A team of researchers from universities in China and New York have claimed to have isolated parts of the brain that are most active when someone is in love.

In a study that analyzed brain scans of people in different stages of love, initial results showed that a dozen different areas of the brain are affected in different ways by the emotions of love.

The findings can help in legal disputes, divorce proceedings or criminal trials involving crimes of passion. The results, published in the journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, revealed that caudate nucleus - a part of the brain - is most active at the end of a love affair.

"Our study provides the first evidence of love-related alterations in the underlying architecture of the brain and the results shed new light on the mechanisms of romantic love," said lead researcher professor Xiaochu Zhang from the University of Science and Technology in China.

For the study, the team performed brain scans on 100 men and women. Some of them were intensely in love while others had recently ended an affair and some had never been in love, said a report.

Those from the "in love" category showed increased activity in several areas of the brain, including parts that deal with reward, motivation, emotion regulation as well as in the social cognition network. For the "ended love" group, the longer they had been out of love, the lower the amount of activity detected in the above mentioned areas of the brain.

The team found that the different areas "light up" under the scanner as key hormones dopamine, oxytocin and vasopressin flow to different parts of the brain at different rates.

"It suggest that when someone fall into the love, their brain works in a different way in many types of behaviour besides the love-related during daily life," the team said.

According to the researchers from Southwest University, the University of Science and Technology in China and from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, they have successfully obtained the "first empirical evidence of love-related alterations in brain functional architecture".

 

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