Tag Archives: neuroscience of dating

The Neuroscience of Dating

Have you ever thought how active our brains are, when we are dating?  And how attraction can lead us to a complex series of calculations within a matter of seconds in our brain?

Love at first sight

Alice had a long day at work. It was only 4pm but she felt like it was already 9pm. She was so hesitant to drop by the grocery store but she was craving steak for dinner.  So she ended up going to the nearest grocery store. 

Alice walked straight to the meat section but jackfruit got her attention. While she was staring at it, someone said “Excuse me Miss, Can I pass?”.  Then she looked at Bob.  They suddenly felt so connected to each other. 

At this very moment, the photons are annihilated.  The energy and momentum caused a chemical reaction in the pigmentation of the retina of Bob and Alice.  It created electrical signals along the synapses of the optic nerve to Alice and Bob brains and activated the other physical senses.

Alice and Bobs started to investigate the variety of connections they have for each other which is the very crucial component for attractiveness.

After a while they were noticing the natural scent which also has a chemical effect on them, it picked up on natural chemical signals known as pheromones.  Pheromones are chemical signals that are responsible for attraction.

Alice, as a woman, has a sense of smell that is attuned to MHC molecules or the immune system.  It immediately gave an attraction to Alice because her MHC molecules are different from Bob.  Then Bob’s low-pitched voice sendt voice signal interest to Alice.

Alice and Bob’s first date

Since then, they started texting a lot of times a day.  One day Bob asked Alice for a dinner date Saturday night at 7pm at the Italian Restaurant. 


It was 6pm, Alice was anxious.  She couldn’t decide what clothes she should wear.  Then she had a hard time finding the perfect make-up that will match up her dress.  She took the eyeshadow palette from the drawer, then all of a sudden she dropped it on the floor.  She seemed so nervous.  

This sensation was a result of a higher level of cortisol in neurotransmitters in the brain.  Cortisol is a stress hormone.  And if we have High levels of cortisol it can wear down the brain’s ability to function properly, the reason Alice experienced nervousness and uncoordinated behaviour.

Alice came exactly at 7pm at the restaurant.  She instantly recognized Bob sitting at the corner.  “Oh My God! He looks really good” Alice told herself. 

Alice and Bob talked about individual’s interests and hobbies.  Alice became more attracted to Bob and she thought that Bob had all the qualities of the man that she was searching for a potential boyfriend.  

Bob looked At Alice intimately.  Bob gave an intimate kiss and then he whispered “You look really good Alice”.  At this moment Alice increases oxytocin. Oxytocin, known also as the love hormone, provokes feelings of contentment, calmness, and security.

When Alice came home, she was mesmerizing about the unforgettable first date with Bob.  By this time Alice’s serotonin level dropped down, which leads her to look at his facebook profile picture. Then she couldn’t stop thinking about him. 

Alice levels of the neurotransmitter serotonin became depleted. Low levels of serotonin  made Alice maddeningly preoccupying thoughts, hoping that Bob felt the same way.  She missed  Bob’s presence right after the date.

Alice released high levels of dopamine.  Dopamine activated the reward circuit, giving Alice a pleasurable experience.  This brain activity can be found at the ventral tegmental area.  The A10 cells made dopamine, and it spreaded in many brain regions. 

The Ventral Tegmental Area is part of the brain’s reward system.  It’s way below the cognitive thinking process below human emotions.  It’s part of what we call the reptilian core of the brain, associated with wanting, with motivation, with focus and with craving.


It was 6 pm.  Bob was taking their date as easy as possible.  But he found it interesting to take Alice on a date.  And just like Alice he felt excited and his cortisol level increased.  

Alice was wearing a red dress, it led Bob to give Alice a tender kiss.  Bob’s testosterone level went up but it suppressed the oxytocin; contrary to Alice Oxytocin level.

Testosterone is a sex hormone and the stimulation and production is happening to Hypothalamus of the brain.

Because Bob was very interested and sexually stimulated by Alice his vasopressin increased.  Vasopressin is linked to behavior that produces long-term, monogamous relationships.

When Bob came home he felt passive and this is because Serotonin dropped down. 

The Second Date

Alice and Bob decided to meet up again for their Second date at Alice’s apartment.  Alice prepared everything for dinner.  After dinner they went to the living room and started a movie.  Then Bob kissed her intimately.

Alice Oxytocin level rose up to 51% causing her to feel amorous. Bob Testosterone level rose up.

Oxytocin deepens feelings of attachment and makes couples feel closer to one another after having sex. But Bob testosterone blocked the effect of oxytocin, the reason he felt different from Alice.

Vasopresin went up to Bob, because he was sexually stimulated, but vasopressin drops down after Alice and Bob had sex.

Beyond the dating thing

According to the study of Florida State University “it’s not just the neurotransmitters that are important, you have to have the receptors. And how do you get the receptors?  You get the receptors with the presence of the neurotransmitters.  The neurotransmitters tell your body to build the receptors, so you have to have the neurotransmitters high enough to build the receptors to then get them filled.” which means it would take some time for Bob to get into the level of emotions that Alice already had on her brain.

The amount of Oxytocin circulating to Alice’s system made her fall in-love. Oxytocin manipulated Alice’s rational thought pattern. She already made Bob as her “soulmate”. She felt closer to him, but unfortunately Bob didn’t feel that way.

Just a thought..

Was Alice really in-love?  Or was it just oxytocin that occurs at the autonomic nervous system, and it  was completely subconscious?  I guess learning this will help us to understand that chemical reactions happen in our body when we are dating.

This is the contrast of the old saying “Love conquers everything”; or should we say,  “Don’t ever conquer the oxytocin.”