It’s easy to mistake lust for love, but according to a recent study, it’s actually scientifically possible for these two to overlap. Apparently, lust and love stimulate the same regions of the brain, which may explain how some people naturally make the transition from base desire to true love.
Two parts of the brain are involved in the process. The brain’s insular cortex or insula is primarily responsible for emotions while the striatum receives messages from the cortex. Reviewing 20 studies that used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) technology to study these two concepts, researchers were able to outline how these areas are stimulated when a person is in love or in lust.
Based on the results of the study, lust and love both spark the striatum, albeit in different ways. When someone is in love, the dorsal striatum is activated. On the other hand, someone who is aroused triggers activity in the ventral striatum. Sexual desire and sincere emotions also overlap in the brain’s insula. According to James Pfaus, a professor of psychology at Concordia University in Montreal, the brain’s insular cortex "translates emotional feelings into meaning." It’s no surprise, then, that making the leap from lust to love isn’t all that hard.
Of course, not everyone can glean true love from an initial attraction. You may have to go through a couple of duds before you find someone you want to have a relationship with. But this study shows that the initial spark between you and a prospective partner can certainly be cultivated into something meaningful.
(Screencap of Something Borrowed courtesy of Warner Bros.)