You are eating and sleeping less but your energy levels have increased and your attention in the lab is more focused. To which performance enhancing drug should you credit this improvement?
None if you are in love. These physiological responses correspond to the rise in dopamine, a neurotransmitter found in the brain. Using fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance images), researchers can observe the regions of the brain that respond to a specific visual cue, such as a photograph of the subject’s beloved. One of the main regions of the brain that responds to this particular visual stimuli is the ventral tegmental area, responsible for dopamine production.
Though researchers have identified a number of chemicals involved including oxytocin, vasopressin and adrenaline, dopamine appears to be receiving a lot of the credit. Speaking of adrenaline, dopamine and credit, Valentine’s day is only 2 days away. If you are still in need of a gift for your dopamine boosting sweetheart, consider jewelry inspired by the neurotransmitter.
Not ready for jewelry? Show your Valentine his or her love is infectious with a “viral “ eCard.
Happy Valentine’s Day!