The science of feeling in love

Got butterflies in your stomach? Here's why. 🦋❤️

One of the emotions of euphoria

Why does falling in love give you butterflies in your stomach? As love grows, the brain changes. The brain also releases dopamine —the first neurotransmitter to respond to seeing an attractive person.

Doctor’s Orders

“When we see someone like when I first saw my wife, my heart went fast. It felt like the butterflies were doing flips in my gut. So, what happened? My visual cortex registered her. So that's in the back part of my brain. Immediately sent signals to my nucleus accumbens and the basal ganglia and I can’t just — Dopamine went up. When we have a crush, pleasure centers of the brain are activated, causing a physiological response. When these love chemicals pop up in your brain, they don't just work on your brain. They don't just work on your gut, but you notice that your skin temperature changes, your hands actually might start to sweat a little bit. Your heart rate goes up, your breathing can become a little bit shallower and you feel joy. But also, at the same time, you can feel a bit of anxiety. When you're falling in love, what you need to know is that New love is a drug and it works very much like cocaine works in your brain. It works on those same pleasure centers in the brain. But over time, you know, for some people, it's a couple of weeks, for some, it's a couple of months that that effect wears off. And that's why I tell people, "Don't get married early in a relationship." Let the "cocaine effect" wear off and then you decide, do you really like the person or not?”, Dr. Daniel Amen, psychiatrist/neuroscientist tells Brut.

About the expert

Dr. Daniel Amen is an American celebrity doctor who practices as a psychiatrist and brain disorder specialist as director of the Amen Clinics. He is a five-times New York Times best-selling author as of 2012. Amen has built a profitable business around the use of SPECT imaging for purported diagnostic purposes.