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What is Love?
˜Love is a sensation of affection and

˜There are many kinds of love: familial,

platonic, religious and romantic.

˜Love inspires poetry, music, art, and

literature and is one of the most sought-after

˜Love provides physical as well as

psychological benefits.

˜Healthy brain development requires lots of

love and affection throughout the entire
lifespan, but especially during infancy and
ΠKinds of Love
There are three kinds of love: lust, attraction, and attachment,
and each has their own biological purpose (Sweeney 220).
1. Lust (associated with hormones estrogen and androgen)
encourages mating.
2. Attraction focuses lust on a single person, conserving energy.
It is believed to be associated with serotonin.
Œ. Attachment keeps parents together, providing plenty of care
for offspring.
-hemistry of Love
˜`      : Hormones responsible for sexual

: Neurotransmitter released in brain·s reward system
that causes feelings of joy.


 : -auses blushing and quickened heartbeats.
-ombines with dopamine to cause elation, craving, focused
attention and higher energy.

˜º   : Low levels of serotonin can cause feelings of



·ore -hemistry of Love
 : Found in brain·s reward system,
activated by romantic love for women and men, and by orgasm
for men.

˜÷ : Releases dopamine in limbic system. Found

in the brain, and in chocolate!

  : -hemical messengers that go between males
and females, inducing mating.

˜  : Hormone that contributes to trust and bonding.

(-hemical structure pictured below).


Love & Brain Development
˜Young brains are shaped by their environment, and a loving
environment will help the child develop trust and love for other

˜·aternal affection helps infants learn how to cope with stress.

-ortisol floods a baby·s brain when they are stressed;
overexposure may impair his or her ability to regulate cortisol
levels. Expressing love to an infant by caring for them teaches
them to regulate stress (Gerhardt).

˜Love deactivates centers of the brain associated with anxiety and

sadness (Sweeney).

˜Hugging and other forms of physical affection increase levels of

oxytocin and lower cortisol levels and blood pressure (Langton).
What is Joy?
˜Joy is a sensation of happiness,
contentment, and pleasure. ´It is
associated with an active embracing of
the world, but the precise
characteristics and boundaries have
really yet to be seriously characterized
in scientific researchµ (Lemonick&

˜Stress helps our brains learn to

´bounce backµ² causing us to become
happier in the long-run (Lemonick&
-hemistry of Joy
˜The feeling of joy occurs in the
left prefrontal cortex of the brain
(Lemonick& -ray), but it is not the
only area involved. The
hypothalamus, nucleus
accumbens, and septum release
neurotransmitters and endorphins
that cause us to feel joy (Sweeney

˜Dopamine ´mediates the transfer

of signals associated with positive
emotions between the left
prefrontal area and the emotional
centers in the limbic area of the
brainµ (Lemonick& -ray).
·ore -hemistry of Joy
˜People are predisposed to
joyfulness; ´more than 60% of an
individual·s tendency [toward]
positive emotions comes from his
or her genetic makeupµ (Sweeney
226). A more active left prefrontal
area predisposes a person to
joyfulness (Lemonick& -ray).

˜A major part of joy is

anticipation- looking forward to
something enjoyable. The nucleus
accumbens is activated by
anticipation, with a direct
correlation between the level of
activation and the size of the
prize (Lemonick& -ray).
Benefits of Joy
˜Enhanced immune system function: ´people who rate in
the upper reaches of happiness on psychological tests
develop about 50% more antibodies than average in
response to flu vaccinesµ (Lemonick& -ray).

˜Improved cardiovascular function (Tugade, Fredrickson, &


˜Increased life span: ´According to a Dutch study of elderly

patients, upbeat mental states reduced an individual·s risk
of death 50% over the study·s nine-year durationµ
(Lemonick& -ray).

˜Positive emotions can ´regulate lingering negative

emotionsµ (Tugade, Fredrickson, & Barrett): the happier
you are, the more likely you are to stay happy.
Why is Joy Beneficial?
˜Happiness is associated with lower levels of cortisol, a stress
hormone that suppresses immune function (Lemonick& -ray).

˜When people are happier, they tend to take better care of

themselves (Lemonick& -ray).

˜In a study by psychologist Robert Emmons at the University of

-alifornia at Davis, subjects were randomly assigned to one of
three groups: one group kept daily mood journals and rated their
mood, another group did the same but included a list of daily
hassles, and a third group kept a journal and included a daily list
of what they were grateful for. Subjects in the third group ´not
only had the predicted jump in their overall feelings of
happiness, but were also found to spend more time exercising,
be more likely to have regular medical checkups and routinely
take preventative health actions like wearing sunscreenµ
(Lemonick& -ray).
Love and joy often go hand in hand, as love causes
feelings of joy and joy opens our hearts to love. They
are both important aspects of healthy psychology and
have major benefits beyond just feeling good. If you
spend time around children, be joyful and loving! It
can only benefit their brain development.

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