scientific evidence

The Theories Behind Love at First Sight

Love at first sight. It’s a concept we’re all familiar with, regardless of whether we actually believe in it.

The notion that somewhere out there is an individual so special that all it takes is a glance before we’re head over heels is an intensely romantic one and, at least for some of us, it seems to be a reality.

But what’s the science behind so-called ‘love at first sight’, and are there any clues in there which point to a bright future for UK over 50 daters? Let’s take a look.

Theory #1: Love at First Sight is a Dopamine Hit

One of the most popular theories amongst the scientific community is that when you meet somebody who you find attractive, the chemical reaction that’s ignited in your brain produces large quantities of dopamine and serotonin.

In fact, at this point, the brain more closely resembles that of somebody high on heroin!

Dopamine is produced by your hypothalamus and creates a sense of euphoria and also leads to the production of the hormone norepinephrine, which causes a loss of appetite and harms the quality of our sleep – things which are all associated with falling in love.

The other chemical swimming around our brain when we meet somebody attractive is serotonin, which can distract the mind to the point where up to 65% of the day is spent thinking about the object of our desires.

These chemicals and hormones lead to intense feelings of love and lust and can manifest extremely quickly in the mind, lending credence to the notion of ‘love at first sight’.

Theory #2: We’re Rewriting our Memories

Another common theory is that because we’re so in love later in our relationship, we end up extending our current emotions into the past and rewriting the past. Quite simply, we can’t imagine feeling any way we don’t right now.

This theory is borne out by a study by the University of Groningen and drew the conclusion that because those who fell in love ‘at first sight’ ended up in long term relationships, that the experience of love at first sight must be a form of memory bias.

Theory #3: We’re Blinding Ourselves

This theory accepts that ‘love at first sight’ is real, but it suggests that, rather than being some cosmic meeting of souls, love at first sight is simply us deceiving ourselves.

It’s called the ‘attractiveness halo’ and it’s a form of cognitive bias that makes us lay focus on one particular element of a person, causing them to appear more attractive than they actually are. Take, for example, an externally beautiful person. Seeing them can cause those aforementioned chemicals  in serotonin and dopamine to flow through our minds.

This, in turn, leads us to apply positive notions to other aspects of their person, like their attitudes, beliefs, intelligence and prospects. Together, they contribute to that overwhelming feeling of having met somebody truly special.

So, do any of these theories reveal anything for over 50 daters still looking for love? Keep going, keep pushing and sooner or later you’ll find somebody who sets your mind alight.

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