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What is love?

What is happening in the brain when we fall in love? A neurologist says different parts of the brain activate love.

MINNEAPOLIS — When you are in love, it is likely the  person who has your heart
can make the coldest day, warm. 

But what is love? 

Dr. Ron Tarrel is a neurologist with Noran Neurological Clinic at Abbott Northwestern. He says different parts of the brain activate love.

"Love is really complex emotion. It  is based on the utility of the love that helps you survive through a world and through  an entire life but it is also based on comfort and satisfaction and reward," he said.

So, what is happening in the brain when we fall in love?

"There is a part of our brain, they actually call it the primitive part of our brain, that is called the limbic system. Falling in love is not only a single process but it is something that can be remembered and your brain learns to bring it up when it has to or when it can," he said. "The chemical transmitters that are released in the brain, one of the key ones is called dopamine. That is the neurotransmitter for pleasure."

He also said skin to skin touch released a chemical called ocytocin and vasopressin are part of the limbic system.

Tarrel said falling in love is similar to the flight or flight system. 

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"That is what happens when someone might be falling in love or when someone finds interest in someone at the other side of the restaurant or that they just met," he said. "The much more enduring love becomes more important. It is something you can carry with you for the longest period of time."