Thursday, February 14, 2013

Your #Brain on #Love - Happy Valentines Day

Happy Valentine's Day to you, whether you are attached or not. 
If you have experienced love, or lust, you may think that it all comes from the heart, well not really - it comes from your head.

The below drawing shows most of the areas in our head that drive our initial attraction which in time leads to love. I was trying to figure out the best way to include in my drawing all the areas I came across in my research. Best I could think of at the moment was cutting a cross section of the brain out to see these love bug areas within.

Clockwise starting from the left:
  1. The first red love bite, as I'll call it, is the Nucleus Accumbens. This is responsible for those feelings of attachment we develop with a loved one, be it a partner or a child or even a pet. This area receives dopamine feel good signals which I refer to later. Keep in mind that dopamine plays a role in addictions also.
  2. The next love bite area on the top is the Caudate Nuclei. This area becomes more active further along in the relationship with one falls in love - when a relationship turns into a long-term one. Commitment to a partner comes from time spent and memories shared with that person. The Caudate Nuclei plays a part in learning and memory, the storing of those good feelings and events you share with a person.
  3. The other love bite area shown in the drawing is that of the Insular (area shown on the right). This area is believed to be the trigger for our wide range of emotions including romantic and parental love.

Not shown is an area deeper in our brain that produces that feel good feeling of lust/desire. That is the Ventral Tegmental area which produces dopamine. I talk more about dopamine in my brain paintings on smoking (remember what I said above about addictions). When you and your partner are in that lovey-dovey phase in the relationship, this area of the brain is highly active.

May your brains be full of love today and always :) and remember the importance of loving yourself too!


Michelle Hunter
Contemporary Artist 
Tel: (646) 504-5034 
Contact me if you would like to purchase original paintings or drawings ( / 646-504-5034) 
The Brain Series of Paintings, so far: 
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