Bridey Heing
Updated Mar 17, 2015 @ 8:56 am
Screen Shot 2015-03-17 at 8.40.20 AM copy

We all know that being in love can feel like a whirlwind of change, an addiction, an all-consuming full-body freak out — but apparently that’s not just a symptom of the butterflies in your stomach. Researchers at the Southwest University in Chongqing, China, have done a deep-dive into the chemical changes that happen in your brain when you’re in love, and it seems like there are 12 (12!) areas of your brain involved and affected when you fall in love. Pretty neat!

The study was conducted with about 100 students, a third of whom were in relationships, a third who had just broken up with someone, and a third who had never been in love before. Scans of their brains showed that those people who were in love showed increased activity and blood flow to those 12 aforementioned areas of the brain. Check out the pictures below; the first is someone who is not in love, and the second is someone who is.

For years there’s been talk about what happens in the brain when a person falls in love — some studies have shown that a brain on love can activate in the same way as it would in response to a reward, or even an addiction. This latest study makes those revelations visual, and shows us just where those brain changes are happening while those heart changes are happening.

Sure, thinking of love as a chemical reaction may not sound all that romantic, but seriously — how cool is it that love really does change our brains?!

(Images via)