Thursday, March 4, 2010
The other day my girlfriend asked me why I was so nice to her, instantly, I answered that it was because I loved her and it made me feel good. Later, I started to think about it and started to wonder why it made me feel good to be nice to her. I started to look for a psychological explanation; however, I quickly realized that it was not so simple. First I would have to understand what love is. I found that love is psychologically defined as a cognitive and social phenomenon. Robert Sternberg’s triangular theory of love that states love is composed of three different elements: intimacy, commitment, and passion. And all forms of love are viewed as varying combinations of these three components. While Sternberg’s theory explains what emotions combine to create the feeling of love, it still did not tell my why it feels good. Searching for a better understanding, I started to look into the biological and chemical reactions that occur in our bodies when we feel Sternberg’s three emotions. It turns out, that when we feel intimacy, our bodies produce Dopamine, Norepinephrine and serotonin. When we feel commitment, Vasopressin and Oxytocin are created. And when we feel passion Testosterone/Estrogen is realized. All of these chemicals that our body makes when we experience the three emotions that make up love actually work like a drug and make us feel good. This raised an even harder to answer question though; if love is really as beautiful of an emotion as we always think, or is a selfish emotion that is simply dependent on others?