The Science of Love : Exploring the relationship between science and love

Published: February, 2005

BOSTON , MA — In honor of Valentine's day, two articles in the February issue of the Harvard Health Letter look into some scientific questions on the nature of love.

The first discusses several theories about the biological basis behind falling in love. The newest theory finds a surprising similarity between love and such emotions as anxiety and fear. Researchers from University of Pisa measured hormone levels in 24 young people who reported recently falling in love. They found that the lovers had higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than people who hadn't lately been bitten by the love bug. They also found that the men who were in love had less testosterone than their single counterparts, and the women in love had more. The researchers speculated that falling in love may reduce some of the differences between the sexes, making men softer and women more aggressive.

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