nucleus (Figure 1), fire like crazy when people are shown a photo of someone they are intensely attracted to, compared to when they are shown someone they feel neutral towards (like an old high school acquaintance).