These insights into the science behind love will blow you away
With Valentine's Day coming up, love is in the air. But what is love? The common answer is, we know it when we feel it. Yet the science behind love is a fascinating world full of insights that shows how people react - physically and emotionally - to the most coveted of all emotions. Here are 7 facts that decipher the secret code of love.
1. MOST PEOPLE TURN TO THE RIGHT TO KISS
When people kiss they are much more likely to turn their heads to the right rather than the left, according to a study by neuroscientist Onur Güntürkün. The German researcher spent two and a half years studying kisses in public places and found that only one in three people turns to the left when going in for a kiss.
2. BLUSHING IS A SIGN OF LOVE AND TRUST
Research suggests that people who blush are more trustworthy. According to a study carried out by UC Berkeley, people who are easily embarrassed are more likely to be monogamous.
3. LOVE WARMS UP THE WHOLE BODY
The physical effects of love are more widespread than you might think. In a study that asked people to map out where they felt different emotions, most people reported that love sparked activity across the entire body. The body's emotional system in the brain sends signals to the entire body in order to deal with the feelings caused by love.
4. FALLING IN LOVE HELPS IMPROVE MEMORY
Want to remember important events? Being in love could help with that. When in love, memory is improved because the feelings involved cause an increase in nerve growth factor, which helps restore the nervous system and triggers the growth of new brain cells.
5. LOVERS' HEARTS BEAT IN SYNC
Proving that lovers' hearts can beat for one another, couples in romantic relationships have been found to experience similar heart rates when being together. In other words, giving your heart to your partner is not merely a metaphorical act.
6. LOVE AT FIRST LOVE IS NOT A FAIRY TALE: IT'S SCIENCE!
Humans are able to judge the suitability of a potential partner in a very short amount of time - a matter of seconds even, according to researchers at Pennsylvania University. A study they carried out revealed that falling for someone when you first meet them is attributed to patterns in the brain that point to a direct link between facial attractiveness and positive traits.
7. LOVE MAY NEVER GET OLD, BUT IT IS OLD: THE FIRST KNOWN LOVE SONGS WERE WRITTEN 4,000 YEARS AGO
This one isn't biological, but it's still pretty interesting. Originating from an area around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the earliest known written record of love songs were pressed into clay tablets and were written in praise of Sumerian gods and goddesses.