For a long time in history, people associated the heart with love. Even today, on Valentine’s Day and, well, whenever we want to show love, we use a picture of a red heart. An anatomically incorrect one at that… But were the ancients right? Is the heart really the seat of love? Sorry to be the bearer of bad news…
What Love Is
Scientifically, love is the release of a series of neurotransmitters and hormones by your brain. The point of love is to procreate, make babies, and pass on our genetic material. It’s one of the most primal feelings; and as it should be, the fate of humanity lies in love. The funny thing is that while the brain is responsible for producing the emotion that we call love, our heart answers the call.
By Product of Love
It’s easy to figure out what the heart is doing. Unlike the brain, it's not encased in bone and the effects of a pumping heart can be felt down to the ankles. In fact, heartbeat is the first thing we look for when trying to determine if someone is alive or not! When we fall in love (ok, lust, but just go with it for now), our heart responds to the adrenaline by beating faster. When we suddenly lose our oxytocin fix (aka: a breakup), we literally feel pain in our chests and call it heartbreak. That’s your heart reacting to stress hormones, by the way, and it can be deadly. Yes, dying of a broken heart is a scientific thing.
Love is Love
At the end of the day, love is both science and intense abstraction. This holiday season, combine these two things into the perfect gift with an anatomically correct heart, an electric circuit of the heart, or a heart section (for those who still have their hearts open to amazing possibilities). Buy these for yourself or for a cardiologist, an EKG technician, a loved on, or a starry-eyed pre-med student.
written by Science with Evie