Researchers are attempting to discover the chemical processes that allow people to experience emotions, including what people describe as love.
Larry Young, a professor of neuroscience at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia has written an essay about the topic in the latest issue of the journal Nature.
Biologists may soon be able to reduce certain mental states associated with love to a biochemical chain of events, writes Young in an essay titled Being Human: Love: Neuroscience reveals all.
Researchers have previously studied why prairie voles, which are notable for the male being usually faithful to the female, act the way they do. One hormone called oxytocin has been associated with behavior which includes maternal behavior, social bonding and sexual pleasure.
For instance, when [prairie voles] had received a low dose of oxytocin in early life, adult females were slow to approach pups; when they received higher doses of the hormone, they were more likely to care for them, according to a recent issue the American Psychological Association's publication The Monitor, citing a study in 2007 by researcher Karen L. Bales of the University of California, Davis.
Experiments have shown that a nasal squirt of oxytocin enhances trust and tunes people into others' emotions, Young writes in Nature.
The implication of this and other chemical process may lead to drugs that can help or reduce emotions.
Poetry it is not. Nor is it particularly romantic. But reducing love to its component parts helps us to understand human sexuality, and may lead to drugs that enhance or diminish our love for another, Nature writes, describing Young's essay.