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Psychology of love: Brain map of love, the role of kissing, how couples come to look similar, what kills a relationship and more…. The psychology of love has been examined by poets, philosophers, writers and many other artists over the years.

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From the initial moment of attraction to growing old together, here are 10 psychology studies that all lovers should know. It takes a fifth-of-a-second for the euphoria-inducing chemicals to start acting on the brain when you are looking at that special someone.

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When looking or thinking about a loved one, these areas release a cocktail of neurotransmitters across the brain, including oxytocin, dopamine, vasopressin and adrenaline. The first study to look at the neural difference between love and sexual desire finds remarkable overlaps and distinct differences.

The showed that some strikingly similar brain networks were activated by love and sexual desire. This psychology of love suggests that sexual desire is more than just a basic emotion, but involves goal-directed motivation and the recruitment of more advanced thoughts.

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Love is built on top of these circuits, with one key area of difference being in the striatum. This area of the brain is typically associated with the balance between higher- and lower-level functions. Two new studies of kissing have found that apart from being sexy, kissing also helps people choose partners—and keep them.

Types of love

In a survey, women in particular rated kissing as important, but more promiscuous members of both sexes rated kissing as a very important way of testing out a new mate. The researchers found a correlation between the amount of kissing that long-term partners did and the quality of their relationship. One study on the psychology of love has found that over 25 years of marriage the facial features of couples became more similar, as judged by independent observers.

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This may be because of similarities in diet, environment, personality or even a result of empathising with your partner over the years. Contrary to the received wisdom, long distance relationships can work, according to research on the psychology of love. As a result, those in long distance relationships often have similar levels of relationship satisfaction and stability as those who are geographically close to each other.

How to build a healthy relationship

For over 40 years the psychologist Professor John Gottman has been analysing the psychology of love. There are four things that kills relationships stone dead : repeated criticism, lots of expressions of contempt like sarcasm, being defensive and stonewalling, which is when communication almost completely shuts down.

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The face of marriage has changed ificantly over the years, according to new research. It used to be more about providing safety and solidity, now people want psychological fulfilment from their marriages. More than ever people expect marriage to be more of a journey towards self-fulfilment and self-actualisation.

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Unfortunately in the face of these demands, couples are not investing sufficient time and effort to achieve this growth. If your relationship needs a little TLC, then there may be no need to go into therapy, suggests research on the psychology of love. A new three-year study finds that divorce rates were more than halved by watching movies about relationships and discussing them afterwards.

How to find love

Thus, you might not need to teach them a whole lot of skills to cut the divorce rate. You might just need to get them to think about how they are currently behaving.

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And for five movies to give us a benefit over three years—that is awesome. A study of co-parenting post-divorce has found it can go one of five ways, the first three of which are considered relatively functional:. A recent survey on the psychology of love of over 4, UK adults found that simple acts of kindness are often appreciated the most. Image credit: Bhumika Bhatia.

Sternberg’s triangle of love: three components

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Published: June 2, in category: Attractiveness. Close this module.

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You might not realize it yet, but you are surrounded by love.


Sternberg suggests that there are three main components of love: passion, intimacy, and commitment.


Reviewed by Psychology Today Staff.